Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump's SecAF Pick May Signal Openness to Women in Combat |

Trump's SecAF Pick May Signal Openness to Women in Combat | President Donald Trump's choice for the next Air Force secretary could be a signal to troops that neither he nor Defense Secretary James Mattis intend to impose a ban on women in combat.

Heather Wilson, a former congresswoman and Air Force Academy graduate, hasn't directly advocated for women on the front lines -- indeed, she once raised doubts about lifting the ban on female troops serving in direct combat arms positions. But she has aggressively backed the need for women in combat support roles, according to congressional testimony from 2005.

Wilson was elected in 1998 to represent New Mexico's 1st Congressional District and at the time was the first and only female veteran serving in Congress.

During a spirited debate more than a decade ago over whether the U.S. should move to ban military women from serving and supporting their male counterparts on the front lines, Wilson had no intention of letting the subject whittle away just because male members in Congress believed "good men protect women" -- and not the other way around.

"Good women want freedom, too, and will fight for it," the retired Air Force captain said, according to a New York Daily News story from May 19, 2005.