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Conaton Tapped for Top Pentagon Personnel Post: President Obama on Tuesday nominated Air Force Undersecretary Erin Conaton to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Conaton has been the Air Force's No. 2 top civilian leader since March 2010. She has had a large role in shaping the service's space and energy policy, among her engagement, during her tenure. If the Senate approves her for the post, Conaton would be the senior policy advisor to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on recruitment, career development, pay, and benefits for US military personnel and Defense Department civilians. She would also oversee the overall state of military readiness. She would fill a Pentagon post vacant since late October when Clifford Stanley resigned.