The second woman to serve as Air Force secretary is endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president, saying the former vice president has the "moral compass, the intellect and humanity” she said the country needs in a president.
Deborah Lee James, who was Air Force secretary from 2013 until President Donald Trump took office in 2017, on Monday said that after working with Biden up close during the Obama administration, she believes the presumptive Democratic nominee "understands that America is strongest when its armed forces mirror the diversity of our country."
"As the former Secretary of the Air Force — then only the second female leader of a military department in American history — I saw firsthand Vice President Biden’s leadership through his dedication and commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Air Force," James said in a statement to Colorado Politics.
"Whether it involved a small group Oval Office conversation where we discussed how to ensure the safety of America’s nuclear weapons enterprise or watching him share individual, personal moments with nearly 1,000 cadets at the Air Force Academy’s commencement, Joe Biden has the moral compass, the intellect and humanity this country sorely needs in a president right now."
James, who delivered the 2015 commencement address at the Air Force Academy and was a frequent visitor to the Pikes Peak region, made headlines in 2015 when she called Russia the "biggest threat" to U.S. national security following a visit with NATO allies and called for the United States to increase its military presence in Europe.
She was scheduled to join U.S. Rep. Jason Crow and retired Air Force Major General Irv Halter, a former Democratic nominee in the 5th Congressional District, at 6 p.m. Monday for a virtual roundtable with Colorado veterans and military families. Members of the public can register for the discussion here.
In her endorsement announcement Monday, James said: “As Air Force Secretary, I was responsible for the Defense Department’s efforts to protect and defend our nation’s critical space assets and infrastructure, working closely with the dedicated women and men whose talent and creativity is required as we define this new domain. Owning the skies and winning in space means we’ll need to do even more to attract diverse talent from every demographic and region of this country, men and women who can handle ambiguity and make split-second decisions with life-or-death consequences.
"After three years leading the Air Force in the Obama-Biden administration, I know Joe Biden understands that America is strongest when its armed forces mirror the diversity of our country and when our country sees the best of itself reflected in our military."
James added that she hoped "all Americans, especially those who understand the value and sacrifice of service" would join her in voting for Biden.