- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Barbara Barrett, a former U.S. ambassador to Finland and a fixture in the American defense policy and industry circles, has been tapped by the Trump administration to be the next Air Force secretary.

Mr. Trump announced Mrs. Barrett as his pick via Twitter on Tuesday, saying the former head of the Aerospace Corporation who also served as the deputy administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration will be an “outstanding secretary!”

If confirmed by the Senate, the Arizona native will replace outgoing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who announced she would be stepping down from her post shortly after former Defense Secretary James N. Mattis resigned in protest from the top job at the Pentagon in December.

Prior to her nomination, Mrs. Barrett had served as a senior civilian adviser to the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A trained pilot, Mrs. Barrett was the first ever woman to land an F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier and trained as an alternate for a Russian mission to the International Space Station in 2009.

Arizona Republican and Air Force combat veteran Sen. Martha McSally praised Mrs. Barrett’s nomination, in a statement issued Tuesday.



Ms. McSally, who served combat tours in the Middle East as an A-10 Thunderbolt pilot and later became the first female commander of an Air Force fighter squadron, had been lobbying the White House to nominate Mrs. Barrett to the top Air Force civilian job, she said.

“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,” Ms. McSally said.

“I have confidence that Ambassador Barrett will lead the way in maintaining air and space dominance and continue to build upon the initiatives” set in place by outgoing Secretary Wilson, she added.

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