"Simpson's nomination was forwarded through to President Obama by a gay activist group, making it appear that this appointment of a male-to-female 'transgender' activist to a high level Commerce Department position to be payback to his far-left base for their political support," Monica Schleicher, spokeswoman for Christian group Focus on the Family, said in statement.
"Efforts to promote 'transgenderism' in public policy deconstruct one of the most fundamental concepts known to mankind. It renders gender, the most basic organization of social systems, completely meaningless. In doing so, activists like Simpson are asking the rest of society to radically reorder the ways in which the culture makes reasonable and rational accommodation for the two genders," she said.
Simpson, divorced with a 15-year-old son, began her transition from male to female in 2000.
A former test pilot, Simpson worked in the aerospace and defense industries for 30 years, mostly at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz. She holds degrees in physics, engineering, and business.
Simpson told ABCNews.com that much of her work will involve "licensing and enforcement for exports" of military technology.
In 2004, she was named by the YWCA as one of their "Women on the Move," and in the same year, she won the Democratic nomination to the Arizona state House of Representatives. She lost in the general election.