HomeAbout UsBiographiesDisplay

DR. SHEILA E. WIDNALL

PRINT | E-MAIL

Served as secretary of the Air Force from Aug. 6, 1993 to Oct. 31, 1997

Sheila E. Widnall is Secretary of the Air Force. In that role she is responsible for the current and future readiness of the Air Force to accomplish its missions. She oversees the recruiting, training and equipping of the 380,000 men and women on active duty, 251,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Reserve, and 184,000 civilians of the Total Force, and is further responsible for planning, justifying and allocating the service's annual budget of approximately $62 billion. Her other responsibilities include logistical support, maintenance, research and development and welfare of personnel.

In previous positions with the Air Force, Dr. Widnall served on the USAF Academy Board of Visitors, and on advisory committees to Military Airlift Command and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Dr. Widnall, a faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 28 years, became an associate provost at the university in January 1992. A professor of aeronautics and astronautics, she is internationally known for her work in fluid dynamics, specifically in the areas of aircraft turbulence and spiraling airflows. She has served on many boards, panels and committees in government, academia and industry. The Tacoma, Washington, native is the author of some 70 publications. During her tenure Dr. Widnall has concentrated on quality of life issues, modernization and acquisition reform and scientific and technological development. She assumed her current position Aug. 6, 1993.

EDUCATION
1960 Bachelor of science degree, aeronautics and astronautics, MIT
1961 Master of science degree, aeronautics and astronautics, MIT
1964 Doctor of science degree, MIT

CAREER CHRONOLOGY
1. 1964 - 1970, assistant professor, MIT
2. 1970 - 1974, associate professor, MIT
3. 1974 - 1993, professor, MIT
4. 1975 - 1979, head, fluid mechanics division, MIT
5. 1979 - 1980, faculty chairperson, MIT
6. 1979 - 1990, director, Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory
7. 1991 - 1992, chairperson, MIT's Committee on Academic Responsibility
8. 1992 - 1993, associate provost, MIT
9. 1993 - present, Secretary of the Air Force

AWARDS AND HONORS
1993 National Academy of Engineering Distinguished Service Award
1994 Princeton University - honorary degree - doctor of science
1994 Suffolk University - honorary degree
1994 Barnard College Medal of Distinction
1995 W. Stuart Symington Award - Air Force Association
1995 Boston USO Military Service Award
1995 Maxwell A. Kriendler Memorial Award - Air Force Association
1996 Durand Lectureship for Public Service - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
1996 Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame
1996 New Englander of the Year - New England Council

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Past trustee, Aerospace Corp.
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Past president and past chairperson, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences
Past trustee, Boston Museum of Science
Member, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government
Past trustee, Carnegie Corp.
Past trustee, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
Member, International Academy of Astronautics
Member, National Academy of Engineering
National Academy of Sciences' Panel on Scientific Responsibility
Past member, Board of Visitors for the U.S. Air Force Academy; board chairperson

(Current as of November 1996)

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Virtual, augmented reality may hold key to future #AirForce training. Find out how: https://t.co/FAcEaj4w6f https://t.co/7tdpioVtu9
#MentorMonday: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mu… https://t.co/PjGcBMVliB
Our partnerships and @NATO allies help keep our mission moving forward. https://t.co/5R4ZB7XqXs
$40M up for grabs! Find out how your small business can make some cash while helping solve some of the #USAF's toug… https://t.co/0AEmZhZGdI
RT @SecAFOfficial: Happy birthday 🎉 to #USAF Col & #space pioneer Buzz Aldrin @TheRealBuzz ✈️🚀 https://t.co/gIsicyA1uk
#Innovation! First metallic #3Dprinted part installed on an operational #F22 Raptor @HAFB. The new part will not co… https://t.co/rkKr1jtThg
Practice makes perfect! These #SpecOps medical experts maintain readiness & relevance for all operations, today and… https://t.co/WMpdt9LTGe
Remembering a woman who changed the world: Millicent Young, Women #AirForce Service Pilot in World War II, dies at… https://t.co/mri1QRXOC8
From fast food to future technology, one #Airman found a new calling @AirNatlGuard and decided to ditch the fryer f… https://t.co/I8qX7GpH4n
An #F35 sits on the flightline @LukeAFB, Jan. 10. Six different aircraft maintenance units from #TeamLuke competed… https://t.co/OxVMxf7Ayw
It takes a lot of coordination to clear a flightline of snow, but @TeamMisawa--a place that averaged more than 147… https://t.co/VQ4qjdsxFz
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is our responsibility to maintain a strong national defense @usairforce https://t.co/JXzhtqdMrg
When lives are on the line, there is no margin for error. Combat Search & Rescue #Airmen at #MoodyAFB conduct pre-d… https://t.co/AsWzaa1I00
RT @AFResearchLab: When a product goes from lab to battlefield, you can expect some amazing capabilities. See what work we've done to assis…
A B-2 Spirit bomber from @Whiteman_AFB, conducts aerial refueling near @JointBasePHH, during an interoperability tr… https://t.co/wzM5GvcviS
The #AirForce Life Cycle Management Center team is working to acquire next generation fixed-wing helmet.… https://t.co/LJ2xeCLdf2
Capt Jerry Yellin, #WWII fighter pilot who flew the last combat mission in August 1945, was laid to rest… https://t.co/XnSB9Yo3PC
75 years of @WrightPattAFB! Take a walk down memory lane with the leaders in military aviation development. https://t.co/vmjwxLUydg
C-5M #SuperGalaxy aircrew & aerial port specialists @Travis60AMW join the @USArmy to transport four UH-60… https://t.co/kTxdf9axY5
RT @SecAFOfficial: Why do we care about #space? It's contested. It's congested. It's competitive. https://t.co/DJZBjF2NHu