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Pentagon's Procurement Chief Will Quit; Lost Control of Arms Buying

September 09, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Richard P. Godwin will quit as the Defense Department's first procurement chief after he lost a dispute within the hierarchy for control over weapons buying, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.

Godwin, 65, told Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger last week that he will leave his post as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, a position to which he was appointed 11 months ago, the officials said. He reportedly did not submit a formal letter of resignation.

The post was created under a congressional reorganization following recommendations from a presidential commission headed by industrialist David Packard. The panel investigated Pentagon management in the wake of scandals that erupted four years ago over the purchase of spare parts.

Only Weinberger and Deputy Defense Secretary William Howard Taft outrank Godwin under the reorganization.

Godwin was a vice chairman of the Bechtel Corp., an international construction giant from which Weinberger and Secretary of State George P. Shultz also entered the Administration.

Through three key directives, Godwin sought to centralize the authority for buying weapons and spare parts within his own office, taking that power and responsibility away from civilian secretaries of the military services and other senior officials in the bureaucracy.

"His concept of the authority he should have differed from that of everyone else's," a Pentagon official said.

"He lost every point he went to bat on," another source said.

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