AFLCMC commander retires without new commander in place as senator’s blockade of promotions continues

Executive Director Dennis L. D’Angelo to take helm until Lt. Gen. Shipton is confirmed.

The commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) retired Monday without a new commander in place, as an Alabama senator’s hold on Senate military promotion votes keeps the nominated commander in stasis.

The person nominated to be that next commander, Lt. Gen. Donna Shipton, will be the center’s first woman commander.

A spokesman for AFLCMC said Dennis L. D’Angelo, a member of the Senior Executive Service and the center’s executive director, will lead the center until Shipton’s nomination is formally approved by the Senate.

AFLCMC is responsible for the cradle-to-grave life cycle management of all Air Force aircraft, engines, munitions, and electronic systems.

The retiring commander, Lt. Gen. Shaun Q. Morris, was the fourth person to lead AFLCMC, which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Under Morris’ leadership, the pace of hiring quickened dramatically at the center. A Fairborn hiring event for the center in March brought out thousands of applicants.

In a parting interview with AFLCMC chief historian Kevin Rusnak, Morris said the hiring push was necessary.

In fact, this year saw the largest growth of the center since 2016, an Air Force account of that interview said.

“The goal was to increase our center size by reducing the amount of attrition and increasing the hiring. Our attrition has stayed about the same,” Morris said in the interview. “But most of our retention incentives, I think are a little bit forward-looking. I’m hoping that has longer-term impact.”

It is not clear when Shipton will assume command, an AFLCMC release said recently.

Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville has said he will not drop a hold on military promotions unless the majority Democrats in the Senate allow a vote on a Pentagon abortion policy.

Tuberville is holding up more than 370 promotions to protest the abortion policy, media reports have said. The holds are in their eighth month.

Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Linda La

Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Linda La

Earlier this month, the Senate approved three high-level promotions, sidestepping Tuberville’s blockade. The Senate was able to confirm Gen. David Allvin to be chief of staff of the Air Force by a 95-1 vote.

Tuberville’s blockade makes impossible simultaneous approval of wide swaths of nominations and promotions, called “unanimous consent.” The Senate is still able to hold votes on individual promotions, but those are considered time-consuming and unwieldy. Rarely are individual promotions considered controversial.

An AFLCMC spokesman said the center will not comment on the blockade.

“Sen. Tuberville’s stance is distressing because it reflects the intrusion of partisan politics into critical military processes,” said Loren Thompson, a Virginia-based defense industry analyst familiar with the Air Force and Wright-Patterson. “Once we abandon the principle that national security is above party, there is no limit to the damage that might result.”

Anchored at Wright-Patt, AFLCMC has more than 17,000 civilian employees at 79 locations worldwide, with about 36% of those in the Dayton area.

Wright-Patterson itself is a large Air Force base, with the largest concentration of employment in one location in the state of Ohio, about 35,000 military and civilian employees in all.

The effective date of Shipton’s promotion to lieutenant general was August 2022, according to the Air Force.


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