Last Friday President Obama announced the resignation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. During that same press conference the president announced that the VA’s Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson would be stepping up as interim secretary until a permanent replace could be named.
Gibson was only weeks removed from his appointment as a deputy secretary, after assuming the position in February. Now Gibson is taking the helm of one of the most scrutinized government agencies. While the president said that his role is only temporary, this period can be seen as an audition for a permanent position as VA head for Gibson. There are many who believe that he has the appropriate résumé.
Sloan Gibson is a 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is also a Veteran of the Army, where he served as an Infantry officer.
Gibson also earned a Masters in Economics from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
After the Army, Gibson worked 20 years in the banking industry. He retired from AmSouth Bancorporation, as its Chief Financial Officer, in 2004.
Secretary Gibson has also served as president and chief executive officer of the United Services Organizations (USO) from 2008 to 2013. During Gibson’s tenure, the USO’s net fundraising grew by 90%. This increase in funding allowed the USO to expand its programs bringing information, morale, entertainment and human services to forward deployed service members and their families.
Acting VA Secretary Gibson has the credentials to make a positive impact with the VA. This time is crucial in determining if he is the right person for the job amid turmoil caused by political scandal.
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Military Connection: Acting VA Secretary: By Debbie Gregory