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Air Force Secretary Barrett to resign post prior to change in administration

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett addresses basic military training graduates, Dec. 10, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Barrett will step down from her post effective Jan. 19, 2021, a day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

ROBERT H. DABBS/U.S. AIR FORCE

By BRIAN FERGUSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 12, 2021

Note: This article has been corrected.

The Air Force will soon bid farewell to its 25th service secretary, who also served as the first civilian leader of the newly formed Space Force.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett is slated to resign effective Jan. 20, a service spokeswoman said.

The departure by Barrett, who has served in her role since October 2019, will come the day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Barrett will be honored at a ceremony Thursday in Washington, along with departing assistant secretaries Shon J. Manasco, John R. Roth, Thomas E. Ayres, William B. Roper Jr. and John W. Henderson.

The event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is scheduled to stream live on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website, beginning at 10 a.m. local time.

Barrett, the fourth female Air Force secretary, was an early advocate for Space Force, which does not have its own service secretary.

“I believe we need the Space Force … a domain-specific service to organize, train, and equip space forces is overdue,” Barrett said during her confirmation hearing in September 2019. “Most Americans use space before their first cup of coffee in the morning.”

The Biden transition team has not announced its pick to replace Barrett. The Air Force does not yet have a list of acting officials to fill the senior positions that will open, an Air Force spokeswoman told Air Force Magazine.

Service secretaries often change with presidential administrations. President Donald Trump nominated Heather Wilson as Air Force secretary soon after taking office in 2017. Barrett replaced Wilson, who resigned in March 2019 to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso.

Barrett also served as a U.S. ambassador to Finland under the George W. Bush administration in 2008 and early 2009.

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Twitter: @BrianFerg57

Correction: An earlier version of this story listed the incorrect date that Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett is slated to resign. She will resign effective Jan. 20.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett speaks to an Airman from the 31st Fighter Wing before she departs Aviano Air Base, Italy, Dec. 23, 2020. Barrett will step down from her post effective Jan. 19, 2021, a day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
ERICKA A. WOOLEVER/U.S. AIR FORCE