WASHINGTON, DC -- The next secretary of the U.S. Air Force has been named.
The Former U.S. ambassador to Finland, Barbara Barrett, was approved by the Senate last week as the 25th secretary of the U.S. Air Force, only the fourth woman to hold that position.
“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, according to an Air Force news release. “Our Air Force is the best in the world because of extraordinary airmen and civilians with whom I am now proud to serve.”
Barrett, an instrument-rated pilot, was the first civilian woman to land on an aircraft carrier in an F/A-18 Hornet, and has been certified for space travel after her space training in Russia and Kazakhstan. That experience may be key if the development of a U.S. Space Force moves forward.
“If confirmed, standing up a Space Force will be a key imperative,” Barrett told senators during her Sept. 12 confirmation hearing. “I think we need a Space Force. In fact, in my opinion, a domain-specific service to organize, train and equip space forces is overdue.”
Barrett, also a former chairwoman of the Aerospace Corporation, has served on the boards of defense contractor behemoth Raytheon, Piper Aircraft, and the nonprofit Space Foundation.