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Wilkie Nominated to be VA Secretary

Wilkie Nominated to be VA Secretary

 

Wilkie Nominated to be VA Secretary

By Debbie Gregory

President Donald Trump has announced that Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie is his choice to head the department on a permanent basis. The president was speaking at a meeting on prison reform at the White House when he veered off topic to introduce Wilkie to the room.

Trump praised the job Wilkie has been doing since, and then surprised everyone, including Wilkie, with the announcement. But there is a possibility that Wilkie would have to step down first, due to a section of the U.S. Code that states an individual cannot serve as an acting secretary and at the same time be nominated to head a government agency.

The issue of Wilkie’s position as acting secretary of the Veterans Affairs and the potential legal hurdles he may face was raised by VoteVets, an advocacy group that works to give a voice to veterans on matters of national security, veterans’ care, and every day issues that affect the lives of those who served, and their families.

Wilkie, 55, the son of an Army Artillery officer, was born in Frankfurt, West Germany and grew up in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

He served in the United States Naval Reserve, according to his Defense Department biography.

He would later join the Air Force as a reserve officer and was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff, his biography said.

He holds masters in strategic studies from the United States Army War College. Wilkie is also a graduate of Wake Forest University, Georgetown University and Loyola University in New Orleans.

Wilkie still holds his job as undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

The VA serves nine million veterans annually with a staff of 360,000 employees and a budget of more than $186 billion.