Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has promised “to make every effort to get [two key Air Force] confirmations completed this week.” Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee made that statement Sept. 23 when prompted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a hearing on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates asked the committee in his written statement and opening remarks to act on the nomination of Michael Donley to be Air Force Secretary and Lt. Gen. William Fraser III to be vice chief of staff. Donley has been serving as Acting Secretary since June 21 and appeared before the committee July 22 for his confirmation hearing. Since then some lawmakers have prevented action on his nomination, largely over the failed KC-X tanker acquisition program, which Gates has now deferred to the next Administration.
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.