Trump to Nominate Former Aerospace Corporation Chairwoman for USAF Secretary

Barbara Barrett

President Donald Trump tweeted today that he planned to nominate former Aerospace Corporation Chairwoman Barbara Barrett to replace Heather Wilson as U.S. Air Force secretary.

Barrett, 68, is a businesswoman , politician and former diplomat. Her business career includes serving as:  the founding chairwoman of Valley Bank of Arizona; a partner in a Phoenix law firm; and as executives in two Fortune 500 companies.

In 1994, she ran unsuccessfully for governor of Arizona as a Republican. Barrett served as U.S. ambassador to Finland in 2008-09 under President George W. Bush. She also served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

Barrett was the first civilian female to land in an F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter on an aircraft carrier. She trained in Russia as an astronaut and was the backup to Canadian space tourist Guy Laliberte for the Soyuz TM-16 flight to the International Space Station in 2009.

Barrett also served as deputty administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and as vice chairwoman of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board.

  • Lee

    So she apparently got “invited” by an admiral to qualify in the F/A-18 and land one on the Nimitz when she was an advisor to SecDef and CJCS on women flying in combat aircraft. What??? How does that happen? She was never a military, let alone naval, aviator… Am I the only person that finds this hard, nearly impossible, to believe?

  • Tom Billings

    The military is a hierarchy that *must* participate in the politics that shapes its authorizations and its funding, or starve. Why does this particular participation in those politics surprise you?

  • Lee

    Because I can think of no other case when the Navy allowed a civilian non-test pilot land a high performance jet on a carrier. It’s not like she just had to transition from a Cessna 172 to a 182. Naval Aviators spend a few years learning to land on the boat. Training almost every day. I somehow doubt she put that kind of time into it.

    My guess is that they taught her enough to get in the slot, then had her flip on the ACLS for an automagic landing, on a super calm day. At least to me, claiming that you “landed an F/A-18 on the Nimitz” when all you did was let the computers fly you to the deck, while the IP sat in back in case anything went wrong, is a LONNNNGGG way from “landing an F/A-18 on the Nimitz”.

  • Tom Billings

    “At least to me, claiming that you “landed an F/A-18 on the Nimitz” when
    all you did was let the computers fly you to the deck, while the IP sat
    in back in case anything went wrong, is a LONNNNGGG way from “landing an
    F/A-18 on the Nimitz”.”

    That sounds about right to me as well. But that is reality, and politics is mostly theater. This was a political operation.