Show of Support

Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, answered “yes” April 29 during a breakfast meeting with defense reporters when asked if he still has confidence in Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley’s ability to lead the Air Force after the Thunderbird Airshow Production Services contract affair. After the event concluded, the Congressman elaborated somewhat: “He’s working hard and doing the best he can,” Skelton told a small gaggle of reporters. “I think he is a good ‘soldier.’ He has testified before us. He knows his subject matter. The troops like him.” No one has formally charged Moseley with any wrongdoing in the affair, nor has he been publicly reprimanded by the Air Force Secretary or Pentagon leadership. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne has already taken action against several officers, including a two-star general. But for some, the affair isn’t settled yet. And Moseley may not be totally out of the woods. Indeed the chair and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have requested a more in-depth look by the Pentagon’s Inspector General. And Skelton’s Missouri compatriot Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) has questioned Moseley’s judgment outright and whether he should remain in his post. Asked if enough has been done to date by Wynne and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to resolve the issue and prevent future similar transgressions, Skelton took a cautious tone. “It is under investigation and anything I would say regarding that, despite the fact that my friend the senator, sent a letter … would be inappropriate to do,” he told the reporters during the breakfast. He said he did not plan to insert any language into the Fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill, which the Congress is preparing to mark up, on this issue. (For more from Skelton’s breakfast, read Swords of Damocles.)