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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James: Top 3 Tough Money Choices

Posted by Colin Clark on


FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: Deborah Lee James had been in office a very short time when she learned of a crisis in the Air Force’s nuclear force and had to hold her first press conference as the service’s top civilian to discuss cheating and drugs. A tough start to a new job.

She still faces a myriad of touch choices and did not leave them behind her even as she crossed the Atlantic Ocean to wave the flag for the F-35 fighter on its first foreign visit and to do those things senior Pentagon officials do at air shows.

Note her frank talk in the video above about closing bases and — Sen. Kelly Ayotte and friends take note — the retirement of the A-10 fleet when I ask her to list the top three toughest budget issues she faces as her department begins building the 2016 budget in earnest. Though she knows she faces stiff congressional opposition to both moves, James staunchly defends the necessity of both.

What do you think?