16 March 2005
Teets To Leave The Air Force At Month's End
Elizabeth Rees

Air Force Under Secretary and acting Secretary Peter Teets will leave the service at the end of the month, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper told a congressional panel today.

Teets has served as the service's under secretary, as well as the Defense Department's executive agent for space and the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, since 2001. When former Air Force Secretary James Roche and former acquisition chief Marvin Sambur resigned in January, Teets also took on their duties in an acting capacity.

The president has not yet nominated a new Air Force secretary, nor has the Air Force officially named anyone to temporarily fill the position once Teets leaves. But sources say Michael Dominguez, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs, likely will be named acting secretary.

Navy Secretary Gordon England is reportedly the Bush administration's leading candidate for the Air Force's top civilian position.

The second in command at the NRO, Dennis Fitzgerald, will act as the organization's director upon Teets' departure, according to sources. Timothy Beyland, director of service plans and integration on the Air Staff and director of the Air Force Personnel Operations Agency, will temporarily serve as the Air Force's acquisition executive, the service announced this week.

A slew of Air Force leadership nominations are stalled in the Senate Armed Services Committee -- fallout from the scandal surrounding Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force acquisition official who is serving a prison sentence for violating conflict-of-interest laws. Druyun admitted she arranged her post-Air Force employment with Boeing while negotiating the service’s now-defunct $30 billion tanker lease deal with the company; she has also admitted to tainting a number of other big-ticket contracts.

Just before leaving his post, Sambur said the scandal has created a “leadership vacuum” in the service.

Meanwhile, Jumper's four-year term as service chief will end early this fall.


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