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Reagan Tells Choice for Pentagon Post

September 24, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Reagan, moving quickly to fill a key vacancy in the Pentagon's hierarchy, said Wednesday that he will nominate Robert B. Costello as undersecretary of defense for acquisition.

Costello's confirmation hearings before the Senate could prove contentious since he would replace Richard P. Godwin. Godwin resigned earlier this month, voicing exasperation over the Pentagon's bureaucracy and his inability to forge reforms in its purchasing practices.

Costello, 61, is a former executive of General Motors Corp. and has served as the Pentagon's assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics since 1986. In that job, he reported as a top deputy to Godwin.

Defense sources who requested anonymity said Wednesday that the Administration wanted to move quickly to replace Godwin to demonstrate its commitment to reform, while at the same time selecting an "insider" who was already familiar with the department.

The post of undersecretary for acquisition was created just a year ago by Congress with the goal of centralizing the procurement of new weapons in one office. Congress has reasoned such centralization might help eliminate the duplication that now exists among the four armed services as they develop and buy weaponry.

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