HomeNewsArticle Display

Senate confirms Barrett to be Air Force secretary

Barbara Barrett was easily confirmed by the Senate Oct. 16, to be the 25th Secretary of the Air Force. As an experienced pilot, former ambassador and senior government official, Barrett was praised for her wide experience and long history with aviation and the United States military. (U.S. Air Force file photo by Wayne Clark)

Barbara Barrett was confirmed by the Senate Oct. 16, 2019, to be the 25th Secretary of the Air Force. As an experienced pilot, former ambassador and senior government official, Barrett was praised for her wide experience and long history with aviation and the United States military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne Clark)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

The Senate overwhelmingly confirmed Barbara Barrett to be the 25th Secretary of the Air Force, Oct. 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.

Engage

Twitter
Medical pros at Kadena Air Base, 3-D printed naso-pharyngeal swabs to test potential #COVID19 patients. The dental… https://t.co/h8q1HgLjRZ
Twitter
The MC-12W is a medium-to low-altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft. Its primary mission is providing intelligen… https://t.co/st7WRJLDHB
Twitter
Know what resources, treatments & therapies are available for invisible wounds. https://t.co/H2A7fYb8s3
Twitter
“The Total Force team at Eielson plays a pivotal role that extends throughout Alaska and projects into the Arctic.”… https://t.co/7nSYEtYWHj
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: 🙌🎉 Congrats to the @usairforce's newest pilots as Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 20-18 graduates today at @…
Twitter
.@JointBasePHH Airmen participate in a ramp drop from a C-17 Globemaster III. The 25th Air Support Ops Squadron is… https://t.co/AZVT6Qzmgv
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: It is a pleasure to be in #Alaska to see #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals in action! Whether it’s F-35s & F-22s protectin…
Twitter
RT @EielsonAirForce: When @SecAFOfficial comes to visit, we show off the 'cool stuff' https://t.co/sGCSnVOOXg
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: A career worth a thousand words: Colonel Campbell reflects on career in aviation - https://t.co/atNAeYOoMI (Story by @Dobb
Twitter
The Air Force will host the Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower conference virtually August 24–27.… https://t.co/9pRjj6U1lp
Twitter
A Rocket Propelled Grenade was launched at a Dyess AFB C-130J in September 2019. The Airmen had to respond quickly! https://t.co/fgfNkCjA4a
Twitter
#DYK The UH-1N has a crew of three (pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer) and is capable of flight in instrument and… https://t.co/Qcj74Tk4ra
Twitter
.@GenDaveGoldfein has left a lasting impression on @HollomanAFB. #DYK Among his many tours, he was once commander o… https://t.co/ET8q1w8ywO
Twitter
The United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy & 86th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters get advanced rescue… https://t.co/AUHlxm0nPt
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to the #Airmen and #SpaceProfessionals at Clear Air Force Station and @EielsonAirForce Base for sharing their…
Twitter
#DYK The F-16A, a single-seat model, first flew in December 1976. The first operational F-16A was delivered in Janu… https://t.co/B72dKcCrnr
Twitter
#DYK The C-17 made its maiden flight on Sept. 15, 1991, and the first production model was delivered to Charleston… https://t.co/edfO5R1YEm
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: To the @PACAF Total Force #Airmen, thank you for your dedication to the mission and your spirit to serve. https://t.co…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: I have no doubt @PACAF will continue to grow & prosper under the steady & focused leadership of the #USAF’s newest 4-s…
Twitter
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: For the past 2 yrs, PACAF has transformed under Gen. Brown’s leadership with a new joint mission to deter aggression i…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,251,289
Follow Us