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Senate committee approves secretary nominees for Air Force, Navy

By Ed Adamczyk
Senate committee approves secretary nominees for Air Force, Navy
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee approved the nomination of Barbara Barrett, pictured, as new Secretary of the Air Force, and of Ryan McCarthy as Secretary of the Army. Photo by Wayne Clark/U.S. Air Force

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Senate Armed Services Committee approved President Donald Trump's Air Force and Army secretary nominations on Wednesday.

By voice vote, the Senate advanced Barbara Barrett's nomination as Air Force secretary, and that of Ryan McCarthy to be Army secretary. The process, involving testimony from the nominees and the committee vote, took less than a week.

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In a statement, McCarthy, the current Acting Secretary of the Army, concentrated on pursuing the Army's 24-month plan of modernization, and on protections for Army members and their families.

The Army Secretary position has been vacant since July, when Mark Esper was confirmed to lead the Department of Defense. McCarthy has served as Undersecretary of the Army since 2017.

In her testimony, Barrett called the proposed Space Force "a key imperative. I believe we need the Space Force, in fact. In my opinion, a domain-specific service to organize, train, and equip space forces is overdue."

Former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson resigned in May after disagreeing with Trump on his Space Force proposal. She is now president of the University of Texas at El Paso.

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Barrett is formerly chairwoman of the federally funded Aerospace Corporation, deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Ambassador to Finland.

The full Senate will vote whether to approve the nominations.

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