Trump’s Air Force Nominee Could Bring Strong Voice to Capitol Hill - Defense One: President Donald Trump’s pick of a former congresswoman to run the Air Force could give the service a larger voice in the behind the scenes budget battles on Capitol Hill, service advocates say.
If confirmed by the Senate, former Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., would be the first Air Force secretary to have previously been elected to Congress. Stuart Symington, the first Air Force secretary in 1947, was elected in 1952 to the Senate in Missouri.
Wilson, a former Air Force officer, is president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, a position she has held since 2013. But her background includes assignments in Europe and arms control, two issues facing the Air Force today. The service has stepped up deployments to Europe in recent years in response to Russian aggression and are starting the process of buying new nuclear weapons.
“As a veteran, a committed public servant in Congress and a military spouse, she understands the needs of the Air Force and how to advocate policy that meets those needs,” said Thomas Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general who runs the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense.
Wilson would become secretary of a service that has been taxed in terms of it size and age of its equipment.
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