ARLINGTON, Va. — The White House has tapped Navy Secretary Gordon England to take over the No. 2 job at the Pentagon.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected by the President as his nominee for the post of Deputy Secretary of Defense,” said England in a statement. “It has been a profound honor to serve our brave sailors and Marines and their families as Secretary of the Navy. If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to continuing to serve America and the men and women who wear the cloth of our nation as we work to defend freedom and liberty.”

If confirmed, England will replace outgoing Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who was just confirmed as the next chairman of the World Bank.

Recruited from the corporate world where he was an executive vice president for General Dynamics, England has become a problem-solver for the Bush Administration.

England first served as the Navy Secretary from 2001 to 2003 and then from January to September of 2003 he helped create the Department of Homeland Security as its first deputy secretary, before returning to his post as the head of the Navy. Over the past year, he’s also served as the top Pentagon official overseeing the sensitive Detainee Administrative Review Processes for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In his new job, England will work directly under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the Pentagon begins a massive review, mandated by Congress every four years, of the services’ roles and missions while it also undertakes another round of base closures.

Meanwhile, the White House also moved to fill another key civilian post left empty with Douglas Feith’s recent resignation as the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.

Bush intends to nominate Eric S. Edelman for the post, according to a White House announcement.

A career diplomat, Edelman is currently the Ambassador to Turkey.

Along with the new Navy Secretary vacancy, the job of Secretary of the Air Force has gone unfilled since James Roche retired in January.

Before getting to the nod to be Rumsfeld’s deputy, England had been widely reported as Roche’s likely successor. Rumsfeld told reporters Wednesday he had not yet made a decision on his replacement.

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