First Indian American to hold a top civilian leadership position in the Pentagon
A former Indian American US Air Force officer, Ravi Chaudhary has been confirmed 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 Wednesday to confirm the son of immigrant parents from India with more than a dozen Republicans joining the Democrats in a bipartisan vote.
Read: Indian American Ravi Chaudhary named Air Force Assistant Secretary (December 7, 2021)
As Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations, and the Environment, Chaudhary will be responsible for the Air Force’s sustainability and operational readiness, including installations and basing strategy, as well as ensuring the quality of military housing.
Chaudhary will be the first Asian American to serve as an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar noted in a statement welcoming the Minneapolis native’ confirmation.
“Growing up as the son of immigrant parents in Minnesota, Dr. Ravi Chaudhary dreamed of serving our country as an Air Force pilot. From his more than two decades of service as an active duty Air Force officer to his tenure at the Federal Aviation Administration, Dr. Chaudhary has dedicated his career to public service,” said Klobuchar.
“I fought to advance his nomination through the Senate because I am confident that Dr. Chaudhary has the qualifications and experience needed for this critical role,” she stated. “Now that he has been confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with him to support the men and women of the Air Force.”
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, Chaudhary 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.
Chaudhary holds a Doctorate specializing in executive leadership and Innovation from the Georgetown University DLS Program, an MS in Industrial Engineering from St Mary’s University as a NASA graduate fellow, an MA in Operational Arts and Military Science from Air University, and a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the US Air Force Academy.