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Heather Wilson testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during her confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of the Air Force on March 30. 2017. USAF photo by Scott M. Ash.

​The Senate confirmed Heather Wilson as the 24th Secretary of the Air Force on Monday with a vote of 76-22. Wilson has extensive experience with the Air Force, Congress, and in education and since she is only the second of President Trump’s nominees to be confirmed, she will likely wield significant influence in the new administration.

“Dr. Wilson is a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy and was a friend to the Air Force during her years in Congress,” said AFA Chairman of the Board F. Whitten Peters. “AFA looks forward to working closely with her as we navigate the ongoing challenges our Air Force currently faces.”

Wilson takes the helm of the Air Force at a time when it is the smallest and oldest it’s ever been. During her confirmation hearing she urged lawmakers to repeal the Budget Control Act and avoid the threat of sequester as the Air Force moves forward on several programs, including the F-35 strike fighter, KC-46A tanker, B-21 bomber, Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, Long Range Stand Off missile, UH-1N replacement, and others.

Wilson graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1982 and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving both her masters of philosophy and doctor of philosophy from Oxford University in England. She was the first female veteran in US Congress, where she served on the House Armed Services Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She also served as the President of the South Dakota School of Mines and sits on the Board of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. Wilson was formerly a member of the Congressional Panel on the Nuclear Security Enterprise and serves on several nonprofit and advisory boards.

“Dr. Wilson is an inspiring leader with a deep knowledge of the Air Force and national security matters, and has long been a supporter of our armed services,” said AFA President Larry Spencer. “The Air Force Association congratulates her on her confirmation and we look forward to working with her on the Air Force’s top issues.”