Roche backs out of Army job

Air Force Secretary James Roche today withdrew his nomination for secretary of the Army.

"Given the range of issues before the Senate in a busy legislative year, I accept that my nomination is unlikely to be considered this year," said Roche in a March 10 Defense Department statement.

The Senate Armed Services Committee for eight months refused to consider Roche's nomination for the Army's top civilian position after he was chosen in July to replace Thomas White. The committee apparently snubbed Roche because of concern from women's groups about sex abuse allegations at the Air Force Academy and the Defense Department's investigation into the service's mismanagement of a multibillion-dollar deal to buy a new refueling aircraft from Boeing Co.

Roche's decision may open the door for Les Brownlee, the service's acting secretary and undersecretary of the Army under White, to fill the position.

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