James To Lead USAF?

By Christopher J. Castelli / April 26, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Deborah Lee James, Science Applications International Corp.'s executive vice president for communications and government affairs, appears to be the frontrunner to succeed outgoing Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, two former senior service officials tell InsideDefense.com.

James' resume includes a decade of experience working as a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee -- where she focused on military personnel and NATO issues -- and a five-year stint as assistant secretary of defense for Reserve affairs.

"James has served in senior homeland and national security management, policy and program positions in government and the private sector for more than 25 years," her SAIC bio states. "Most recently at SAIC she was a business unit general manager for a team of 2,900 employees specializing in command, control, communications and computers as well as aviation support services for the U.S. military."

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today praised Donley. "Mike has been an invaluable adviser during my first two months as Secretary of Defense and has been an outstanding leader of the Air Force for nearly five years," Hagel said in a statement.