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(SD)- S.D. Mines President Confirmed as Sec of the Air Force

By: John Axtell Posted at: 05/08/2017 11:54 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - The U-S Senate has confirmed South Dakota School of Mines President Heather Wilson as Secretary of the Air Force. The 76-22 vote makes the former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico the first graduate of the Air Force Academy to hold the service's top civilian post. She said ahead of the vote that she would resign as president of the school but hasn't given a timeline.

      Wilson is President Trump's first service secretary nominee to be approved by the GOP-led Senate. His choices for secretaries of the Army and Navy were both forced to withdraw from consideration and his second choice for the Army stepped aside late last week amid growing criticism over his remarks about Muslims as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

     The 56-year old Wilson was part of the third class at the Air Force Academy that included women and she went on to become the first female cadet to command basic training and become Vice Wing Commander. She was also a Rhoades Scholar.

     During her 7 years as an Air Force officer, Wilson was a negotiator and political adviser for the Air Force in England, and a defense planning officer for NATO in Belgium, where her work included arms control negotiations.

     During that time, she also wrote the book International Law and the Use of Force by National Liberation Movements, which won the 1988 Paul Reuter Prize...given by the International Committee of the Red Cross for a major work in the sphere of international humanitarian law.

      Wilson left the Air Force in 1989 to become part of the National Security Council Staff for 2 years, then founded a company to promote business development in the United States and Russia. She had faced scrutiny from several Democrats at her confirmation hearing over her work as a consultant in the defense industry.

     Wilson was appointed head of the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth, and Families in 1995...serving until winning a special election to Congress in 1998 to become the first Republican woman to represent New Mexico and the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress. She went on to serve 5 full terms before making an unsuccessful run for the U-S Senate.


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