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ARLINGTON, Va. — Defense Secretary Robert Gates nominated Michael Donley, the Pentagon’s Director of Administration and Management, to replace Michael Wynne as Secretary of the Air Force.

In a Pentagon announcement issued Monday morning, Gates said he is also nominating Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, to succeed Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley as Air Force Chief of Staff.

Schwartz had previously announced that he would retire in 2009.

Gates nominated the Air Force’s current Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Duncan McNabb, to take the Transcom spot, citing extensive experience of "three-plus decades" in airlift, refueling and logistics as making him "an ideal candidate to assume the helm."

Air Force Lt. Gen. William M. Fraser III, who is Assistant to Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Staff of Staff, was nominated to succeed McNabb as the new Air Force Vice Chief of Staff post, the announcement said.

Gates said he chose Fraser as the new vice chief based on his "extensive wartime, contingency and humanitarian relief operations experience," in addition to his many flying and command assignments in the bomber community.

Gates promised Thursday that he would move quickly to fill the leadership gap he created after asking Wynne and Moseley to resign over an embarrassing series of mistakes involving the Air Force’s management of nuclear weapons and parts.

"To minimize any disruption caused by this leadership transition," Gates said, he is asking President Bush to designate Donley as Acting Secretary of the Air Force as of June 21, which would allow him to begin work without waiting for Senate confirmation. Wynne’s resignation takes effect that day.

Among many other government jobs, Donley served as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management in the first Bush Administration, from 1989 to 1993.

Donley, who took his current post in May 2005 after leaving a position as a senior vice president at Hicks and Associates, Inc., a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), also spent seven months as Acting Air Force Secretary in 1993.

As Transcom commander, Schwartz has oversight of all of the Pentagon’s transportation assets and its network of global operations. He has also served in senior joint military positions, including Director of the Joint Staff, Director of Operations and Deputy Commander of Special Operations Command.

The Senate must approve all four nominations.

Gates is traveling this week to a number of Air Force bases, where he is expected to talk to airmen about his decision to change leadership, and the future direction of the service.


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