Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

10 May, 2017, 03:00 | Author: Archie Newman
  • Secretary of the Air Force Nominee Heather Wilson testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee as a part of the confirmation process

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's pick for Air Force secretary was on track for Senate confirmation on Monday. Lawmakers of both parties have expressed concerns over the sluggish pace at which Trump is filling Defense Department jobs. The 22 "no" votes all came from Democrats.

"I look forward to serving the Air Force, but I will leave the School of Mines with regret", Wilson said, shortly after learning of her confirmation.

Trump's pick for secretary of the Army, Mark Green, was forced to withdraw his name from consideration Friday following the controversy surrounding his past remarks on LGBT issues, Islam and evolution.

Wilson is expected to be sworn within a week, according to the Air Force.

"We live in a remarkable country, protected by innovators and intrepid Airmen who take great risks on our behalf", Wilson said in a statement.

"I'm sure she'll work hard in this new role to strengthen the branch of the military that she cares so much about", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Blumenthal voted against Wilson on Monday.

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Wilson denied any impropriety and said she complied fully with her contract for the consulting services.

He also voted against Wilson in a 22-5 committee vote on April 5.

Wilson, 56, is a former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico. Over the next four years, the Air Force will buy new fighters and training jets, recapitalize key command-and-control platforms, and modernize two legs of the nuclear triad, among other critical procurement programs. The service is also facing a challenging pilot shortage of 800 pilots.

Wilson will succeed Deborah Lee James as SecAF, who left at the end of the Obama Administration.

Heather Wilson, an Air Force Academy graduate and Rhodes scholar, was chosen to become secretary of the Air Force.

Wilson served as an Air Force officer in Europe during the 1980s and was on the National Security Council staff under President George H.W. Bush during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her post-congressional work drew scrutiny for several Democrats, who had questioned an arrangement with government laboratories that paid her $20,000 a month.

"I appreciate the overwhelming support of the United States Senate", she replied.

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