David Van Buren, the Air Force’s acquisition executive, is stepping down, said a senior Pentagon acquisition official on Monday. “David’s been a great colleague for me for the last two years. I’ve learned an enormous amount from him. He’s a true professional and he’s really going to be missed in the department,” stated Frank Kendall, acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition, during an address in Washington, D.C. Kendall said Air Force Secretary Michael Donley informed him of Van Buren’s departure on Feb. 3. Kendall credited Van Buren with providing “great service to the Air Force and the Department of Defense.” Van Buren has been USAF’s acquisition boss since April 2009 and, before that, was the principal deputy acquisition leader for a year. He is expected to vacate the post at the end of March and return to private industry.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.