An Arizona businesswoman and diplomat has been nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the United States Air Force.
President Trump nominated Barbara Barrett to be the next secretary of the Air Force. As former chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, Trump is replacing Heather Wilson who is stepping down at the end of this month after two years in the position.
Barrett, 68, of Arizona, has an impressive resumes. She has served as ambassador to Finland in 2008-2009 during President George W. Bush’s administration. She was previously deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and was vice chairman of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board.
Barrett grew up in Indiana and Pennsylvania but after high school, earned her undergraduate, master’s and law degrees from Arizona State University.
Barrett and her husband Craig, endowed ASU with funds to launch the Barrett Honors College which was named in their honor.
This is the second time Barrett has been selected for the Air Force position. In 2003, Bush intended to nominate Barrett to replace John Roche, who was to become the Army secretary. But when Roche’s nomination was blocked in the Senate, Roche returned to his Air Force post, resulting in Barrett not being confirmed for the position.
Once confirmed by the Senate, Barrett will be stepping into the center of the widespread debate over the launch of a new U.S. Space Force, which is a Trump proposal that has hit resistance on Capitol Hill.
Barrett has a long history of being involved in local and national politics. Barrett holds the distinction of being the first Republican woman to run for governor in Arizona. She challenged the incumbent Republican, Fife Symington in 1994 in the primary with a campaign spend of more than $1 million of her own money. She was defeated.
Barrett serves on a number of boards, including the Smithsonian Institution, RAND Corporation, and the California Institute of Technology. Her business experience is equally as impressing having held a number of senior executive positions for Fortune 500 companies.
The 68-year-old would need to get confirmed by the Senate in order to succeed current Secretary Heather Wilson.