Senate confirms Frank Kendall to be Air Force Secretary
WASHINGTON — In a time when the U.S. Air Force is navigating new global challenges and wide-reaching modernization efforts, a new official with decades-long service in defense issues is now the in the top civilian job.
On Monday, Frank Kendall won confirmation from the Senate to be the 26th Secretary of the Air Force. The vote reflected both Kendall’s well-known record in previous active duty and policy jobs and his philosophy for leading the Department of the Air Force.
Kendall will be able to more fully articulate his priorities and policy preferences for how best to position the Air and Space Forces to contend with China, Russia and other strategic competitors, as well as continue to modernize the force and adapt to budget pressures.
“If confirmed, my priorities would be straightforward and mirror precisely those articulated by Secretary of Defense (Lloyd) Austin as they apply to the Department of the Air Force – taking care of our people, mission performance and building teams. Our military is people first and foremost,” Kendall told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing May 25.
“With regard to mission performance, I believe the range and severity of the threats that we face and will face, the rapid pace of technological innovation, and the need to rapidly harness that technology in new operational concepts demand a sense of urgency and a like focus on getting our choices right,” he said during that hearing.
Kendall also committed during his confirmation hearing that he would ensure the U.S. Space Force’s continued growth and evolution.
While the Senate’s action marks the first time Kendall will work directly within the Department of the Air Force, he is hardly unfamiliar with the mission, the Department of Defense, and national security. He previously served in a number of senior positions for the Department of Defense, including as the Pentagon’s No. 3 official for four years during the Obama administration.
Kendall assumes the seat occupied by John Roth, who has serviced as Acting Air Force Secretary since Jan. 20, 2021.