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Trump’s Air Force Secretary Pick to Face Confirmation Vote

by Countable | 5.8.17

President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as Air Force secretary, Heather Wilson, will face a confirmation vote in the Senate today after the former member of Congress was approved by the Armed Services Committee on a 22-5 vote in early April.

Who is Heather Wilson?

Wilson, 56, was a member of one of the first graduating classes at the U.S. Air Force Academy to include women and became a Rhodes Scholar prior to completing her service requirement. She then spent seven years as an officer serving as a negotiator and political adviser for the Air Force in England and a defense planning officer for NATO in Belgium, working on arms control negotiations. She left the Air Force when she was chosen to be the National Security Council’s director for European Defense Policy during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

After starting a business and working for the administration of then-New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Wilson was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998, where she served until 2009 after an unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2008. After leaving Congress, she formed a consulting firm and eventually worked for a Lockheed Martin subsidiary. Currently, Wilson is the president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

What came up in her confirmation hearings?

While the Senate Armed Services Committee approved her nomination on a bipartisan, 22-5 vote, there were several issues of note that arose. Democrats asked questions about the Lockheed Martin subsidiary she worked for, and whether she’d received payments to lobby for it rather than producing substantive work. Ethics laws prohibit lobbying by former members of Congress for one year after they leave office, but Wilson’s conduct wasn’t faulted by an audit conducted by the Dept. of Justice.

The operational challenges faced by the Air Force were, as expected, a big part of the confirmation hearings. Wilson noted in her testimony that the Air Force faces a widening "pilot gap" and needs 900 more fighter pilots to reach its goal. She also said that she would be transparent about announcing any plans to retire aircraft, like the F-15C/D fighter jet, in response to a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), but as a civilian isn’t privy to classified planning documents.

What does the Dept. of the Air Force do?

Along with its equivalents for the Army and Navy, the Dept. of the Air Force makes up one-third of the Dept. of Defense’s military departments and administers that branch of the military. It’s made up of more than 315,000 active duty Air Force personnel, more than 160,000 Guard and Reserve, and over 140,000 civilians. For fiscal year 2017, the Dept. of the Air Force submitted a $120.4 billion budget request.

Tell your senators what you think of Heather Wilson's nomination as Air Force Secretary using the "Take Action" button.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force / Public Domain)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(28)
  • IAmTheSenate
    05/08/2017
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    Seems like a decent pick, as long as her friends in the industry don't force her into any conflicts of interest.

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  • Judith
    05/08/2017
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    I distrust anyone associated with or nominated by the most politically corrupt, ethically vile, criminal "administration" in our history, so I am dubious at best. The only positive is that this seems like the only nominee that has ANY experience relative to the job for which they are nominated. The details of that experience may or may not be a positive asset, but I would certainly expect Congress to do it's due diligence in vetting...oh, never mind, they are just a rubber stamp for the fascist, unqualified, treasonous liar in the Oval Office. History will not be kind to any of these Party-before-Country traitors!

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  • Tony
    05/08/2017
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    Yes, finally we get someone who is related to the job!

    Like (5)
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  • Thanahelen
    05/08/2017
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    So long as she passes ethics rules and doesn't have any conflicts of interest she should get confirmed. She is more than qualified and she will appear to be a good voice of reason for this administration. Even though that seems to be a low bar to clear.

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  • Ty
    05/08/2017
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    She is a good person and friendly person that you'll ever meet

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  • Ingrid
    05/09/2017
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    Heather Wilson appears to be one of the more qualified-for-the-job-for-which-nominated people put forward by this administration to date. She should be seriously considered for the post, with careful review of past business lobbying (e.g. how might industry connections vs actual mission requirements affect decisions regarding Air Force requirements -- we don't need more requests for super expensive aircraft boondoggles).

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  • Shera
    05/09/2017
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    From the information presented, she seems to be quite a remarkable woman and a valid candidate. More vetting may be needed regarding such things as her lobbying.

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  • Simon
    05/08/2017
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    I know who she is and she would not be my first pick. However, I am not opposed to her like I am to the others, and she is qualified, so that's a win!

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  • Cathy
    05/08/2017
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    Heather Wilson was bad for NM why would you hire at the fed level?

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  • Pat
    05/08/2017
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    She sounds solid. I have a misgiving that she lobbied but other than that she appears qualified.

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  • Gina
    05/09/2017
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    No.

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  • Dave
    05/09/2017
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    Looks like more military solders! You know a dictator does not want anyone that would question his orders. Notes: most are military staff and right wing in office, does this say anything?

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  • M
    05/09/2017
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    At least this candidate has more credibility and experience than most Trump nominees

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  • HockeyGuy
    05/09/2017
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    Trump and the Republicans are incapable of and not sane enough to nominate a high quality person to serve in the Administration! The rule remains, vote no for and person nominated or any legislation authored or sponsored by a Republican! 100% RESISTANCE!!!!

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  • Ingrid
    05/15/2017
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    Refreshing to have someone by the Trump government nominated for a position that they actually have some experience in and knowledge about. Glad to see Heather Wilson approved as Secretary of the Air Force.

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  • Carl
    05/08/2017
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    Yes, she is a very good as well as capable person! I would love to see her confirmed!

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  • Janet
    05/08/2017
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    Seems reasonable.

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  • Thomas
    05/08/2017
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    She seems to be experienced and competent, characteristics in short supply in this administration. Given the information we have available, we should hire her.

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  • Patience
    05/08/2017
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    Vote NO

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  • Jean
    05/08/2017
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    She has experience

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