Air Force No. 2 civilian to take over as acting secretary

Air Force No. 2 civilian to take over as acting secretary
© Getty

Air Force Under Secretary Matt Donovan will take over as the service's acting secretary beginning June 1, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Donovan will stand in for Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, set to step down on May 31 to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso.

ADVERTISEMENT

"In her two years as secretary, Heather defined the Air Force the nation needs and made incredible progress in implementing the strategy to get us there," Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation Iran slams US troop deployment: 'Extremely dangerous' for Middle East peace Overnight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess MORE said in a statement. "It is fitting that a key member of her leadership team will assume her role to keep the momentum going. Matt will do a fantastic job."

Wilson, an Air Force veteran and former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico, stepped into the secretary role in May 2017. She announced in March that she would leave for the University of Texas at El Paso. Her departure followed reports that her relationship with President Trump had soured amid the debate over his desire to establish a stand alone "Space Force."

Donovan, who was confirmed as Air Force under secretary in August 2017, breezed through his confirmation process.

The former F-15 pilot was previously a policy director for the Senate Armed Services Committee under its former chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), who died last year.