Wednesday 13 December 2017

Top Gun inspiration becomes most powerful woman at The Pentagon

Kelly McGillis in Top Gun and Christine Fox, who has become acting US deputy secretary of defence
Kelly McGillis in Top Gun and Christine Fox, who has become acting US deputy secretary of defence

Christine Fox, the inspiration behind the character played by Kelly McGillis in Top Gun, has become the first woman appointed to the Pentagon's No 2 job.

President Barack Obama named Ms Fox, the former chief programme and budget analyst with the department of defence, to serve as the agency's acting deputy secretary, while the US searches for a permanent replacement for Ashton Carter.

Chuck Hagel, Ms Fox's boss as the defence secretary, hailed her as "a brilliant defence thinker and proven manager."

"She helped identify the challenges, choices, and opportunities for reform facing the department during this period of unprecedented budget uncertainty," Mr Hagel said. "She will be able to help me shape our priorities from Day One because she knows the intricacies of the department's budget, programs and global operations better than anyone."

Ms Fox is perhaps best known for serving as the basis of Tom Cruise's love interest in the 1986 film.

A People Magazine story published shortly before the film was released claimed that Ms Fox, then a mathematician at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, was introduced to producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Following their meeting, the duo came up with the character of Charlie, an astrophysicist who instructs Cruise's Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell and the other Top Gun pilots.

The People profile said: "High heels in the hallway. Softer than a sonic boom, less penetrating than an F-14 afterburner, the footsteps of 6' Christine Fox, 30, nevertheless carry the impact of a pre-emptive strike."

The film made more than $353 million at the worldwide box office and has developed a cult following.

Earlier this year, Ms Fox criticised the automatic budget cuts that were due to hit the Pentagon.

"There needs to be a serious national dialogue on what a sensible, sustainable and strategically sound defence budget looks like," she wrote in Defense News.

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