Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

May 10, 2017, 03:01
Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

The US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's pick Heather Wilson as Air Force Secretary, officials said.

The upper chamber of Congress voted 76 to 22 to hand the rein of the U.S. Air Force to Wilson, who was a former House member representing the state of New Mexico.

Wilson deflected questions about the payments, saying during her Senate confirmation hearing that she'd performed the work and that the inspector general had found no fault with her. Wilson, a former Air Force captain, served in Europe in the 1980s.

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The Trump administration has been slow to fill many other senior civilian posts at the Pentagon, leaving Defense Secretary Jim Mattis short of the support he needs to manage the nation's vast military enterprise.

"We live in a remarkable country, protected by innovators and intrepid Airmen who take great risks on our behalf", she said in a statement.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, called Wilson a "proven leader" and said she would lead the service to a stronger future.

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Trump's pick for secretary of the Army, Mark Green, was forced to withdraw his name from consideration Friday following the controversy surrounding his past remarks on LGBT issues, Islam and evolution. "It's a wonderful university and the people of western South Dakota deserve to be proud of the School of Mines". Wilson denied any wrongdoing. She would be would be the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Air Force secretary if confirmed by the Senate.

Wilson largely evaded Democrats who questioned her over the lack of documentation for her work as a defense industry consultant with a Lockheed Martin subsidiary.

Reed said Wilson gave evasive answers during her confirmation hearing March 30, which "reluctantly led me to conclude, while Dr. Wilson has excellent academic qualifications, I must vote against her nomination before full Senate". She authored the book "International Law and the use of Force by the National Liberation Movement", which was published while she served as director of defense policy and arms control for the National Security Council, under President George H.W. Bush. Trump has not nominated another individual to be Navy Secretary.

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