Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew P. Donovan is set to become acting secretary of the Air Force on June 1 when Secretary Heather Wilson resigns to become the president of the University of Texas at El Paso.
“In her two years as secretary, Heather defined the Air Force the nation needs and made incredible progress in implementing the strategy to get us there,” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said. “It is fitting that a key member of her leadership team will assume her role to keep the momentum going. Matt will do a fantastic job.”
Donovan is currently responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of approximately 685,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families, world-wide. He oversees the Air Force’s annual budget of over $190 billion and directs strategy and policy development, risk management, weapons acquisition, technology investments and human resource management across a global enterprise. As the Under Secretary, he is responsible for implementing decisions of the President and Congress, and fulfilling Combatant Commanders’ current and future operational requirements.
Donovan enlisted in the Air Force in 1977 and received his commission through the Air Force Officer Training School in January 1982. While on active duty, he gained an extensive background in Air Force operations, commanded a fighter squadron and the Air Force Officer Training School, held a variety of operational flying and staff assignments at the wing, major command and joint and combined staff levels, and was an Air Combat Command F-15C demonstration pilot. Donovan is a graduate of the Air Force School of Advanced Airpower Studies and the Army Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship. He was a command pilot with more than 2,900 flight hours in the F-15C Eagle and F-5E Tiger II, including combat sorties during Operation Southern Watch.
Donovan retired from active duty as a colonel in 2008 and became a senior defense policy analyst in the defense industry. He then transitioned to government civil service, culminating as director of staff, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. Following this assignment, Donovan transitioned to legislative affairs as a professional staff member for the Senate Armed Services Committee. As a professional staff member, he managed all matters for the Committee related to Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps fixed wing aircraft, manned and unmanned tactical aviation programs, and Air Force bomber, mobility and special mission aircraft, as well as research and development, aircraft procurement and sustainment programs. Most recently, Donovan served as Majority Policy Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee.