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New U.S. Air Force secretary says she has troops' backs

Jan. 25, 2014 at 1:24 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The new secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Deborah Lee James, said she would continue to look out for her troops during a trend toward shrinking budgets.

A ceremonial swearing-in for James took place at the Pentagon Friday where James said the "it takes a village" concept made famous by Hillary Clinton applied to the U.S. military as well.

"Our airmen form the foundation of all we do," said James. "Over the last few weeks, I have been able to look into the eyes of young airmen who stand sentinel for our country. I have heard the pride in their voices -- the pride they have in their profession and as members of the United States Air Force."

Defense Secretary Charles Hagel presided over Friday's ceremony. James was officially sworn in last month, the Air Force said in a written statement.

Hagel noted James had 30 years of experience at the Pentagon and on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee.

One of James' first official acts in recent weeks was a tour of U.S. nuclear missile bases where allegations of drug use and cheating on readiness tests led Hagel to order a full review of their combat readiness. "Restoring confidence in the nuclear mission will be a top priority," he said.

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