Gates to USAF: Straighten Up and Fly Right

Defense sec criticizes service for being slow to adapt to change
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2008 4:46 PM CDT
Defense Secretary Robert Gates pauses after laying a wreath at the India Gate War Memorial, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, in New Delhi, India.    (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Getty Images, Pool)
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(Newser) – Robert Gates chided the Air Force today for being slow to change and for not providing enough help in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Addressing American and international student officers in Alabama, the defense secretary said getting the USAF to adapt, particularly in the use of drone aircraft, has been "like pulling teeth," the Washington Post reports.

"The challenge that I pose to you today is to become a forward-thinking officer who helps the Air Force adapt to a constantly changing strategic environment characterized by persistent conflict," said Gates, himself a onetime Air Force officer.