New Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended to President Bush that Gen. George Casey take over the Army as Chief of Staff, replacing Gen. Peter Schoomaker, who gets to retire for the second time. (Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brought Schoomaker back from retirement when he ousted Gen. Eric Shinseki.) Casey has served both as Vice Chief of Staff and most recently as commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq. To replace Casey, Gates wants to promote Army Lt. Gen. Dave Petraeus. And, completing a top Iraq war leadership sweep, Gates wants to make Adm. William Fallon the new head of US Central Command, replacing Army Gen. John Abizaid, who will retire. In Gates’ view, the three new commanders have a “mix of experience, skills, creativity, and strategic vision [that] make the whole greater than the sum of the individual parts.”
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.