Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs
Flag of the Department of Veterans Affairs
|Formed||July 21, 1930
(Cabinet rank 15 March 1989)
|Jurisdiction||United States federal government|
|Headquarters||810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Annual budget||$78.4 billion (2013)|
The Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs is a senior position within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs that directs the National Cemetery Administration, which maintains 131 national cemeteries and provides burial services for veterans of the United States military and eligible family members.
The Under Secretary is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Ronald E. Walters, formerly the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, was named the Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs effective June 23, 2014. Walters succeeded Steve L. Muro, who had been the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs since June 6, 2011.
History and responsibilities
In addition to the maintenance and operation of national cemeteries, the Under Secretary is also responsible for their land acquisition, design, and construction. Other memorial programs overseen by the Under Secretary include the provision of headstones, markers, and Presidential Memorial Certificates---engraved paper certificates signed by the current president---to honor deceased veterans' service. The Under Secretary also administers federal grants to help states establish state veterans' cemeteries.
The position was created by the Veterans Programs Enhancement Act of 1998, which was signed by President Clinton on November 11, 1998. As a result of the Act, the organization led by a Director, the National Cemetery System, evolved from an agency into an administration led by an Under Secretary when it was renamed to the National Cemetery Administration. From April 1998 to early September 2000, a series of Acting Directors and Acting Under Secretaries headed the Administration. Two of these were Roger R. Rapp and Mike Walker, with the latter later being confirmed by the United States Senate. They were followed by Under Secretaries Robin Higgins and John W. Nicholson.
List of Under Secretaries for Memorial Affairs
Originally, the position was Chief Memorial Affairs Director and then director of the National Cemetery System.
Public Law 105-368 (November 11, 1998) changed the National Cemetery System, headed by a Director, to the National Cemetery Administration, headed by the Under Secretary of Memorial Affairs.
The following individuals served as director or under secretary:
- Rufus Harold Wilson (February 8, 1974-January 23, 1975)
- John W. Mahan (January 28, 1977-January 28, 1977) - acting director from August 1973-January 1977
- Carl Thomas Noll (May 9, 1977-January 27, 1981) - died in office
- Paul Takeo Bannai (December 7, 1981-September 30, 1985)
- Wilfred Louis Ebel (July 1987-April 1989)
- Jo Ann Krukar Webb (October 10, 1989-November 1991)
- Allen B. Clark, Jr. (November 22, 1991-January 19, 1993)
- Jerry Wayne Bowen (May 20, 1993-April 3, 1998)
- Robert "Mike" Walker (September 8, 2000-January 2001)
- Series of acting directors/under secretaries (early April 1998-early September 2000)
- Robin L. Higgins (May 24, 2001-September 1, 2002)
- John W. "Jack" Nicholson (April 11, 2003-January 19, 2005)
- William F. Tuerk (October 28, 2005-January 19, 2009)
- Steve L. Muro (June 6, 2011-June 22, 2014) - was acting under secretary from January 19, 2009 until appointed as permanent under secretary
- Ronald E. Walters June 23, 2014 - present) - was principal deputy under secretary from January 2009 until named as acting under secretary
- Hicks, Josh (2014-09-17). "Manager focused on providing resting places for the nation’s veterans". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
- Muro Sworn In as Under Secretary for VA's Memorial Affairs (June 6, 2011). United States Department of Veterans Affairs]
- Steve L. Muro, Washington Post.
- "US CODE: Title 38,2400. Establishment of National Cemetery Administration; composition of Administration". Retrieved September 20, 2007.
- "getdoc.cgi" (PDF). Retrieved September 20, 2007.
- "Former Directors and Undersecretaries for Memorial Affairs, 1973 - 2005 - Burial & Memorials". Retrieved September 20, 2007.
- "VA Testimony of Roger Rapp before Congress on May 20, 1999 - Congressional and Legislative Affairs". Retrieved September 20, 2007.
- "Former Directors & Under Secretaries for Memorial Affairs, 1973 - 2005 - Burial & Memorials". Retrieved September 20, 2007.
- Former Directors & Under Secretaries for Memorial Affairs, 1973-2011. United States Department of Veterans Affairs.