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A former Air Force under secretary, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general and a former C-130 and C-17 pilot are among four people appointed by President Obama to recommend the right mix of active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve personnel and equipment to meet future requirements.
The National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force is an eight-member group mandated by the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The president appoints four of the members, and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees each nominate one.
Congress directed the commission to produce a report by Feb. 1 on how the Air Force can reduce its force and still meet anticipated mission requirements. The commission will be able to hold hearings and take testimony while producing the report.
The president's nominees, announced Monday, are F. Whitten Peters, retired Lt. Gen. Dennis M. McCarthy, Janine Davidson and Margaret C. Harrell.
Peters was under secretary and acting secretary of the Air Force from 1997 to 1999, and previously was principal deputy general counsel at the Defense Department. He was Air Force secretary from 1999-2001. He was an officer in the Navy from 1969 to 1972 and earned his law degree at Harvard. He is a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C.
McCarthy retired from the Marine Corps in 2005 with more than 40 years of active and reserve military service. He commanded eight Marine Corps or joint organizations, including the 3rd Marine Division. After retiring, he was assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs from 2009 to 2011 and was executive director of the Reserve Officers Association of the United States from 2005 to 2009. He is a principal for The Military Experts in Columbus, Ohio.
Davidson, a former aircraft commander and senior pilot on C-130s and C-17s, is an assistant professor at George Mason University and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. From 2009 to 2012, she served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans. From 2006 to 2008, she was director in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. She earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.
Harrell is the director of the Army Health Program and a senior social scientist at the RAND Corporation. From July 2011 to August 2012, she was the senior fellow and director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security. She has a master's degree from The George Washington University and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
The other four members of the commission have not been announced.
The commission was added to the National Defense Authorization Act after months of argument between Congress and the Air Force over proposed budget cuts aimed primarily at the Air National Guard. The Air Force has pledged to work more closely with lawmakers and state leaders. The Air Force also created a task force to look at force structure.
The president's budget proposal is expected April 10, White House officials said last week.