WASHINGTON: The nation’s spy satellite agency, the NRO, is likely to get closer scrutiny under the presumptive Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson, a disciplined former National Security Council staffer and member of Congress.
I interviewed Wilson a number of times while she was on the Hill and was always impressed with her command of the facts, her commitment to doing the best job she could on national security issues, and her calm demeanor.
Wilson, a Rhodes Scholar, is unlikely to have much time for policies that do not align with facts, physics and the realities of power.
She was chairman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical Intelligence (now known as the DoD intelligence and overhead architecture subcommittee) where she oversaw the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Coming from her district in New Mexico, Wilson paid close attention to the nation’s nuclear weapons complexes and high technology from the national labs.
As Air Force Secretary, it’s likely Wilson — presuming she doesn’t run into any Senatorial roadblocks — will serve as Principal DoD Space Advisor (PDSA) to help coordinate space policy for both black (classified) and white (unclassified) space. Formerly known as the executive agent for space — a position that grew tarnished by time and a legion of acquisition missteps during the late 1990s — she will chair the Defense Space Council of the four services and the Joint Staff.
Expect Wilson to pour her heart and soul into those issues, as well as into the Big Three of the Force, as the F-35A, the KC-46 tanker and the B-21 bomber are known. She’s canny enough to know what can be done to actually lower costs on the F-35 and to fight for a facts-based approach to the Joint Strike Fighter program.
FYI — Trump met today with Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and a host of other American industry leaders to discuss technology and the economy. Sean Spicer, White House spokesman, said the group will meet quarterly.
“I was encouraged by the President’s commitment to reduce barriers to job creation, including targeted regulatory reform and long term budget planning,” Hewson said in a statement, which also indicated Trump discussed ending defense sequestration.
“We support the President’s efforts to end the defense sequester, so that our military can invest in the equipment and technology they need to defend our nation and protect our interests. Ending these budget restrictions will allow industry to plan, invest and hire for the long term,” she said in the statement.