Air Force Secretary Michael Donley bid farewell to airmen during a departure ceremony at JB Andrews, Md., on June 21. Donley was confirmed as the 22nd USAF Secretary on Oct. 2, 2008—a contentious point in the Air Force’s history. He had served as the acting Secretary since June of that year, as well as for seven months in 1993, making him the longest serving Secretary in the history of the Air Force. During the ceremony, he was praised by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh for “reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise,” overseeing a successful contract award for the KC-46A tanker replacement, and establishing Air Force Global Strike Command and 24th Air Force, among other accomplishments. “Brick by brick, Donley…has re-established the reputation and morale of our Air Force,” said Carter. Welsh said, “America is stronger because Mike Donley chose to serve.” Donley used the occasion to make one final appeal to Congress to repeal sequestration and he thanked airmen and their families for serving. “It’s been an honor to serve with you in the world’s finest Air Force,” said Donley. Air Force Undersecretary Eric Fanning will serve as acting Secretary until the Senate confirms a replacement.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.