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The Air Force has filled a senior acquisition post after a prolonged search, announced Secretary Michael Donley on Tuesday. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Donley said William LaPlante of the Mitre Corporation would start on May 6 as the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, a position that's been open for several years. The assistant secretary for acquisition position still remains vacant, and Donley didn't comment on progress in finding a candidate to fill that. However, "I'll retain service acquisition executive authorities for the time being," said Donley. He called LaPlante "a superb engineer" and noted that LaPlante "runs the missile defense work at Mitre" and "has a broad range of experience" in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and sensors and communications as well as extensive background with the Navy and the Defense Science Board. Donley also said during the April 23 meeting he is "grateful" to have an Air Force undersecretary confirmed, as the Senate last week approved Eric Fanning for that post.