Accountability Drove Leadership Changes

The fundamental issue driving Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week to ask for the resignations of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff, is accountability, the nation’s top uniformed officer said yesterday. “In one of my first meetings with Secretary Gates when he assumed [his] job, he spoke to all of us—all of the senior leaders—about accountability,” Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told defense reporters yesterday during a meeting in Washington, D.C. Mullen said the expectation was that Gates would give his guidance, allow for decentralized control, but then hold leaders accountable. “He has done that and I admire him for it,” Mullen said. The removal of Wynne and Moseley reinforced the imperative “to ensure that the nuclear mission is well tended to,” the admiral said, noting that oversight of that mission has “been slipping for a significant period of time” and the day had come to arrest that slippage. “I agree with that,” he said. At the same time, Mullen credited USAF’s outgoing leadership. “Both Secretary Wynne and General Moseley recognized the seriousness of the issue and both of them proffered their resignations tied to being the individuals in charge and holding themselves accountable for their institution,” Mullen said. “I greatly appreciate the fact that they recognized that.”