President Trump on Tuesday announced that he plans to nominate Barbara Barrett, a former chairwoman of the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation, to be the next secretary of the U.S Air Force.
Trump revealed that he has settled on Barrett as the service’s 25th secretary in a tweet Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the conclusion of a farewell ceremony for Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Wilson will at the end of next month.
Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican from Arizona state, applauded Barrett’s choice in a news release Tuesday, and said she had urged Trump to choose her, particularly during a May 17 phone call.
McSally, a former Air Force A-10 pilot, also met with Barrett on May 16 regarding the Air Force secretary job.
“Ambassador Barrett is force to be reckoned with and who has the leadership, experience, and knowledge to lead our Air Force into the future during a time of increased global threats,” McSally said in the release. “I have confidence that Ambassador Barrett will lead the way in maintaining air and space dominance and continue to build upon the initiatives, leadership, and example set forth by Secretary Heather Wilson.”
Barrett has a longstanding interest in aerospace issues, sitting on the boards of the Rand and Aerospace corporations (where she also served with former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley), and acting as a former member of the Pentagon’s Defense Business Board.
The Aerospace Corporation, which has technical experts in every discipline of space-related science and engineering, according to its website, “operate[s] the only federally funded research and development center committed exclusively to the space enterprise.”
Barrett is an instrument-rated pilot. In 2009, she trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and Kazakhstan, and was then certified for space travel. Barrett is also the first civilian woman to land in an F/A-18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier.