The United States Senate on Wednesday confirmed Indian American Ravi Chaudhary as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Air Force, one of the top civilian leadership positions in the Pentagon.
The Senate voted 65-29 to confirm the former Air Force officer’s nomination with more than a dozen votes from the opposition Republican party.
Mr Chaudhary previously served as a Senior Executive at the US Department of Transportation where he was Director of Advanced Programs and Innovation, Office of Commercial Space at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
He was responsible for the execution of advanced development and research programs in support of the FAA’s commercial space transportation mission. While at the transportation department, he also served as the executive director of the regions and centre operations, where he looked over the integration and support of aviation operations in nine regions.
During his service in the US Air Force from 1993 to 2015, Chaudhary completed a variety of operational, engineering, and senior staff assignments. As a C-17 pilot, he conducted global flight operations, including numerous combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as ground deployment as the director of the personnel recovery centre at multi-national corps in Iraq.
As a flight test engineer, he was responsible for flight certification of military avionics and hardware for the force’s modernisation programs supporting flight safety.
Earlier in his career, he supported space launch operations for the global positioning system (GPS) and led third-stage and flight safety activities to ensure the full operational capability of the first GPS constellation.
As a systems engineer, Chaudhary supported NASA’s International Space Station protection activities to ensure the safety of NASA Astronauts. He also served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the Obama Administration. In this role, he advised the president on executive branch efforts to improve veterans’ support for the AAPI community.
Mr Chaudhary holds a Doctorate specialising in executive leadership and Innovation from the Georgetown University D.L.S. Program, an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from St. Mary’s University as a NASA graduate fellow, an M.A. in Operational Arts and Military Science from Air University, and a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and holds Department of Defense acquisition certifications in program management, test and evaluation, and systems engineering.