Corley In the Clear

Air Combat Command chief Gen. John Corley did nothing wrong in telling Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), a key F-22 supporter in Congress, that the Air Force faces “high risk” in carrying out its duties if the F-22 program is capped at 187 aircraft, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said June 26. Speaking with reporters at the Pentagon, Donley said Corley was responding to a specific request in writing to Chambliss, and “we expect all our officers to answer those letters directly, and we do not … intervene.” Donley said Corley did not volunteer or lobby, his views. Rather, he was asked for his opinion by a US Senator and responded appropriately. Asked Why Corley’s professional advice on the F-22—based on a long career in operational and acquisition issues—was ignored, Donley said “It’s not personal.” While “we respect Corley’s views’ highly, … we had to make decisions for the corporate Air Force, going forward, taking into account lots of competing demands and requirements,” he explained. Donley said he’s not aware that any Air Force uniformed personnel have lobbied Congress for more F-22s “in a way that’s inconsistent with the direction they get from headquarters.”