Noem applauds nomination of Heather Wilson for Air Force Secretary

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WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump nominated Heather Wilson, an Air Force veteran and former US representative from New Mexico, to fill the Air Force's top civilian post, a move that comes as Secretary of Defense James Mattis appoints his staff at the Pentagon.

"Time and again, Heather Wilson has answered her country's call and inspired those around her to always aim higher", said Noem in a press release.

She is a graduate of the U.S. Air Forces Academy, a Rhodes Scholar and a former Air Force Captain.

While in the Congress, she was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chaired the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence.

"America and our vital national interests continue to be threatened", Wilson said.

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According to a statement from the Trump administration, Wilson graduated from the Academy in 1982, and served in Europe.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wilson would inherit the post from newly departed Secretary Deborah Lee James. She was seen as a staunch conservative but occasionally broke with her party, such as by criticizing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2004 about the damage caused by the Abu Ghraib scandal, in which USA soldiers were depicted abusing inmates at the Iraqi prison.

Wilson earned her bachelor of science degree from the Air Force Academy in the third class to include women.

According to her House biography, Wilson left the Air Force in 1989 to join the National Security Council as its director for European defense policy and arms control. Pete Domenici's seat in 2008, but lost the Republican primary and retired from the House when the 110th Congress concluded.