New Air Force Chief a MOT

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

James Besser in Washington

Remember the recent controversy over proselytizing at the U.S. Air Force Academy? And charges by some groups that the service branch has become a very uncomfortable place for religious minorities, including Jews?

That could change with Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ appointment last week of a new Air Force chief.

His pick: Lt. General Norton Schwartz, a 1973 Air Force Academy graduate, onetime cargo aircraft pilot and official Member of the Tribe.

According to the Web site Jews in Green, which serves Jewish members of the armed services, Schwartz received a Jewish Community Centers Armed Forces and Veterans Committee leadership award in 2004, at which time the general told the group he was “proud to be identified as a Jewish as well as an American military leader.”

The changes at the top – Gates also appointed Michael Donley, currently a senior Pentagon official, as Secretary of the Air Force, the service’s top civilian position — come in the wake of several embarrassing incidents suggesting something less than competent management in the service.

Schwartz and Donley must still be confirmed by the Senate.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.