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American Forces Press Service

Gates Announces Recommendations on Senior Air Force Leadership Positions

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2008 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has recommended that President Bush nominate Michael B. Donley, the Defense Department’s director of administration and management, to be the next secretary of the Air Force and Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, to become Air Force chief of staff.

Donley would replace Michael W. Wynne, and Schwartz would replace Gen. T. Michael Moseley, both of whom resigned last week in the wake of a report critical of the service’s oversight of its nuclear weapons program.

In a statement released this morning, Gates described Donley’s current position as being “essentially charged with running the Pentagon and its many complex operations,” and noted that Donley 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.

Gates also recommended that the president designate Donley as acting Air Force secretary, effective June 21.

As commander of TransCom, Schwartz is in charge of the Defense Department’s extensive transportation network and worldwide operations. He has served in senior joint military positions as director of the Joint Staff, director for operations for the Joint Staff, and deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Gates noted in his statement.

The defense secretary also has recommended that Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, Air Force vice chief of staff, succeed Schwartz at TransCom. 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,” Gates said in his statement.

The secretary also is recommending that the president nominate Lt. Gen. William M. Fraser III, assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to follow McNabb as the next Air Force vice chief. In his current position, Fraser 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,” Gates said in the statement announcing his recommended nominations.

“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,” the statement concluded.

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