Gates Reaches Out to Air Force, Again

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Don't expect too many bear hugs, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to attend Friday's retirement ceremony for the man he pushed out the door, Air Force Secretary Mike Wynne.

The Pentagon, at least so far, isn't trumpeting Wynne's departure. It is trumpeting the retirement of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden - also known as the director of the CIA - who retires at 10 a.m. at Washington's Bolling Air Force Base. The administration had come in for some criticism for nominating a military officer to head the CIA and appears to have been sensitive to this issue. Gates will spend much of the day doing retirements since Wynne's ceremony begins at 1 p.m.

Combine Gates' attending Wynne's ceremony with his recent trips to the Air Force commands and it becomes very, very clear that the secretary knows he has fences to mend and is trying hard to limit the damage done by his firing of Wynne and Air Force Gen. Mike Moseley. Over the next few months we will get to see whether the new secretary (acting or confirmed by the Senate) and the new chief of staff can, as a congressional aide put it after the GAO tanker protest decision came out, be the miracle workers they must be.

-- Colin Clark

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