Wow — I was shocked this morning to see that both the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General “Buzz” Moseley, and the Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Wynne, resigned yesterday. (Story here.) Had I seen the news yesterday, I just would’ve been shocked a few hours earlier.
I consider it a great shame that General Moseley was forced to resign — I didn’t have many dealings with him when I was on the Air Staff,* but he always struck me as a straight-up guy. My fondest memory is of chatting with him in the little connecting hallway between the D and E rings of the Pentagon, where he urged me to insert some random Mandarin Chinese characters into a speech I’d written for Mr. Peter Teets — the Under Secretary at the time — just to see how Mr. Teets would react.
Mr. Wynne, on the other hand, I never understood. I had even fewer dealings with him than with Gen Moseley, but my observations from afar showed me a man who was possibly too smart for the practical realities of the job. I got that impression when, as one of his first initiatives as Secretary, he decided to update (or revamp, or otherwise tinker with) the Air Force Mission and focus less on the traditional elements of flying, fighting, and winning the nation’s wars than on delivering “sovereign options.” I still scratch my head over that one.
Of course, this difficult situation is made even worse by the fact that the Air Force has been without an Under Secretary for months now. (It’s similar to when I was there, and they tapped Mr. Michael Dominguez to be the Acting Secretary. I enjoyed writing for him; some of us thought he would make a good SecAF.) I saw this afternoon that the SecDef was going to recommend a new nominee to President Bush, but it will be exceedingly strange for someone to be nominated and confirmed for the last few months of the Presidential term. I suspect there will be another Acting SecAF for awhile; I wish them luck.
*Full disclosure: I worked in the Secretary & Chief of Staff’s Executive Action Group from 2004 until my retirement in 2006.
Thanks, Janice. Peggy Noonan is one of my favorites, too; her book ON SPEAKING WELL is terrific.
Was that an amazing job?! One of my “heroes” is Peggy Noonan and I’ve always been intrigued by the whole speech writer thing. Great to hear to such an important man like General Moseley has a good sense of humor.