ACCESSION NUMBER:317577 FILE ID:POL407 DATE:12/16/93 TITLE:CONGRESSIONAL REPORT, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16 (12/16/93) TEXT:*93121607.POL CONGRESSIONAL REPORT, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16 (Inman) (410) CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS PRAISE CHOICE OF INMAN FOR DOD President Clinton's choice of Bobby Inman to replace Les Aspin as secretary of defense was praised December 16 by Congressional leaders in both political parties. Inman, a retired four-star admiral, is well qualified for the job, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn said at a Capitol Hill news conference. He noted that the secretary-designate is a past director of the National Security Agency and served as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Nunn said he would begin hearings on Inman's nomination as soon as Congress resumes January 25. Nunn is convinced that the Department of Defense budget is being cut too rapidly. "It cannot be depleted at the rate some people would have it without causing severe budget problems," he said. Asked if choosing a former military officer for the Defense Department position might be a problem, Nunn said not in Inman's case because he has been retired from the military for at least 10 years as required by law, and he has been working in private industry. Senator John Warner, a senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, declared Inman to be "an absolutely superb choice." His skills are "broader" than those of Aspin, he said, pointing out that Inman has worked in the executive branch and has military experience as well as extensive contact with the Congress. But his most important quality, Warner said, is that he will have "the absolute credibility of the men and women of the armed services, since he came up through their system." Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, who said he was disappointed by Aspin's resignation, nonetheless acknowledged that "Bobby Inman is a very good person for the job." Dole also said that the Clinton administration is trying to take too much money, too quickly out of the defense budget. The administration has asked the department to shave another $50,000 million dollars from its budget, which Dole said is "going too far." "I hope we have another bottom up review," of the military budget, Dole said, pointing out that a lot of things have changed in the world since Congress went out of session three weeks ago -- namely, the North Korea military threat and the worrisome elections in Russia. Lee Hamilton, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Inman is "an excellent choice, very popular on Capitol Hill." NNNN .