President Trump announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he will be nominating Barbara Barrett as the 25th Secretary of the United States Air Force. Barrett has served as Chairman of the Board of The Aerospace Corporation—a federally funded research and development center that is “committed exclusively to the space enterprise”—FAA deputy administrator, vice chairman of the now-closed U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board, and U.S. ambassador to Finland. In addition to having trained as an astronaut, she is an instrument-rated pilot and is credited with being the first civilian woman to land on an aircraft carrier in an F/A-18 Hornet.
“Ambassador Barrett is a force to be reckoned with and has the leadership, experience and knowledge to lead our Air Force into the future during a time of increased global threats,” said former U.S. Air Force pilot and current Senator Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who represents Barrett’s home state of Arizona. “I have confidence that Ambassador Barrett will lead the way in maintaining air and space dominance and continue to build upon the initiatives, leadership and example set forth by Secretary Heather Wilson.” Before taking up the role of Secretary of the Air Force, Barrett will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Confirmation hearings have not yet been scheduled.
Current Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will be stepping down on May 31. Wilson was confirmed as Secretary of the Air Force in May 2017. She announced her resignation last March and has accepted a position as president of the University of Texas at El Paso.