Bush nominates executive with Columbia firm for Army secretary post

September 16, 2004|By SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - President Bush yesterday nominated an executive with a Columbia-based company to be the next secretary of the Army.

Francis J. Harvey, vice chairman of Duratek, Inc., would take over from the acting secretary, Les Brownlee, should he win Senate confirmation. Duratek provides technology and services for the disposal of radioactive materials.

Harvey, who lives in California, previously held various executive positions during a 28-year career at Westinghouse Electric Corp. He served as president of its Defense and Electronics Systems Group, which was involved in systems development and production programs for surface ships, submarines, aircraft, tanks, missiles and satellites.

Harvey earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Brownlee, a former top aide to the Senate Armed Services Committee who then served as undersecretary of the Army, has held the post of acting secretary since Thomas E. White, a former executive of Enron Corp., abruptly resigned as secretary last year after repeated disputes with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Bush first nominated Air Force Secretary James G. Roche for the Army post, though Roche asked earlier this year that his name be withdrawn after his department became entangled in the Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal and a dispute over a plan to lease, rather than buy, Boeing tanker aircraft.

It is uncertain if Harvey can gain Senate confirmation. When word of his possible nomination leaked in July, some Republican senators were critical, saying they preferred Brownlee for the post.

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