United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

The United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs is the head of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the department concerned with veterans' benefits, health care, and national veterans' memorials and cemeteries. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and second to last at sixteenth in the line of succession to the presidency (the position was last until the addition of the United States Department of Homeland Security in 2006[2]). Until the appointment of David Shulkin in 2017, all appointees and acting appointees to the post were United States military veterans, but that is not a requirement to fill the position.

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Seal of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.svg
Seal of the Department
Flag of the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.svg
Flag of the Secretary
Robert Wilkie official portrait (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Robert Wilkie

since July 30, 2018
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
StyleMr. Secretary
(informal)
The Honorable
(formal)
Member ofCabinet
Reports toPresident of the United States
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
Constituting instrument38 U.S.C. § 303
FormationMarch 15, 1989
First holderEd Derwinski
SuccessionSeventeenth[1]
DeputyDeputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level I
WebsiteVA.gov

When the post of Secretary is vacant, the United States Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs[3] or any other person designated by the President serves as Acting Secretary[3] until the President nominates and the United States Senate confirms a new Secretary.

On December 10, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would be nominating former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough as the 11th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

List of Secretaries of Veterans AffairsEdit

Parties

  No party (2)   Democratic (2)   Republican (6)

Status
  Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  Nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs
No. Secretary Term of office President(s)
Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office Term length
1   Ed Derwinski Illinois March 15, 1989 September 26, 1992 3 years, 195 days George H. W. Bush
  Anthony Principi[1]
Acting
California September 26, 1992 January 20, 1993 116 days
2   Jesse Brown Illinois January 22, 1993 July 1, 1997 4 years, 160 days Bill Clinton
  Hershel W. Gober[2]
Acting
Arkansas July 1, 1997 January 2, 1998 185 days
3   Togo D. West Jr. District of Columbia January 2, 1998[3] May 5, 1998 123 days
May 5, 1998 July 25, 2000 2 years, 81 days
  Hershel W. Gober[2]
Acting
Arkansas July 25, 2000 January 20, 2001 179 days
4   Anthony Principi California January 23, 2001 January 26, 2005 4 years, 3 days George W. Bush
5   Jim Nicholson Colorado January 26, 2005 October 1, 2007 2 years, 248 days
  Gordon H. Mansfield[4]
Acting
Florida October 1, 2007 December 20, 2007 80 days
6   James Peake District of Columbia December 20, 2007 January 20, 2009 1 year, 31 days
7   Eric Shinseki Hawaii January 20, 2009 May 30, 2014 5 years, 130 days Barack Obama
  Sloan D. Gibson
Acting
Alabama May 30, 2014 July 30, 2014 61 days
8   Bob McDonald Ohio July 30, 2014 January 20, 2017 2 years, 174 days
  Robert Snyder
Acting
West Virginia January 20, 2017 February 14, 2017 25 days Donald Trump
9   David Shulkin Pennsylvania February 14, 2017 March 28, 2018 1 year, 42 days
  Robert Wilkie
Acting
North Carolina March 28, 2018 May 29, 2018 62 days
  Peter O'Rourke
Acting
Virginia May 29, 2018 July 30, 2018 62 days
10   Robert Wilkie North Carolina July 30, 2018 Incumbent 2 years, 167 days
  Denis McDonough Minnesota Nominee Joe Biden

1 Anthony Principi served as Acting Secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs September 26, 1992 – January 20, 1993.

2 Hershel W. Gober served as Acting Secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs July 1, 1997 – January 2, 1998 and July 25, 2000 – January 20, 2001.[4]

3 West served as Acting Secretary from January 2, 1998[5] to May 5, 1998.[6]

4 Gordon H. Mansfield served as Acting Secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs October 1 – December 20, 2007.[7]

Living former Secretaries of Veterans AffairsEdit

As of January 2021, there are six living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs (with all Secretaries that have served since 2001 still living), the oldest being Jim Nicholson (served 2005–2007, born 1938). The most recent Secretary of Veterans Affairs to die, as well as the recently serving Secretary to die, was Togo D. West Jr. (served 1998–2000, born 1942), on March 8, 2018.

Name Term of office Date of birth (and age)
Anthony Principi 2001–2005 (1944-04-16) April 16, 1944 (age 76)
Jim Nicholson 2005–2007 (1938-02-04) February 4, 1938 (age 82)
James Peake 2007–2009 (1944-06-18) June 18, 1944 (age 76)
Eric Shinseki 2009–2014 (1942-11-28) November 28, 1942 (age 78)
Robert A. McDonald 2014–2017 (1953-06-20) June 20, 1953 (age 67)
David Shulkin 2017–2018 (1959-07-22) July 22, 1959 (age 61)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/3/19
  2. ^ Public Law 109-177 §.503
  3. ^ a b 38 U.S.C. § 304: Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Accessed January 13, 2008.
  4. ^ "Gober Takes Over Top Spot at VA" (Press release). Department of Veterans Affairs. July 25, 2000. Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
  5. ^ "President Clinton Names Togo D. West Jr. As Acting Secretary Of The Department Of Veterans' Affairs" (Press release). White House. December 2, 1997. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  6. ^ Staff (May 1999). "The Honorable Togo D. West Jr". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on March 4, 2000. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  7. ^ UPI. Peake sworn in as VA secretary Archived February 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, December 20, 2007. Accessed December 21, 2007.

External linksEdit

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Betsy DeVos
as Secretary of Education
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Succeeded by
Kirstjen Nielsen
as Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Education
Betsy Devos
17th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Homeland Security
Kirstjen Nielsen