President Donald Trump will name Heather Wilson, a former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico, to the position of secretary of the U.S. Air Force, the White House announced Monday.
Wilson, who served in Congress between 1998 and 2009, is currently president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. She served in the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War and also served on the National Security Council during the administration of George H.W. Bush.
"Heather Wilson is going to make an outstanding secretary of the Air Force," Trump said in a statement. "Her distinguished military service, high level of knowledge, and success in so many different fields gives me great confidence that she will lead our nation's Air Force with the greatest competence and integrity. Our debt to America's men and women in uniform is eternal. Their service is an inspiration to us all and we honor their service and sacrifice."
Wilson graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1982, and would be the first graduate of the academy to serve as secretary of the Air Force. She will need to be confirmed by Congress in order to serve in the post.
"America and our vital national interests continue to be threatened," Wilson said in a statement. "I will do my best, working with our men and women in the military, to strengthen American air and space power to keep the country safe."
Wilson unsuccessfully ran against current Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich in the 2012 New Mexico Senate race.
Deborah Lee James, a former Pentagon official during the Clinton administration, most recently served as Air Force secretary under the Obama administration.