Navy Secretary John Lehman, the architect of a buildup toward a 600-ship fleet, plans to resign before the end of the year, the Pentagon said today.
Lehman told Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger last Friday that he wanted to return to private life but he did not submit his resignation and did not set a date for his departure, Pentagon spokesman Robert Sims said.
"His interest is to have an orderly transition," Sims said of Lehman. Lehman was out of Washington on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
Questioned about whether Lehman was resigning in order to seek political office, Sims quoted the secretary as saying he would be returning to the "private sector."
Previous speculation about Lehman's future has focused in part on his becoming a presidential campaign manager for Vice President George Bush.