Deborah Lee James

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Deborah Lee James
Deborah Lee James.JPG
23rd Secretary of the Air Force
Assumed office
December 20, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Eric Fanning, Acting
Personal details
Born New Jersey

Deborah Lee James (born 1958) is the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force. James has 30 years of senior homeland and national security experience in the U.S. federal government and the private sector. Prior to be named Secretary of the Air Force, she served as President of Science Applications International Corporation's Technical and Engineering Sector, where she was responsible for 8,700 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue. James is the second woman (after Sheila Widnall 1993-1997) appointed to be the Secretary of the Air Force.

Early life[edit]

James was born in New Jersey. She earned her B.A. (1979) in Comparative Area Studies from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. She later earned her Masters Degree (1981) in International Affairs from Columbia University in New York City.

Secretary of the Air Force[edit]

James' first days in office saw her dealing with a service that was reeling from the impact of Budget sequestration in 2013, continued troubles with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, and a drug and cheating scandal with the LGM-30 Minuteman force.[1][2][3] James has cited USAF inattention to the nuclear mission, to the point of using a simple test score as "a top differentiator, if not the sole differentiator on who gets promoted".[4]

In 2014 she said that she expected the Force to downsize, but "remain highly capable and on the cutting edge of technology".[5][6][7]



  1. ^ Babbin, Jed (3 February 2014). "Debbie Does USAF". The American Spectator. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "More nuke officers implicated in test cheating scandal". CBS Interactive Inc. January 30, 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Helene Cooper, NY Times, "For New Air Force Secretary, a Baptism by Fire"
  4. ^ Kori Schake, Foreign Policy, "Finally, The Leader The Air Force Deserves Has Arrived"
  5. ^ MEHTA, AARON (3 February 2014). "USAF Leaders Hint at Platforms, Personnel Cuts". Gannett Government Media. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Robert Siegel,, Discipline Promised for the Dozens of Cheating Missileers, 31 Mar 14
  7. ^ Senior Airman Alexander Riedel, Air Force News, Trial by fire, SecAF marks first 100 days in office, 22 Apr 14
  8. ^ "An Interview with The Honorable Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force". Strategic Studies Quarterly. Air University. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Eric Fanning, acting
Secretary of the Air Force
2013 - present
Succeeded by