Oh, Happy Day

The Air Force woke up on Friday possessing something it hasn’t had since August 2007: an undersecretary. Erin Conaton on Thursday evening finally received the Senate’s nod to fill the service’s No. 2 civilian post, thus ending a four-month saga since her nomination last November. Her confirmation had been placed on hold during that period first by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and later by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) over issues dealing with the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition. Conaton comes to the Air Force from the House Armed Services Committee, where she has been staff director. Along with Conaton, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Terry Yonkers to be assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations and environment and Frank Kendall to be the principal deputy to the Pentagon’s acquisition executive.