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Carlucci Confirmed as Defense Secretary

November 21, 1987|MELISSA HEALY | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Frank C. Carlucci, confirmed by the Senate Friday as the new defense secretary, moved quickly to put his stamp on the agency, replacing a top Pentagon arms control expert who is a hawkish conservative highly suspicious of treaties with the Soviets.

The confirmation vote was 91 to 1, the seventh time the Senate has approved Carlucci for a top federal post in his 27-year government career. For Carlucci, 57, it means moving from the White House job of national security adviser back to the Pentagon, where he served from 1981 to 1984 as deputy to Caspar W. Weinberger.

After his confirmation, Carlucci forced out Frank J. Gaffney Jr., a deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and arms control policy, agency officials said, and replaced him with Ronald F. Lehman, who is the nation's chief negotiator in the strategic arms talks in Geneva.

Writes to President

Gaffney wrote to President Reagan Friday and asked that his nomination for the position of assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs be withdrawn.

Described by one former Administration official as "brilliant and brash," Gaffney held hawkish views of the Soviet Union and the desirability of concluding arms control treaties with that country. His attitudes both reflected and influenced those of Weinberger, who resigned earlier this month to care for his ailing wife. "Frank lost his shield when Weinberger left," one colleague said.

Lehman, by contrast, was described by one co-worker as a "consensus-seeker and coalition-builder," and someone with whom the new defense secretary has worked extensively. He also has built good relations on Capitol Hill, which will be crucial when the Administration sends its treaty banning medium-range nuclear missiles to the Senate for ratification.

"It will be a different arms control equation than with Gaffney," said one former official who worked with both men.

On Friday, Carlucci also moved to install Dan Howard, currently the National Security Council's chief spokesman, as his assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. Howard will replace Fred S. Hoffman as the Pentagon's chief spokesman.

Gaffney Cites Differences

In an interview Friday, Gaffney confirmed that he was leaving the Pentagon over "personal and policy differences," including what he called the "frenzy with which changes in our arms control positions are being made."

The Administration "is negotiating feverishly against a self-imposed and wholly artificial deadline," complained Gaffney, who said he expressed concerns about the pace of talks and the resulting shifts in his letter to Reagan.

Lehman's shift comes at a time when the Reagan Administration has accelerated efforts to negotiate a strategic arms agreement as it nears accord on a treaty banning medium-range missiles. It was unclear how quickly Lehman will leave his current post to take the Pentagon position or how it may affect the pace of those negotiations.

While Lehman's replacement has not been named, outgoing Director Kenneth L. Adelman of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency declared: "I don't think a change of leaders will change the pace or outcome of the . . . negotiations one bit."

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