The Air Force’s second-highest ranking civilian, Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones, is stepping down from her role after a year and a half in the position.
Jones was appointed by President Joe Biden as the first openly lesbian woman to serve as the under secretary for any service branch, and she was officially confirmed by the Senate on July 22, 2021. She will be leaving her role on March 6, according to a Monday press release.
Jones, a member of the LGBTQ community, served under the military’s old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which allowed non-heterosexual service members to stay in the ranks if they remained closeted.
In her role as under secretary, Jones helped push a wide variety of reforms aimed at making life in uniform easier for women, minorities and parents.
This past September, Jones spearheaded a policy change that allowed pregnant service members and civilians to apply for Air Force Officer Training School, reversing the service’s previous rules that barred candidates from going through the program until 12 months postpartum.
Additionally, this past August, Jones helped set new demographic goals in hopes of getting more diverse applicants for the service’s officer corps, which has historically leaned toward white males.
Under those new goals, the Air Force and Space Force aim to have 36% of their officers be women, up from the previous target of 30% nearly a decade ago. . . . . (read more on Military.com)