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Gates Makes His Picks

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From the office of Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

"Today I provided my recommendation to the President for the nominations to the top civilian and military leadership positions in the Air Force.

"I recommended that Michael Donley be nominated to serve as Secretary of the Air Force.

"Mike Donley is presently the Director of Administration and Management for the Department of Defense, essentially charged with running the Pentagon and its many complex operations. Mike served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management in the first Bush Administration and, for a period, as Acting Secretary of the Air Force. In order to minimize any disruption caused by this leadership transition, I have also recommended to the President that he designate Mike Donley as Acting Secretary of the Air Force effective June 21.

"I further recommended to the President that General Norton Schwartz be nominated to serve as Air Force Chief of Staff.

"General Schwartz is presently the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, which is in charge of the Department's extensive transportation network and world-wide operations. Prior to that, General Schwartz served in senior joint military positions as Director of the Joint Staff, Director for Operations for the Joint Staff and Deputy Commander of Special Operations Command.

"In addition, I have recommended two additional Air Force military leadership changes.

"First, General Duncan McNabb, the current Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, has been recommended to take General Schwartz's place at US Transportation Command. General McNabb has spent most of his three-plus decades in the Air Force in the areas of lift, refueling and logistics making him an ideal candidate to assume the helm of this command.

"Second, I have recommended that the President nominate Lieutenant General William Fraser III, to follow General McNabb as the next Air Force Vice Chief. General Fraser is currently the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In that role he is the Chairman's chief liaison and advisor on international relations and political-military matters. In addition to his numerous flying and command assignment in the bomber community, General Fraser has extensive wartime, contingency and humanitarian relief operational experience.

"I am confident that Mike Donley, General Schwartz and the new Air Force leadership team have the qualifications, skill and commitment to excellence necessary to guide the Air Force through this transition and beyond.

I don't know much about Donley, but I know Norty Schwartz and really like the dude. He's a good guy, understands unconventional fights and is an independant thinker. I can't think of a better leader to take the Air Force once and for all out of the Cold War mindset.

It's also noteworthy that Duncan McNabb will replace Schwartz at Transcom, and William Fraser will replace McNabb as Vice Chief. Why? Well, look at their resumes. McNabb is a longtime transport and rotor wing pilot (red-headed step children in the AF) and Fraser is a bomber pilot (another pariah in the fighter-dominated service). If the jet-jocks can't get their act in gear, then we'll get the slow-movers into the game so change can finally come...We'll see.

-- Christian

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