Air Force Secretary Donley to step down

Friday - 4/26/2013, 3:15pm EDT

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley will step down in June after nearly five years on the job, the Air Force announced Friday.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve with our Air Force's great Airmen," Donley said in a statement. "Their accomplishments have been nothing short of impressive, and I'm humbled to be a part of this team. The Air Force has been a way of life for so much of my career, I know it will be bittersweet to say farewell."

Michael Donley

The Air Force said Donley's last day with the service will be June 21.

Before being confirmed as the service's top civilian in October 2008, Donley had served as the acting secretary since June of that year. Coupled with a seven-month stint as acting secretary in 1993, that makes Donley the longest serving secretary in the service's history, according to the Air Force.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Donley an "unwavering champion" for service members and their families.

"His leadership came during a challenging time for the Air Force, and he helped instill a culture of responsibility, initiative, and professionalism to the service," Hagel said in a statement. "The Air Force he leaves behind is more resilient and more respected because of his leadership and personal dedication."

As budget reductions have roiled the Defense Department in recent years, Donley oversaw large-scale reductions in the size of the Air Force's civilian workforce through buyouts, early retirements and reductions-in-force.

Donley has not yet announced his plans for the future.

RELATED STORIES:

Air Force's sequestration hit would mean less of everything

Air Force marks 4,500 more civilian jobs for elimination

Air Force to offer 3rd round of buyouts, early retirements