Four US military journals have called for Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to quit, accusing him of losing control of the situation in Iraq.
Mr Rumsfeld came to office pledging to transform the military
An editorial published on Monday said Mr Rumsfeld has lost the respect of senior officers and ordinary troops.
President George W Bush has pledged to keep Mr Rumsfeld at the Pentagon until his term in office ends in 2009.
The White House has criticised the editorial, published ahead of mid-term elections across the US.
Spokesman Tony Snow described the editorial - published in the Army Times, Air Force Times, the Navy Times and the Marine Corps Times - as a "shabby piece of work".
The editorial said that the call for Mr Rumsfeld to quit was not timed to coincide with US mid-term elections.
Voters across the US go to the polls on Tuesday for congressional elections, with Mr Bush's Republican party battling to retain control of both houses of Congress.
In the editorial, Mr Rumsfeld is branded culpable for an apparent loss of faith in the administration at high levels of the military establishment.
"It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's military leaders start to break publicly with defence secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads."
The editorial writers said they were voicing the views of a silent section of senior military leaders whose "deep sense of honour" prevented them from going public with their criticisms.
They summed up the current situation in blunt language: "Rumsfeld has lost credibility with uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large.
"His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. Donald Rumsfeld must go."
The White House spokesman dismissed the assertion that the editorial was not timed to influence Tuesday's mid-term elections.
Mr Snow accused the editorial writers of "grandstanding", adding: "If they didn't want to influence the election, they could have published it Wednesday."
Mr Snow also expressed surprise at comments by several so-called high-profile "neo-conservatives" published by Vanity Fair magazine late last week.
Vanity Fair claimed that influential figures such as former Pentagon advisor Richard Perle were now "remorseful" over their pre-war enthusiasm.
Richard Perle was a high-profile supporter of war in Iraq
Mr Perle, who served as chairman of the Defence Policy Board in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, told Vanity Fair that "maybe" the US could have pushed for change in Iraq without military intervention.
"At the end of the day you have to hold the president responsible," he said.
Other contributors included Mr Bush's former speechwriter, David Frum, and leading conservative academics.
Mr Snow said the reported comments put the interviewees "at war" with comments they had made to Mr Bush in previous years.
In responses to the Vanity Fair article, several of those interviewed said they felt their comments were taken out of context - and had not expected them to be published until after the elections.