WASHINGTON – Air Force Secretary Michael Donley is stepping down after five years in the job marked by scandals surrounding its aircraft contracts, sexual assaults and the mishandling of war dead. He is credited for improving the service's handling of nuclear materials.
Donley will leave June 21 to return to private life.
He was serving as the Pentagon's director of administration in 2008 when then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates tapped him to take the Air Force post. Gates had fired the service's chief of staff and secretary amid an embarrassing series of nuclear-related errors.
Donley got the nuclear mission back on track and worked to resolve disputes that repeatedly stalled the refueling tanker contract. But he faced criticism over the loss of service member's body parts at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary.