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United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Secretary of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America
Seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs
[[File:Flag of the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.svg#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
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Flag of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Robert McDonald

since July 30, 2014
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 38 U.S.C. § 303
Formation March 15, 1989
First holder Ed Derwinski
Succession Sixteenth in the United States Presidential Line of Succession
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1

The United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs is the head of the U.S. 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[1]). To date, all appointees and acting appointees to the post have been United States military veterans, but that is not a requirement to fill the position.

When the post of Secretary is vacant, the United States Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs[2] or any other person designated by the President serves as Acting Secretary[2] until the President nominates and the United States Senate confirms a new Secretary.

On December 8, 2008, U.S. President Barack Obama announced he would nominate retired U.S. Army general, Eric Shinseki, to be the 7th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on January 20, 2009.[3] General Shinseki resigned as Secretary of Veterans Affairs on May 30, 2014, making deputy secretary Sloan Gibson the acting secretary. On June 29, 2014, President Obama nominated former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert A. McDonald to serve as VA secretary. The United States Senate confirmed McDonald on July 29, 2014.[4]

List of Secretaries of Veterans Affairs


      No party       Democratic       Republican

  Denotes acting Secretary
No. Portrait Name State of Residence Took Office Left Office President(s)
1 75px Ed Derwinski Illinois March 15, 1989 September 26, 1992 George H. W. Bush
75px Anthony Principi[1]
California September 26, 1992 January 20, 1993
2 75px Jesse Brown Illinois January 22, 1993 July 1, 1997 Bill Clinton
75px Hershel W. Gober[2]
Arkansas July 1, 1997 January 2, 1998
3 75px Togo D. West, Jr. District of Columbia January 2, 1998[3] May 5, 1998
May 5, 1998 July 25, 2000
75px Hershel W. Gober[2]
Arkansas July 25, 2000 January 20, 2001
4 75px Anthony Principi California January 23, 2001 January 26, 2005 George W. Bush
5 75px Jim Nicholson,
Colonel, USA (Ret.)
Colorado January 26, 2005 October 1, 2007
75px Gordon H. Mansfield[4]
Florida October 1, 2007 December 20, 2007
6 75px James B. Peake,
Lt.Gen., USA (Ret.)
District of Columbia December 20, 2007 January 20, 2009
7 75px Eric Shinseki,
General, USA (Ret.)
Hawaii January 20, 2009 May 30, 2014 Barack Obama
75px Sloan D. Gibson
Alabama May 30, 2014 July 30, 2014
8 75px Robert McDonald,
Captain, USA
Ohio July 30, 2014 present

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.[5]

3 West served as acting Secretary from January 2, 1998[6] to May 5, 1998.[7]

4 Gordon H. Mansfield served as acting secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs October 1—December 20, 2007.[8]

Living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs

As of October 2014, there are five living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs, the oldest being Jim Nicholson (2005-2007, born 1938). The most recent Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pass away was Ed Derwinski (1989-1992), on January 15, 2012.

Name Term of office Date of birth (and age)
Togo D. West, Jr. 1998-2000 (1942-06-21) June 21, 1942 (age 78)
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 77)

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Public Law 109-177§.503
  2. ^ a b 38 U.S.C. § 304: Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Accessed 2008-01-13.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Tritten, Travis J. (29 July 2014). "Senate confirms Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veterans Affairs". Stars and Stripes. Defense Media Activity (U.S. Department of Defense). Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Gober Takes Over Top Spot at VA" (Press release). Department of Veterans Affairs. 2000-07-25. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  6. ^ "President Clinton Names Togo D. West, Jr. As Acting Secretary Of The Department Of Veterans' Affairs" (Press release). White House. 1997-12-02. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  7. ^ Staff (May 1999). "The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.". Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on 2000-03-04. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  8. ^ UPI. Peake sworn in as VA secretary, Dec 20, 2007. Accessed 21 Dec 2007.
United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan
17th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Homeland Security
Jeh Johnson