The Bush administration has announced plans to nominate Lt. Gen. James Conway, the director of operations for the Joint Staff, to succeed Gen. Michael Hagee as Marine Corps commandant. Inside the Navy first reported June 12 that Conway was the leading candidate for the job. Conway works for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon and the defense secretary knows him well. Before assuming his current post in October 2004, Conway commanded the I Marine Expeditionary Force during two combat tours in Iraq. Prior to that, he commanded the 1st Marine Division. Hagee's four-year term officially expires Jan. 13, 2007. When the change of command will occur remains unclear; Conway must be confirmed by the Senate before he can assume a fourth star and the role of commandant. Inside the Navy first reported in March that Hagee might retire early. Sources said he was interested in retiring by this summer or fall. At the time, Hagee left open the possibility of an early departure, telling ITN it is up to the defense secretary to select his replacement and determine when the change of command should occur. Lately, talk of an early retirement for Hagee has subsided, as defense officials have been busy handling allegations that Marines massacred innocent civilians last November in Haditha, Iraq, as sister publication Inside the Pentagon reported last week.