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James confirmed as Air Force secretary

Deborah Lee James

The Senate on Dec. 13 confirmed Deborah Lee James as Air Force secretary on a vote of 79-6, nearly three months after her confirmation hearing. President Barack Obama nominated her to the position Aug. 1.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) had blocked a vote on James' confirmation pending a request for further information about the Air Force's A-10 aircraft program. Ayotte lifted her hold in October.

New Senate rules make it much more difficult for lawmakers to indefinitely stall executive branch and judicial nominees, and James is the latest in a string of picks who have been ushered through since the change went into effect Nov. 21.

"On behalf of the more than 690,000 men and women of the U.S. Air Force, I want to welcome Secretary James to our Air Force family," Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in a Dec. 13 statement. "I'm confident that she'll lead us with the same vision and passion she's shown throughout her public service and private sector leadership, building on the extraordinary accomplishments of our Acting Secretary Eric Fanning, who has magnificently led our Air Force these last few months."

James reportedly has been moving forward with getting ready for the job while she awaited confirmation. In late August she surfaced at the Pentagon and was said to be undergoing preparations for the confirmation hearing.

At that point, a Pentagon spokeswoman said James was still employed as president of the technology and engineering sector at Science Applications International Corporation.

Posted by Amber Corrin on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:17 AM


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