Deborah Lee James confirmed as next Air Force Secretary

WASHINGTON — On Friday morning, the Senate confirmed Deborah Lee James to be the next Secretary of the Air Force by a vote of 79-6. James will be the second woman to have served as Air Force Secretary.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called James this morning to congratulate her, Defense Department Assistant Press Secretary Carl Woog said.

Prior to her confirmation, James was Sector President at the Science Applications International Corporation, a major U.S. defense contractor. There she oversaw, among other things, the efforts of employees who perform network integration, emerging IT solutions and managed services, and training and simulation for U.S. government and other customers, according to her SAIC profile.

James has worked in the defense industry for the past 15 years. Before joining SAIC in 2004, she was an executive at Business Executives for National Security, which she came to after working for United Technologies.

From 1993 to 1998, she served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. Prior to that, she was a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee from 1983 to 1993, according to DOD.

She also served on DOD’s Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

She will take over for Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, who assumed that position after former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley retired in June.

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