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Erin Conaton finally confirmed by Senate to be Under Secretary of the Air Force

New Under Secretary of the Air Force, Erin Conaton

New Under Secretary of the Air Force, Erin Conaton

As numerous posts have noted, Erin Conaton’s nomination to be Under Secretary of the Air Force had been “on hold” for some time. Yesterday, the Senate finally confirmed her. The Air Force Times reports:

The Air Force has a No. 2 civilian leader for the first time since August 2007.

The Senate confirmed Erin Conaton as undersecretary of the Air Force on March 4 after months of political wrangling.

Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, the Republican senators from Alabama, had placed holds on her nomination because they were upset over the Air Force’s handling of the KC-X tanker competition, among other things. The holds were lifted without explanation.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing earlier that day, Sessions told Air Force Secretary Michael Donley that he was still upset about the tanker competition and that “this [was] not going to go away.”

Sessions spokeswoman Sarah Haley declined to comment on why the holds were lifted. Shelby’s office could not be reached for comment.

Conaton was nominated by President Obama on Nov. 10.

Many, many congrats to my friend Erin on her confirmation!  She will be a wonderful asset to the Air Force and exercise great leadership in her new position!

(HT: Doug Shaw)

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.