US Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

Senate confirms Heather Wilson as Trump's Air Force secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's pick for Air Force secretary was on track for Senate confirmation on Monday. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Richard Blumenthal of CT made a point to register disapproval of Wilson's work for Sandia Corp., a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. that runs Sandia National Laboratories, after she served in Congress.

Between 1998 and 2009, she served on different House committees such as the lower chamber's Armed Services, Intelligence and Energy and Commerce committees.

On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee will consider the nominations of David Norquist to be defense undersecretary/comptroller; Robert Daigle to be director of cost assessment and program evaluation at the Defense Department and Elaine McCusker to be principal deputy defense undersecretary/comptroller. The Defense Department leadership remains staffed by Obama administration holdovers or civil servants on an acting basis. Wilson said she did nothing improper.

Trump's choices for secretaries of the Army and Navy have been forced to withdraw from consideration.

Trump's first selection for U.S. Navy secretary withdrew his name because of possible conflicts of interest with financial entanglements, as did Trump's first U.S. Army secretary pick.

She was appointed to the National Security Council in 1989 under former President George H.W. Bush and after an intermediate period in the private sector, she was elected to the House of Representatives. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned her about past consulting work for government nuclear labs.

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Wilson had previously mentioned once confirmed, she would resign from her post as president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

She collected almost half a million dollars in questionable payments from federally funded nuclear labs, the Energy Department's inspector general said in a 2013 report.

According to the Air Force website, Wilson served as an officer in Europe during the Cold War, and graduated from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

During her March 30 confirmation hearing before SASC, she said she was looking forward to serving in that position, however.

In 2013, the DOE inspector general found Sandia paid Wilson's consulting company $464,000 from 2009 to 2011 with no evidence of work. Sandia and Wilson have denied any prohibited lobbying occurred. She would be would be the first Air Force Academy graduate to serve as Air Force secretary if confirmed by the Senate.

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