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Briefs (right)

Military Officer Picked to Head Defense Intelligence Agency

By Eric Schmitt
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

President Bush has nominated Maj. Gen. Michael D. Maples of the Army to be director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the first time in decades that someone who is not a career intelligence officer has been picked to lead the agency.

The appointment, announced on Monday by the Pentagon, reflects Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s desire to put an officer who has used intelligence in the field extensively, but not produced it, in charge of an agency that is responsible for supplying information to battlefield commanders.

Maples, a West Point graduate, would succeed Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby of the Navy, who is stepping down in November after heading the agency for more than three years.

Maples, who will be promoted to lieutenant general if his nomination is confirmed by the Senate, is now vice director of the military’s Joint Staff. In that job, he has tackled several politically sensitive assignments for the Joint Chiefs, and impressed Rumsfeld and top military and civilian aides with his unflappable demeanor and near-photographic memory.

For instance, Maples has been the point man for the Joint Staff on detainee policy and operations. He also coordinated the testimony of Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

Auto Strike Still Possible In Canada

By Ian Austen
THE NEW YORK TIMES OTTAWA

General Motors and the Canadian Auto Workers made some progress in contract negotiations on Monday, but the company’s continued demands for job cuts and reduced work breaks left open the prospect of a strike on Tuesday.

While GM dropped its opposition to pension increases already accepted by its main U.S. rivals, Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler, it was standing firm on the other issues in the face of a possible walkout by 17,200 workers at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Am I a little more optimistic? I guess you could say yes,” Buzz Hargrove, the union’s president, told reporters during a conference call from Toronto. “The only problem we still have is there are still some offsets we find offensive.”

A strike would have direct repercussions for the company’s factories and dealers in the United States. GM’s main assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, where up to 1 million cars are built a year, is the company’s only producer of several Chevrolet, Buick, and Pontiac cars. It also makes full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, mostly for American buyers. Similarly, parts and engine plants in St. Catharines, Ontario, and an automatic transmission factory in Windsor, Ontario, supply components to several assembly operations in the United States.