Frank Kendall III, Secretary of the Air Force

Frank Kendall III

Secretary of the Air Force

Frank Kendall III was born in January 1949 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  He earned an undergraduate degree from the U.S. Military Academy, an MS from the California Institute of Technology, an MBA from Long Island University, and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. He served in the U.S. Army and was a lieutenant colonel when he took retirement from the Army Reserve. 

His Army assignments included posting to Germany and teaching engineering at West Point. He joined the civil service working as a systems engineer in missile defense. 

President Barack Obama appointed him to serve as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, a position he held for six years. In July 2021, he was named Secretary of the Air Force by President Joe Biden. He was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in August 2021. 

In the News…

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall appeared before the House Appropriations Committee defending his service branch’s budget requests. He told lawmakers that China’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal is the most “disturbing” development he has seen in his decades-long career. 

“For decades, they were quite comfortable with an arsenal of a few hundred nuclear weapons, which was fairly clearly a second-strike capability to act as a deterrent,” Secretary Kendall stated. “That expansion that they’re undertaking puts us into a new world that we’ve never lived in before, where you have three powers — three great powers, essentially — with large arsenals of nuclear weapons.” 

He said, “Russia’s latest move on the New START treaty is not helping — it’s going in the wrong direction. Nobody wants a nuclear war. We do not want to go back to [the Cold War] world of 30 years ago. I thought we would never be in this position again, and here we are. So, we need to be wise. We really need to start talking to them.” 

War with China is far from inevitable, he told lawmakers, emphasizing that staying ahead of their military capability was the key to deterrence. 


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