Home : Media : News : News Article View

Senate Confirms Barrett to be Air Force Secretary

By Charles Pope | Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs | Oct. 17, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Barbara Barrett to be the 25th Secretary of the Air Force, Sept. 16, clearing the way for the experienced pilot and former ambassador to lead the service as it faces new threats globally and in space.

The 85 to 7 vote makes Barrett the third consecutive woman confirmed to lead the Air Force and its 685,000 total force Airmen. Barrett replaces Heather Wilson who resigned in May. Undersecretary Matthew Donovan served as acting secretary in the interim.

“I can think of no position that offers more excitement, challenge and meaning than the secretary of the Air Force,” Barrett said, after the vote. “Our Air Force is the best in the world because of extraordinary Airmen and civilians with whom I am now proud to serve.”

Barrett’s lopsided confirmation was largely expected. She earned praise from senators in remarks prior to the vote that summarized her extensive background in public service as ambassador to Finland, as a senior official at the Federal Aviation Administration, as an instrument-rated pilot and as someone certified as an astronaut for space travel.

“Ambassador Barrett has had an impressive career both inside and outside of government,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, prior to the vote.

Barrett’s experience as a senior official with the FAA and most recently as chairwoman of the Aerospace Corporation gives her “a deep understanding of the United States Air Force,” Thune said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein offered his praise as well. “This is an exciting day for our Air Force,” he said. “Secretary Barrett brings an incredible background and a level of strategic understanding that will propel us into the future. We won the lottery…again!”

Any questions about Barrett’s confirmation were largely erased in September when she appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Barrett echoed a set of priorities that have been often described by the Air Force’s civilian and military leadership.

She emphasized the need for robust modernization to recover from budget cuts in previous years. She offered unequivocal support for expanding the fleet of F-35 Lightning II aircraft. “The F-35,” she told senators, “is our future and we need it. And we need it sustainably.”

She offered support for an Air Force analysis calling on the service to expand to 386 squadrons from 312. That number is needed, the analysis says, to meet all demands and challenges posed in today’s world. That target was unveiled last year after extensive review and is captured in shorthand as “the Air Force we need.”

Barrett agreed that continuing to reconfigure the force to confront, and if necessary defeat, “near-peer” adversaries China and Russia must remain a focus. And, at a time when the Air Force and other services are confronting suicides and sexual assaults among other quality of life issues, Barrett pledged to work hard to understand and address those problems as well as the underlying issues that cause them.

She also endorsed creating a Space Force as the new and separate sixth branch of the U.S. military.

“If confirmed, standing up a Space Force would be a key imperative,” she told senators during that hearing. “I believe we need the Space Force, in fact, in my opinion, a domain-specific service to organize, train and equip space forces is overdue.”

Barrett also embraced existing policies and themes on topics ranging from the need for the KC-46 Pegasus tanker to combating cyber threats, to the emerging importance of the Arctic and to working with senators to address groundwater contamination from Air Force bases in their states. She agreed that modernizing the United States’ aging nuclear capability is “one of our highest priorities.”

She gained notice as the first civilian woman to land in an F-18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier, riding in the back seat. She earned an up-close view of defense policy and Pentagon behavior in her service as a civilian adviser to both the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time.

Most recently, Barrett stepped down in 2017 as chairwoman of the board for the Aerospace Corporation after four years in the role. Aerospace Corp. is the only federally funded research and development organization focused on space.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
245,820
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S., U.K., Japan Navies Reaffirm Commitment to Increased Cooperation
Chief of Maritime Staff Adm. Hiroshi Yamamura, left, First Sea Lord Adm. Tony Radakin, and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday sign a Trilateral Head of Navy Joint Statement aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08). The trilateral cooperation agreement reaffirms the three countries’ commitment to increased collaboration and cooperation.
Nov. 21, 2019 - ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday joined First Sea Lord, United

HSC-25 Conducts MEDEVAC of Chinese Citizen at Sea
Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC-25) the “Island Knights” perform a medical evacuation mission at sea from aboard a Hong Kong-flagged vessel for a Chinese national in medical distress in the vicinity of Guam, Nov, 20, 2019. HSC-25 provided life-saving medical care while transporting the patient to Guam Memorial Hospital. The “Island Knights” provide search-and-rescue, medical evacuation, and multi-mission capabilities to 7th Fleet area of operation.
Nov. 21, 2019 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron

B-52s Complete 19.5-hour Mission, Live-fire Training with Army in Hawaii
A UH-60 Black Hawk flares before landing with armed escort from an AH-64 Apache during infiltration operations for a Fire Support Coordination Exercise on Pohakuloa Training Area, located on the big island of Hawaii, November 12 through 21, 2019. During the exercise, members of the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron and U.S. Army Pacific 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, integrated with B-52 Stratofortress bombers for live-fire training missions in support of Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence operations
Nov. 21, 2019 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bomber aircrews

USS Emory S. Land Visits Subic Bay
Able Seaman Genaro Cuico, a Military Sealift Command civilian mariner assigned to the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), prepares to toss a line to the pier as the ship prepares to moor at Subic Bay, Philippines, Nov. 18. Land is in Subic Bay for a scheduled port visit to conduct a series of inspections for Land's Fleet Maintenance Activity Assessment.
Nov. 21, 2019 - SUBIC BAY, Philippines -- The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) arrived in Subic Bay,

Kadena Innovators Compete for AF-level Honors
From left, Master Sgt. Joy McCammon, 718th Force Support Squadron casualty operations section chief, Staff Sgt. Alexander Nestle, 18th Communications Squadron software development supervisor, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Sills, 18th CS NCO in charge of application development, stand for a photo at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 19, 2019. They are part of the PRAS team named as one of two U.S. Pacific Air Forces Spark Tank nominees to compete at the Air Force level.
Nov. 21, 2019 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members from the 718th Force Support and the 18th Communications Squadrons