Best Persons for the Job

Michael Donley and Gen. Norton Schwartz, the heirs apparent to take over the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff posts, were chosen after a process that was “wrung out well” within the Pentagon to find the best people, Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday. Further, Schwartz and Lt. Gen. William Fraser, the general chosen to be the next vice chief of staff, form “a great team” of uniformed officers to take the Air Force forward, Mullen he told defense reporters during a breakfast meeting June 10 in Washington, D.C. He acknowledged that it is notable that neither Schwartz nor Fraser is an ex-fighter pilot. “That is certainly an important message,” Mullen said. “You can read that a lot of different ways, but I can assure you what drove that more than anything else was the talent search for the best combination.” He also said Fraser’s background in bombers is important, given the reasons for USAF’s leadership shakeup on June 5. “His expertise will be applied to fixing this problem.” As for Donley, Mullen said, he has “great credentials,” noting his prior executive service with the Air Force and his time in the Army. Mullen said he does not think USAF’s leadership changes, which comes at a time when the Pentagon is engaged in a roles and missions review, weakens the Air Force. “I am not overly concerned about that,” he said. “I think we are all in this together and we will figure out the best way ahead with respect to what the roles and missions are.”