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Key Air Force official is found dead

WASHINGTON — The Air Force's No. 2 acquisition official was found dead at his home on Sunday of an apparent suicide, Air Force and police officials said Monday.

The official, Charles D. Riechers, 47, came under scrutiny by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month after the disclosure that he received $13,400 a month working for a defense contractor, Commonwealth Research Institute, in a job arranged by the Air Force before the Senate confirmed him for the senior Air Force position.

Riechers became the principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition at the Air Force in January. He lived in Chantilly, Va., near Washington.

The Washington Post reported on Oct. 1 that for two months while waiting to be confirmed, Riechers held the title of senior technical adviser at Commonwealth Research Institute, a nonprofit firm in Johnstown, Pa., but did no work for the company.

"I really didn't do anything for CRI," Riechers told The Post. "I got a paycheck from them."

The Air Force has disputed The Post's portrayal of Riechers' role. It said in a statement Monday that he was "employed in a scientific and engineering technical assistance capacity to the Air Force and made recommendations that were instrumental in engineering our acquisition transformation and continuing the Air Force's modernization of our aging fleet."

Specifically, the Air Force said that Riechers provided technical advice on several programs including converting commercial aircraft to military using and modernizing the C-130 transport plane.

Riechers was a retired Air Force officer and master navigator specializing in electronic warfare. He accumulated more than 1,900 flight hours, with 90 hours of combat and combat support time in B-52G and EC-130H aircraft.