On Monday, the White House announced that President Donald Trump plans to nominate Air Force Veteran and former Congresswoman Heather Wilson to be Secretary of the Air Force. If confirmed, the 56-year-old Wilson would be the first Air Force Secretary to have graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“Heather Wilson is going to make an outstanding secretary of the Air Force,” President Trump said in a statement.
“Her distinguished military service, high level of knowledge, and success in so many different fields gives me great confidence that she will lead our nation’s Air Force with the greatest competence and integrity. Our debt to America’s men and women in uniform is eternal. Their service is an inspiration to us all and we honor their service and sacrifice,” he added.
Wilson also responded to the announcement of the nomination.
“America and our vital national interests continue to be threatened,” she said in the statement.. “I will do my best, working with our men and women in the military, to strengthen American air and space power to keep the country safe.”
The Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, released a statement praising the incoming SECAF.
“Heather Wilson is an excellent choice for Secretary of the Air Force,” Thornberry said in a statement. “Having served with her on the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees and worked with her on many issues, I know her to be a serious and thoughtful leader who is well-equipped to meet the challenges we face in national security. I look forward to working with her in this new role.”
Wilson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982, where she was in the third class in the history of the academy to include women. She served as an Air Force officer during the Cold War and served on the National Security Council Staff under the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Wilson served as a Congresswoman from New Mexico from 1998 to 2009. She has been the President of the public engineering and science college the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology since 2013. The White House statement noted that under Wilson, enrollment and research has grown at the university. She earned a masters and a doctoral degree at Oxford University in England.
During her time in Congress, Wilson was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and also chaired the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence.