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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) — Christine Fox, who was named acting deputy secretary of Defense Tuesday, has extensive experience in defense budgeting, which will be a crucial skill in her new job.

But what is getting the most buzz about her appointment is something that probably doesn't appear on her résumé. She was the inspiration for the character played by Kelly McGillis in the movieTop Gun.

Fox will replace Ashton Carter, who is leaving the Pentagon this week, until a permanent replacement is found.

Until recently Fox served as the Pentagon's director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation and headed the department's efforts to overhaul defense spending.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described her as "a brilliant defense thinker and proven manager."

"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," Hagel said in a statement.

In the 1980s she was assigned as a civilian to the Fighter Weapons School at Miramar, known as Top Gun.

According to a 1985 profile in People magazine, her job there involved helping develop tactics for defending aircraft carriers.

It should come as a surprise to no one that Hollywood took a lot of liberties with the character.

"The fact that I know so much about what these guys are doing every day and they come in and talk to me about it — why is my radar doing this? — changes the relationship," she told the magazine. "It takes some of the romance out."

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