Ex-No. 2 official at Navy to be named to replace Dalton Danzig helped resolve 1992 cheating scandal

July 22, 1998|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Richard Danzig, the Navy's former No. 2 official and a key figure in resolving the Naval Academy's cheating scandal, has been selected to replace Navy Secretary John H. Dalton, who is retiring, Pentagon sources said yesterday.

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen told reporters yesterday that he had forwarded a nominee for the top Navy job to the White House but declined to elaborate. Sources, however, indicated that Danzig was Cohen's choice and that the nomination could be announced soon.

Danzig, 53, who served as Navy undersecretary from November 1993 until May 1997, declined to answer questions about the job when reached last night at his Washington home. "I really can't comment," he said. Like President Clinton a Rhodes scholar and a graduate of Yale Law School, Danzig won praise from the uniformed and civilian officials for his quick grasp of issues and easy rapport. By some accounts, until he stepped down last year, it was Danzig, rather than Dalton, who essentially ran the Navy Department.

In an interview with The Sun last year, Dalton dismissed that contention, though he praised Danzig's work and likened him to a chief financial officer in a corporation. "I'm the secretary of the Navy and have responsibility for what the Navy Department does," Dalton declared.

As undersecretary, Danzig helped resolve the academy's 1992 scandal -- in which dozens of midshipmen admitted cheating on exams -- and the disciplinary action that came after the 1991 Tailhook scandal. He also helped reduce the size of the post-Cold War Navy while increasing the numbers of minority officers in the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Danzig also worked to bolster the nation's defenses against biological warfare, which has assumed even greater urgency since his departure from the Navy Department. Two years ago, Danzig pressed for more research to develop antidotes as well as detectors for biological warfare agents.

When he left the Navy Department last year, Danzig was awarded the Defense Distinguished and Navy Distinguished Service Awards. Since then, he has been traveling in Asia.

In the late 1970s, Danzig served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense for manpower, reserve affairs and logistics. He then became a partner in the Washington law firm of Latham & Watkins.

Dalton, 56, who stayed on longer than Clinton's other original service secretaries, said he will leave in December for work in the private sector, though he has mentioned no specific job.

As Navy secretary, Dalton pushed for gender integration and greater personal accountability. Some retired senior officers, lawmakers and Pentagon officials, however, viewed him as a political animal who sometimes bungled personnel decisions and buckled to feminists and lawmakers.

Pub Date: 7/22/98

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