Carlucci: Longtime Civil Servant, Veteran Troubleshooter With AM-Weinberger
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Frank Carlucci, who sources say will replace Caspar W. Weinberger as defense secretary, has a reputation as a troubleshooter dating back to a 1970 dispute involving then-Gov. Reagan of California.
Carlucci has held top government jobs for both Democratic and Republican presidents and may be the only official whose nominations to top federal posts have been blocked at separate times by such ideological opposites as liberal Sen. Alan Cranston, D-Calif., and conservative Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.
His accession to defense secretary would come under less trying circumstances than last December, when Carlucci took over as national security adviser in the unfolding of the Iran-Contra affair, replacing John Poindexter.
Carlucci had served as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Carter and deputy defense secretary in the first two years of Reagan’s administration. He had been ambassador to Portugal in the 1970s.
A protege of Weinberger’s, Carlucci was also the No. 2 official when Weinberger headed the Office of Management and Budget and then the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon administration.
Carlucci, 57, left the government in 1982 to become president and chief operating officer of Sears World Trade Inc., an export-import subsididary of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
The first time Reagan tried to bring Carlucci into the administration, in 1981, there was vigorous opposition from Helms and a handful of other conservative Senate Republicans. For some, Carlucci seemed tainted by his Carter CIA tenure during years in which critics believed the intelligence agency was weakened.
Once confirmed by the Senate, Carlucci was a staunch advocate of presidential policies as the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, talking of a ″growing Soviet threat″ and of the need to increase miltary spending accordingly.
Carlucci has been highly visible in the arms-control diplomacy with the Soviet Union, accompanying Secretary of State George P. Shultz to Moscow last month. Appearing Sunday on a television talk show, Carlucci said a U.S.-Soviet treaty on intermediate-range nuclear missiles should win Senate approval.
For a while in 1970, it looked as if a dispute involving then-Gov. Reagan would derail Carlucci’s career just as it was picking up speed.
An old Princeton University friend, Donald Rumsfeld, had brought him into the anti-poverty Office of Economic Opportunity in 1969, and President Nixon nominated Carlucci to succeed Rumsfeld as head of the agency in 1970.
But the confirmation was blocked by Cranston, who insisted Carlucci announce whether in his OEO job he would override a veto by Reagan of a federal grant to legal services programs for California’s rural poor.
He was confirmed after working out an arrangement that eased what could have been a major federal-state dispute - an arrangement that kept Reagan’s veto intact but also kept the grant money flowing temporarily.
Carlucci joined the Foreign Service in 1956, working in various African posts and in Brazil over a dozen years.
He was ambassador to Portugal from 1974 until Carter named him deputy director of the CIA in 1978.
Carlucci, a native of Scranton, Pa., has two children by his first wife and one by his second.