NGAUS Washington Report
(Dec. 23, 2013) The 23rd Secretary of the Air Force was formally sworn in Friday at the Pentagon.
Deborah James assumed the position of the Air Force’s civilian leader, making her the second female in Air Force history to serve in the role.
As James takes on her new duties, she said she knows there will be challenges, inheriting the service at a time filled with uncertainties, from the budget to management of the force.
“I think our Air Force is in great shape given that we’ve been living through some difficult times,” James said. “I’m enormously optimistic about the future of our Air Force. We have nothing but opportunities to face in the upcoming years.”
While James said she is confident the Air Force will prevail moving forward, she noted that the service’s manning will look different in the future.
“I’m equally certain that we will become a smaller Air Force; we will remain a capable Air Force with top notch people,” she said. “We’re going to remain No. 1.”
Before being nominated by President Barack Obama on Aug. 1, James was president of the Technology and Engineering Sector at Science Applications International Corporation.
She is no stranger to working with the National Guard and NGAUS, having served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs from 1993 to 1998 and as a professional staffer on the House Armed Services Committee from 1983 to 1993.
"Secretary James is well acquainted with the National Guard and its value to the nation," said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, the NGAUS president. "We enjoyed working with her in the past. We were thrilled were her selection as secretary and we look forward to working with her in the months and years ahead."