WASHINGTON (AP) _ Defense News and Army Times, two independent newspapers read by the military and Congress, are calling on John Tower to withdraw from consideration as defense secretary, citing recent allegations about his personal life and past ties to defense contractors.

''Out of concern for the military, which the former Texas senator clearly loves, he should step aside,'' Tom Donnelly writes in an editorial to be published in Monday's edition of Army Times.

The 49-year-old, independent publication has a worldwide circulation of about 125,000, including most of the uniformed military.

''Tower's public position has been so compromised by the agonizing process by which he was nominated and is being confirmed ... that he cannot be the strong spokesman the Defense Department needs now,'' the editorial said.

''More troubling and more at issue is Tower's position as a consultant to defense contractors. ... the speed and greed with which Tower spun through the revolving door is appalling,'' it said.

The editorial suggests that either President Bush, who is concerned about ethics in government, reconsider Tower's appointment, or that the former senator ''summon personal courage of his own ... it might be the best help he can give to his friends in the military.''

Defense News, in an editorial for Monday written by Richard Barnard, says Tower's withdrawal ''would be the act of a seasoned politician who understands that the best interests of the nation sometimes require personal sacrifice by those who would help lead it.''

''Withdrawal is necessary because the record of Mr. Tower's professional life raises substantive doubt that he can perform with utmost effectiveness at a time when defense priorities and the Defense Department each are undergoing periods of vital but delicate change,'' the editorial said.

Defense News is a three-year-old independent publication with a circulation of about 30,000, including the top level of the Pentagon and defense industry, and members of Congress.

Defense News suggests that Tower links to defense consultants is the most troubling aspect of the recent confirmation process.

''The principal task of the next defense secretary is to build public confidence that the Pentagon is being well-managed and that defense dollars are being carefully spent,'' the editorial said. ''The defense secretary must be an independent voice of force, authority and reason.

''There is ample reason to doubt whether Mr. Tower is the man for these times,'' the editorial said.

Tower, in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he had received more than $1 million in fees for defense consulting over a 2 1/2 year period. He said he had severed all ties with the consultants as of Dec. 1, 1988.