The Air Force has named Richard Lombardi the interim assistant secretary for acquisition, temporarily replacing William LaPlante, who resigned his post last month to take up a senior position at the MITRE Corp., Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Dec. 2. Lombardi served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, where he was the senior civilian assistant to LaPlante. Lombardi served in the Air Force in acquisition management positions and retired as a colonel in July 2004. James said the Air Force will work through its “process” to find a permanent acquisition chief, but ultimately it will be the White House’s decision to hire LaPlante’s replacement.
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.