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Trump picks Barbara Barrett to be next Air Force secretary

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Fox News Flash top headlines for May 21

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President Trump on Tuesday announced his intention to nominate Barbara Barrett, a former chairwoman of the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation and an Arizona business executive, to be the next secretary of the Air Force.

Trump tweeted out his choice of Barrett, 68, to serve as the military branch’s 25th secretary.

“She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin,” he tweeted.

If confirmed by the Senate, Barrett will succeed Secretary Heather Wilson, who is leaving at the end of the month to be president of the University of Texas at El Paso. Wilson frequently butted heads with the White House — and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan — over Trump’s desire to create a Space Force as a sixth branch of the military.

Former President Jimmy Carter accepts the O'Connor Justice Prize from the former U.S. ambassador to Finland, Barbara Barrett, in 2017. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Former President Jimmy Carter accepts the O’Connor Justice Prize from the former U.S. ambassador to Finland, Barbara Barrett, in 2017. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

“Great choice by @realDonaldTrump Ambassador Barrett is an accomplished leader with a heart for service,” Wilson tweeted in response to Trump’s announcement.

Republican Arizona Sen. Martha McSally praised Barrett’s nomination, saying her knowledge and expertise would “lead our Air Force into the future during a time of increased global threats.”

“I have confidence that Ambassador Barrett will lead the way in maintaining air and space dominance and continue to build upon the initiatives, leadership and example set forth by Secretary Heather Wilson,” McSally said in a news release.

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Barrett was previously nominated to be Air Force secretary by President George W. Bush, but withdrew her name and was never confirmed. She later served under Bush as ambassador to Finland. She also served as the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and worked with the RAND Corporation and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In 2009, she trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and Kazakhstan, and is certified for space travel, the Air Force Times reported.