President Bush has tapped the Army's No. 2 general, Gordon Sullivan, to lead the nation's largest service for the next four years, Pentagon sources say.

Pentagon sources have said that the post would have gone to Persian Gulf war Commander H. Norman Schwarzkopf if he had expressed an interest in it. But Schwarzkopf told Army Secretary Michael Stone some time ago he preferred to retire on schedule and enter private life.Pentagon sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bush was expected to nominate Sullivan as the Army's chief of staff. The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

The 53-year-old general is regarded as the service's chief architect of its plans to adapt in the new post-Cold War era.

The Boston, Mass., native will replace the service's current four-star commander, Gen. Carl Vuono, who is scheduled to retire at the end of June.