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Air Force General Expected to be Next Joint Chiefs Chairman - 2001-08-23

President Bush has invited top military leaders to his Texas ranch on Friday, including the man considered likely to be his choice as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - the nation's top military officer.

The leading candidate for the job is believed to be Air Force General Richard Myers. If selected, he will become the first Air Force man to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the post Cold War era.

White House officials indicate in private that he is the strongest contender for the post. But all they will say in public is that there will be a meeting Friday on defense matters, and General Myers will be there.

White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "General Myers will be one of the people attending. He has been in attendance at these meetings and is one of the key people involved in the military transformation."

Aides to the president have been hinting that an announcement is imminent. And word of General Myers' trip to the ranch, along with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, could be a sign that Mr. Bush is about to formally name a successor to the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army General Henry Shelton.