U.S. Air Force Secretary to Depart Trump Administration to Become College President

March 8, 2019, 8:13 PM UTC

U.S. Air Force Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson said she will leave the Trump administration on May 31 to become president of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).

“It has been a privilege to serve with our #Airmen,” Wilson tweeted Friday. “I am proud of the progress we have made to restore the readiness & lethality of #USAF.”

Wilson heads President Donald Trump’s Space Force initiative, which, in its original form, was estimated to cost $12.9 billion. The ballooning price tag and disagreements with Pentagon officials led Trump to delegate Space Force as a subsidiary of the Air Force—as opposed to a sixth military branch—last month.

Wilson will remain in her position until the end of May, which “should allow sufficient time for a smooth transition and ensure effective advocacy during upcoming Congressional hearings,” she said in her resignation letter, according to the Washington Post.

As she departs the Trump Administration, Wilson will return to academia at UTEP, where she was the sole finalist for president. Prior to becoming air force secretary in 2017, Wilson was the first female president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

She’s also worked extensively in the private sector, served as a congressional representative for New Mexico from 1998 to 2009, and ran an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2012.

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