Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force

Barbara Barrett

Secretary of the Air Force

Barbara McConnell Barrett was born in December 1950 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. She earned a B.S. in liberal arts, a Master of Public Administration in international business, and a Juris Doctor at Arizona State University.

She was founding chairperson of Valley Bank of Arizona and a law partner in a Phoenix firm. Before the age of 30, she was an executive of two global Fortune 500 companies. She was active in civic affairs, and served on numerous boards of directors.  She is the owner and CEO of a guest ranch.

She made an unsuccessful run for Governor of Arizona. Later she was appointed ambassador to Finland under President George W. Bush. She was a senior advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Barrett served as chairman of the State Department’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group, U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Export Conference.

She was nominated to be Secretary of the Air Force by President Donald Trump, confirmed by an 85-7 vote in the Senate, and was sworn in in October 2019.

She is married to Craig Barrett. She is an instrument-rated pilot and was the first civilian woman to land an F/A-18 Hornet on an aircraft carrier.

In the News…

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, and a number of other top brass, came together to witness the advances in electric vertical takeoff and landing flight. The demonstration was presented by a Texas-based small business contract recipient, as one of the first companies to join the Agility Prime “Race to Certification.”

“Agility Prime is a program with a vision of world impact,” Secretary Barrett said during the program’s launch in April. “The thought of an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle—a flying car—might seem straight out of a Hollywood movie, but by partnering today with stakeholders across industries and agencies, we can set up the United States for this aerospace phenomenon.”


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