Secretary Gates drops a bomb on the Air Force
Posted by Moira Whelan
The news that the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff were forced to resign is pretty big news and could speak to a lot of activity that’s been happening at the Pentagon under the radar.
First and foremost, they were sacked in a very public way for Air Force standards. Both were attending Corona, which is a big gathering of generals. One was summoned to Washington, the other dealt with at the base in Ohio where the conference was taking place. They were separated and dismissed…in front of every single top dog in the Air Force.
Others are more plugged in than I am, but the Air Force and DoD have been doing battle for some months, and it isn’t the first time that Secretary Gates has made his frustration public. He was pretty blunt about feeling the F-22 was a waste of time while the Air Force still pushed it, as well as about the Air Force’s failure to step up deployment of drones. He’s said that getting the Air Force to think and act in new ways is “like pulling teeth.”
The most interesting thing to me is that Gates took really decisive action here. On one hand, he seems to be keeping things in line in a pretty rough environment. On the other hand, it makes you wonder what else isn’t getting done if the Air Force chiefs have been able to run their own rogue operation for so long unchecked.
Hopefully Gates will use the next few days to make his expectations of the Air Force leadership clear, because right now, the rumor mill says that everyone is just ducking for cover.