On the afternoon of 5 June 2008, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates stepped to the podium at the Pentagon press room to announce that he had accepted the resignations of Michael Wynne, Secretary of the Air Force, and General T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The immediate cause for the dual reliefs—Gates had asked for the resignations—was a "pattern of poor performance" related to the handling of nuclear weapons and sensitive missile components. The secretary further explained his actions by noting, "It is my responsibility to ensure that the Air Force is on the right path to correcting the systemic and institutional nuclear weapons stewardship problems that have been identified." With his nomination of General Norton A. Schwartz, a recognized special operations and airlift specialist, to succeed Moseley he departed from five decades of Air Force chiefs being either fighter or bomber pilots. The operational errors might have been the last straw but they were also clearly part of a much larger set of issues.
Sprinting Through the Tape
By Major General Thomas L. Wilkerson, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)