Former president Ronald Reagan says the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell, has the qualifications to one day become president of the United States.

Powell, the first black American to inherit the top U.S. military post, was appointed by President Bush in 1989 and was formerly Reagan's national security adviser."I could see him in that office, yes," Reagan said in an interview with the Washington Post Thursday on the occasion of his 80th birthday Feb. 6.

"I have the greatest respect and admiration for that man," the former president said of Powell.