Senate to vote on Trump's pick for Air Force secretary

Former US House Representative for New Mexico Heather Wilson

The Senate is slated to vote on a former New Mexico congresswoman tapped by President Donald Trump to be Air Force secretary.

Wilson is the first service secretary to be confirmed in the Trump administration and is only the second Senate-confirmed position at the Pentagon since he took office, with the other being Secretary of Defense James Mattis. She served in the House from 1998 to 2009 and was a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Senate Republicans including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (AZ) and Orrin Hatch (UT) praised Wilson in the hours leading up to the vote. It has been DOD's "executive agent" for space for many years, but an attempt was made during the Obama Administration to better coordinate space activities throughout DOD by creating the position of Principal DOD Space Advisor (PDSA).

"I'm honored to serve", Wilson said. Trump's picks for secretaries of the Army and Navy have withdrawn from consideration.

Wilson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982. She authored the book "International Law and the use of Force by the National Liberation Movement", which was published while she served as director of defense policy and arms control for the National Security Council, under President George H.W. Bush.

25 2017 shows a US F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Amari Air Base Estonia
25 2017 shows a US F-35A Lightning II aircraft at Amari Air Base Estonia

Reed said Wilson gave evasive answers during her confirmation hearing March 30, which "reluctantly led me to conclude, while Dr. Wilson has excellent academic qualifications, I must vote against her nomination before full Senate".

Wilson largely evaded Democrats who questioned her over the lack of documentation for her work as a defense industry consultant with a Lockheed Martin subsidiary.

Wilson had previously mentioned once confirmed, she would resign from her post as president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

During her confirmation hearings, Wilson said she plans to address the Air Force's pilot shortage as well as seek additional funding for the service's modernization efforts.

In 2013, the DOE inspector general found Sandia paid Wilson's consulting company $464,000 from 2009 to 2011 with no evidence of work. Wilson denied any wrongdoing. Trump has not nominated another individual to be Navy Secretary.

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