WASHINGTON – The Air Force's logistics chief resigned Monday, saying the recent leadership shake up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates has hurt his ability to do his job.
In a sharply worded memo obtained by The Associated Press, William Anderson said the changes limit his ability to take care of the airmen and their families with the vigor they deserve.
"I can no longer draw on a critical mass of leadership within the Pentagon who share your vision for the support necessary to lean forward to aggressively support these American heroes," Anderson said in a memo to President Bush.
Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley accepted Anderson's resignation and said it will take effect August 15. He said Anderson is "enormously talented, very experienced, and has superb strategic vision."
Last month, Gates sacked the Air Force secretary and the chief of staff. He blamed them for failing to fully address a series of nuclear-related mishaps. His decisions were triggered largely by the conclusions of an internal report on the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads.
Anderson has been the assistant secretary for installations, environment and logistics since 2005. He made no reference in his memo to the string of missteps that has plunged the Air Force into turmoil for months.
Instead, he spoke of progress the Air Force has made in improving energy programs, developing better housing for airmen, and creating the new Cyber Command, which will beef up the military's ability to wage war against terrorists, hackers or other cyberspace threats.
Last August, an Air Force B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. At the time, the pilot and crew were unaware they had nuclear arms aboard.
Then, in March, the Pentagon disclosed the mishandling of the fuses and launched a broad investigation into the military's handling of nuclear related materials.
The report was completed last month, and asserted that slippage in the Air Force's nuclear standards was a "problem that has been identified but not effectively addressed for over a decade. Those findings led to Gates' decision to fire Michael Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley, who were the Air Force secretary and chief of staff, respectively.
Bush has nominated Gen. Norton Schwartz, a 35-year veteran with a background in Air Force special operations, as the new Air Force chief of staff. And former Air Force official Michael Donley has been nominated to be the next Air Force secretary. He is currently serving as acting secretary.
Both men told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that they will work to restore trust and confidence in the beleaguered service.
Also Monday, the Air Force said Kenneth Miller, who was a special assistant to Wynne, also resigned. He was involved in Air Force acquisitions, and had told officials last month that he planned to leave in concert with Wynne's departure, the Air Force said.