New USAF Chief Identified

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The Obama administration and the Pentagon announced May 10 that a native Texan and Air Force Academy graduate-cum-commandant who started his USAF career flying F-16s and A-10s will be nominated as the next Air Force chief of staff.

If confirmed by the Senate and appointed by the president afterward, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III would succeed Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, whom the Pentagon said will retire this summer. Defense Department leaders praised both men in public announcements but especially Schwartz, who took over the Air Force during a contentious time four years ago.

“Under his watch, the Air Force has reinvigorated its stewardship of the nuclear enterprise, made important investments in the capabilities needed for the future, and excelled in a wide range of missions, from the operations over Libya to supporting our ground forces in Afghanistan with close-air support” and ISR, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

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