WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 20: Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), speaks with Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, during a news conference on the FISA surveillance bill mark-up at the U.S. Capitol September 20, 2006 in Washington, DC. If the act expires it would repeal the requirement in current law that all national security surveillance conducted domestically be overseen by the courts.

Story highlights

The new Air Force secretary was confirmed with 76 votes in favor and 22 against

This is only the second Senate-confirmed position at the Pentagon since Trump took office

CNN  — 

Heather Wilson, President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of the Air Force, was confirmed by the Senate Monday with 76 votes in favor and 22 against.

Wilson is the first service secretary to be confirmed in the Trump administration and is only the second Senate-confirmed position at the Pentagon since he took office, with the other being Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Wilson is a 1982 graduate of the US Air Force Academy, a Rhodes Scholar and a former member of Congress, representing New Mexico from 1998 to 2009.

During her confirmation hearings, Wilson said she plans to address the Air Force’s pilot shortage as well as seek additional funding for the service’s modernization efforts.

Her bipartisan confirmation is likely to be welcome news for the Trump White House, which has struggled to fill some of the Pentagon’s top posts more than 100 days after inauguration.

There are a total of 57 presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed positions at the Department of Defense.

Trump’s pick for secretary of the Army, Mark Green, was forced to withdraw his name from consideration Friday following the controversy surrounding his past remarks on LGBT issues, Islam and evolution.

Vincent Viola, Trump’s initial pick for Army Secretary, previously withdrew over issues related to divesting from his financial holdings, and Philip Bilden, Trump’s pick for the post, also withdrew because he was not able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics’ requirements for divestment without “undue disruption” of his assets.