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Gates ready to name new Air Force chief

June 6, 2008 at 5:26 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to name Michael Donley to replace the Air Force secretary forced to resign, Pentagon officials said Friday.

Donley has been in top military and national security positions at the Defense Department and White House. He now is director of administration and management at the Pentagon.

Gates ousted Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley, the chief of staff, Thursday over the Air Force's handling of nuclear components.

Reaction to Gates' requested resignations has been, "What took you so long?" an Air Force official told The Baltimore Sun.

"The feeling is, phew!" the officer said.

Gates will stress the need to properly oversee nuclear components Monday and Tuesday when he visits Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, the Air Combat Command headquarters and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, the Air Force Space Command headquarters, the Sun said.

Gates will "reinforce the message of the supreme importance of safeguarding the nation's nuclear arsenal," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. The secretary will emphasize the Air Force "has to do a much better job in that area," Morrell said during a news briefing Friday.

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