Robert Wilkie

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Robert Wilkie
Robert Wilkie official portrait.jpg
10th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Assumed office
July 30, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy James Byrne (acting)
Preceded by David Shulkin
In office
Acting: March 28, 2018 – May 29, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Thomas G. Bowman
Preceded by David Shulkin
Succeeded by Peter O'Rourke (acting)
8th Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
In office
November 30, 2017 – July 30, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by Jessica L. Wright
Succeeded by Stephanie Barna
25th Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
In office
September 30, 2006 – January 19, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Dan Stanley
Succeeded by Elizabeth King
Personal details
Born Robert Leon Wilkie Jr.
(1962-08-06) August 6, 1962 (age 56)
Frankfurt, Germany
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julia Wilkie
Education Wake Forest University (BA)
Loyola University New Orleans (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)
United States Army War College (MS)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
 United States Air Force

Robert Leon Wilkie Jr. (born August 2, 1962)[1] is an American lawyer and government official serving as the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Prior to becoming the VA Secretary, Wilkie served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness from November 30, 2017 to July 30, 2018.[2] An intelligence officer in the United States Naval Reserve, he was previously nominated for a Department of Defense position by U.S. President George W. Bush on June 20, 2006, and his appointment was approved by the Senate on September 30, 2006.

On March 28, 2018, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that Wilkie would serve as interim United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs until the Senate confirmed a successor.[3] On May 18, 2018, following the withdrawn nomination of Ronny Jackson, President Trump announced that he was nominating Wilkie to hold the Veterans Affairs post full time. On July 23, 2018, Wilkie was confirmed by the United States Senate as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[4] He was later sworn in on July 30, 2018.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Wilkie was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, and attended Salisbury Cathedral School, England, and Reid Ross High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The son of an Army Artillery officer, he grew up in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His father, Robert Leon Wilkie Sr. (1938–2017), retired from the United States Army as a lieutenant colonel.[6] He is married to Julia Wilkie, who he has known since childhood.[7]

Wilkie Jr. received his B.A. degree from the Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He went on to receive his J.D. degree from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans in 1988 and an LL.M. degree in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Government career[edit]

Wilkie's Department of Defense portrait

He began his professional career on Capitol Hill as Counsel to Jesse Helms, and later served as legislative director for Rep. David Funderburk of North Carolina. He was assigned to the Committee on International Relations and the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 1997, he began service as counsel and advisor on international security affairs to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Prior to being named assistant secretary, Wilkie served as special assistant to the President for national security affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council where he was a senior policy advisor to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as well as her successor, Stephen Hadley. Wilkie developed strategic planning for the implementation of the Moscow Treaty, the Millennium Challenge Account, Iraqi Reconstruction and NATO Expansion.[8] In 2009, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates awarded him the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department.[9]

While serving as assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, Wilkie authored a memo outlining guidelines that restricted congressional testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by the president. Critics of the guidelines argued that they could impede investigations of the Iraq War, and that the Pentagon had no authority to set the rules.[10]

Wilkie was nominated to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness by President Donald Trump on July 25, 2017. This nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 16, 2017.[11] Wilkie previously served as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Thom Tillis.[12]

Secretary Wilkie served in the US Navy Reserve as well as presently in the US Air Force Reserve where he holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Wilkie was nominated to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President Trump on May 18, 2018. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 23, 2018, in a 86–9 vote.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KTGG-75C
  2. ^ "Fayetteville native Robert Wilkie confirmed by unanimous consent by U.S. Senate". The Fayetteville Observer. November 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ @realdonaldtrump (March 28, 2018). "Ronnie Jackson will be new VA Secretary, Hon. Robert Wilkie will be the interim" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  4. ^ "President Trump announces he's nominating Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to lead agency". May 2018. 
  5. ^ "Robert Wilkie sworn in as new Veterans Affairs secretary". July 30, 2018. 
  6. ^ "LTC Robert Leon Wilkie Sr.". The New Orleans Advocate. May 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  7. ^ "5 things to know about incoming VA secretary Robert Wilkie". USA Today. July 24, 2018. 
  8. ^ "United States Department of Defense". www.defenselink.mil. 
  9. ^ Murphy, Brian (July 20, 2017). "Trump taps Tillis aide for Pentagon post". McClatchy DC. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  10. ^ Bender, Bryan (May 11, 2007). "Pentagon restricting who can testify before Congress". SF Gate. Boston Globe. Retrieved August 2, 2017. 
  11. ^ "PN813 — Robert L. Wilkie — Department of Defense". U.S. Congress. November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Senate: 404 Error Page". www.tillis.senate.gov. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dan Stanley
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
September 30, 2006 – January 19, 2009
Succeeded by
Elizabeth King
Preceded by
Jessica L. Wright
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
November 30, 2017 – July 30, 2018
Vacant
Preceded by
David Shulkin
Acting United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
March 28, 2018 – May 29, 2018
Succeeded by
Peter O'Rourke
Acting
Preceded by
Peter O'Rourke
Acting
United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
July 30, 2018 – present
Incumbent
Current 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
Current U.S. presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Betsy DeVos
as Secretary of Education
16th in line
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Succeeded by
Kirstjen Nielsen
as Secretary of Homeland Security