Trump Has First Service Secretary As Senate OKs USAF Pick

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Heather Wilson will be the next secretary of the US Air Force, following her confirmation Monday by the US Senate.

The Senate voted 76-22 in favor of Wilson, who will replace acting secretary Lisa Disbrow, who has been filling in since Deborah Lee James vacated the position in January.

I was pleased to meet with Dr. Wilson earlier this year to discuss her priorities for the Air Force, including readiness and hiring challenges as well as controlling the costs of major acquisitions. She served in the House from 1998 to 2009 and was a member of the Armed Services Committee.

After serving five terms in Congress from New Mexico, Wilson collected almost half a million dollars in questionable payments from federally funded nuclear labs, the Energy Department's inspector general said in a 2013 report. "We don't have enough space for research, and we've got a number of buildings that are in real need of refurbishment", Wilson said.

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. President Trump then nominated Mark Green to be Secretary of the Army, but he withdrew last week because of criticism over comments he is said to have made that were offensive to the LGBT community and Muslims.

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Vincent Viola, Trump's first Amy secretary nominee, and Navy Secretary nominee Philip Bilden both withdrew from consideration in February over concerns about their financial holdings.

According to the Air Force website, Wilson served as an officer in Europe during the Cold War, and graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

Under federal acquisition regulation laws, Wilson should have kept documentation of her consulting work.

Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wilson's tenure as a representative from New Mexico gives her unique insight into the role and needs of the state's three Air Force bases.

In 2013, the Department of Energy Inspector General found that Sandia Corp. paid Wilson's consulting company about $500,000 from 2009 to 2011 with no evidence of work. Sandia and Wilson have denied any prohibited lobbying occurred.

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