Staffing Up

/ October 3, 2008 at 5:00 AM
For the first time in months, the Air Force has a nearly complete senior leadership staff. The Senate voted yesterday evening to confirm Michael Donley as Air Force secretary and Lt. Gen. William Fraser as the vice chief of staff.
Donley -- who has been serving in an acting capacity since June 21 -- becomes the Air Force's 22nd secretary. But his time as the service's top civilian could be limited, though, as a new administration will enter the White House in January and likely make new appointments.
As for Fraser, the president must offer the official appointment to the general before he can assume his new position, according to an Air Force statement released last night. The general -- who now serves as the assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- will assume the vice chief of staff position on Oct 9.
The position of under secretary of the Air Force -- which has been vacant since Ronald Sega stepped down in August 2007 -- and assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, remain the only unfilled senior positions. Kevin Billings has been serving in the assistant secretary role since this summer.
In addition, the Senate has confirmed Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley to receive his fourth star and lead the National Guard Bureau. McKinley becomes the first four-star general in the NGB's history, as we reported this morning
The move reflects changes made in the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which provided a fourth star for the chief of the National Guard Bureau, mandated that at least one deputy head of U.S. Northern Command be a Guard officer and expanded the bureau’s charter.
McKinley, who is the director of the Air National Guard, will succeed Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, who was confirmed on Thursday as the first National Guard deputy commander for NORTHCOM, according to a National Guard Bureau statement. 
-- Marcus Weisgerber