Donley Confirmation Likely This Week

After the Senate Armed Services Committee approved him by voice vote on Friday, the full Senate is expected to vote this week on the confirmation of Michael Donley to be Air Force Secretary. Donley has been serving since June as Acting Secretary. Several Senators, chief among them Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), placed a hold on his confirmation primarily over dissatisfaction with the state of the service’s KC-X tanker recapitalization program. Boeing has a major presence in Cantwell’s state, where it likely would conduct some tanker work if it wins the KC-X program—now on hold until the next Administration. CQ Today reported Sept. 28 that Cantwell has lifted her hold, as of Sept. 24, since she said that the Air Force has answered her outstanding questions regarding the critique of the KC-X program levied by the Government Accountability Office in June. With her action, the last impediment to the confirmation vote appears to be gone and Donley’s approval is likely before the Senators go home to campaign for re-election, the newspaper reported. Last week, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the SASC, said he would push to complete the confirmations of Donley and Lt. Gen. William Fraser III, who is nominated to be vice chief of staff.