Former Air Force Officer Ravi Chaudhary is Confirmed as Assistant Secretary of Defense With Bipartisan Support
- The Indian American takes over a massive portfolio spanning Air Force and Space Force installations worldwide.
The U.S. Senate has confirmed Indian American Ravi Chaudhary as Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Air Force for Installations, Energy and the Environment. The Senate voted 65-29 on March 15 to confirm the former Air Force officer’s nomination with more than a dozen votes from Republican senators. He becomes the first Asian American to serve in one of the top civilian leadership positions in the Pentagon.
As reported by the Air Force Times, Chaudhary takes over “a massive portfolio spanning Air Force and Space Force installations worldwide as the service grapples with the effects of deferred maintenance and climate change.” Additionally, he has “a key role in managing the privatized housing used by airmen and guardians and reforms to how the military does business with those landlords,” the Air Force Times added.
He replaces Jennifer L. Miller, who had been the acting secretary since 2021. Previously, John W. Henderson served in the position under President Donald Trump from 2018 to 2021.
A former Air Force flight test engineer and pilot, the Minnesota native previously served as a senior executive at the U.S. Department of Transportation where he was Director of Advanced Programs and Innovation, Office of Commercial Space, at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In this role, “Chaudhary was responsible for the execution of advanced development and research programs in support of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation mission,” according to a White House press release. While at DOT, he also served as the executive director of Regions and Center Operations.
He also served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the Obama Administration. In that role, he advised the president and the executive branch on efforts to improve veterans’ support for the AAPI community.
He served in the Air Force on active duty from 1993 to 2015. He has completed a variety of operational, engineering, and senior staff assignments in the Air Force. As a C-17 pilot, he conducted global flight operations, including numerous combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. During his posting in Iraq, Chaudhary was in charge of ground deployment as director of the Personnel Recovery Center, Multi-National Corps.
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, he supported NASA’s International Space Station protection activities to ensure the safety of NASA Astronauts.
Chaudhary holds a doctorate specializing in Executive Leadership and Innovation from 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 DOD acquisition certifications in program management, test and evaluation, and systems engineering. He lives with his wife Uma, and their two children in Virginia.