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Thu, Jun 05, 2008

Report: Gates Asks For Resignations From USAF's Moseley, Wynne

Wynne Refused To Fire Moseley Last Week

ANN REALTIME UPDATE: 06.05.08 1715 EDT: The following is a statement from General T. Michael Moseley, announcing his immediate resignation from the post of Chief of Staff of the US Air Force:

Recent events have highlighted a loss of focus on certain critical matters within the Air Force. As the Air Force’s senior uniformed leader, I take full responsibility for events which have hurt the Air Force’s reputation or raised a question of every Airman’s commitment to our core values.

For the past 36 years I have been privileged to serve my country as an Airman in the United States Air Force in peacetime and combat. I was honored and humbled to be appointed the Air Force’s 18th Chief of Staff and have been proud to serve our Airmen and their families. Upon taking office, I worked hard with Secretary Wynne to ensure the Air Force provided the right forces at the right time to help our Nation and allies win the Global War on Terror. 

I think the honorable thing to do is to step aside. After consulting with my family, I intend to submit my request for retirement to Secretary Gates. The Air Force is bigger than one Airman, and I have full confidence that the Air Force will continue working with the Joint team to win today’s fight, take care of its Airmen, and meet tomorrow’s challenges. I love the Air Force and remain proud of America’s Airmen.

This is the statement from Michael W. Wynne, who also tendered his resignation Thursday as Secretary of the US Air Force:

Since November 3, 2005, it has been my privilege to serve this country as the 21st Secretary of the Air Force. I have relished the opportunity President Bush gave me to lead the strongest Air Force in the world during a time of war, and I have marveled at the tremendous accomplishments of our Airmen and civilians in their valiant defense of this country and its interests.

It has been an honor and pleasure to serve as their Secretary while working side-by-side with General Moseley and the magnificent patriots serving in the Department of Defense and the United States Government to win today’s fight, take care of our people, and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges.

Recent events convince me that it is now time for a new leader to take the stick and for me to move on. Therefore I plan to tender my resignation to Secretary Gates. Even as I do, my heart, my thoughts, and prayers remain with America’s Airmen who will continue to do magnificent things for this great country.

ORIGINAL REPORT

1530 EDT: According to reports by the Air Force Times and InsideDefense.com, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for the immediate resignations of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley, and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne.

Moseley is the top uniformed officer with the USAF, while Wynne is the top civilian official.

Citing the Air Force Times report, MSNBC states Wynne was ordered by Gates to fire Moseley last week, due to a number of disagreements in recent months... but Wynne refused. Gates then called for the resignations of both men.

"Top-level Pentagon officials gave Moseley the option to resign or be fired during a meeting this morning," states a report by InsideDefense.com, which quoted an unidentified military official.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told reporters President Bush knew about the resignations, but hastened to add the President "has not played any role" in the decision. General Moseley became Air Force chief in September 2005, while Wynne took office in two months later.

Both Moseley and Wynne have publicly disagreed with lawmakers -- and Gates -- on a number of recent issues. As ANN reported, the USAF officials clashed with Gates in March over sending more Predator UAVs to battle zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moseley favored the so-called "all-in" approach bandied by Gates, though both Moseley (shown below) and Wynne expressed concerns that current deployments were stretching its UAV crews thin as it was.

That struggle also brought into question which branch of the US armed forces should control UAVs. Gates wants the Army and Navy to play a greater role in unmanned aerial vehicle operations.

The Air Force has also suffered a series of public embarrassments in recent months, including the inadvertant flight of a nuclear-armed B-52 bomber over the US last August. And Gates has called for answers on how fuses for USAF ballistic missiles were sent to Taiwan in 2006.

In another development closer to home, a $50 million contract awarded in 2005 to promote the USAF Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team was called into question in April by Pentagon officials, who determined it had been tainted by outside influence -- specifically, by a series of emails between Moseley, and an executive for the company that won the bid.

There were no criminal charges... but the determination further cast a pall on Air Force procurement procedures. "There has been a lack of accountability that raised concerns," one source told Reuters.

A public announcement of the resignations is expected this afternoon. It is not yet known who will replace Wynne and Moseley.

Wynne (shown below, foreground) is the second civilian military chief to be forced out by Gates. Army secretary Francis Harvey was forced out of his position in March 2007, due to fallout from revelations of shoddy treatment of troops recovering from war injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told reporters President Bush knew about the resignations, but hastened to add the President "has not played any role" in the decision.

FMI: www.af.mil

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