Richard Lombardi, the Air Force’s principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, has been reassigned to a post outside the acquisition portfolio, the service announced late Thursday. Lombardi notified Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Feb. 3 that on his annual financial disclosure form, he’d neglected to note that his wife has a retirement account with Northrop Grumman, thus potentially affecting his impartiality in acquisition matters. James reassigned Lombardi on Feb. 4 and USAF announced the change late on Feb. 11. A USAF spokeswoman said the delay in announcing the move was due to the time it took to notify Congress and identify a replacement: Darlene Costello, a senior service acquisition official. James referred the matter to the DOD Inspector General to see if the situation requires further action. Asked Friday if the situation could influence the Government Accountability Office’s review of Boeing’s protest of the Air Force’s award of the Long-Range Strike Bomber to Northrop Grumman, James said, “I hope not, but it’s too early to tell.” However, she added that Lombardi was not involved in the LRS-B source selection. A Boeing spokesman had no comment. The GAO is expected to rule on the LRS-B protest Feb. 16. Undersecretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow will retain her duties as the service acquisition authority. Lombardi, a member of the Senior Executive Service, was sharing the duties of USAF acquisition chief—an appointed position—with Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, military deputy to the assistant secretary for acquisition, since the departure last fall of William LaPlante. Bunch said Thursday he and Costello will “work as a team” to run the AQ shop.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.