United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
|Secretary of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America|
Seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Flag of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs
|United States Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Reports to||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). 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 or any other person designated by the President serves as Acting Secretary 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 seventh Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on January 20, 2009. 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.
List of Secretaries of Veterans Affairs
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of Residence||Took Office||Left Office||President(s)|
|1||Ed Derwinski||Illinois||March 15, 1989||September 26, 1992||George H. W. Bush|
|California||September 26, 1992||January 20, 1993|
|2||Jesse Brown||Illinois||January 22, 1993||July 1, 1997||Bill Clinton|
|–||Hershel W. Gober
|Arkansas||July 1, 1997||January 2, 1998|
|3||Togo D. West, Jr.||District of Columbia||January 2, 1998||May 5, 1998|
|May 5, 1998||July 25, 2000|
|–||Hershel W. Gober
|Arkansas||July 25, 2000||January 20, 2001|
|4||Anthony Principi||California||January 23, 2001||January 26, 2005||George W. Bush|
|5||Jim Nicholson||Colorado||January 26, 2005||October 1, 2007|
|–||Gordon H. Mansfield
|Florida||October 1, 2007||December 20, 2007|
|6||James Peake||District of Columbia||December 20, 2007||January 20, 2009|
|7||Eric Shinseki||Hawaii||January 20, 2009||May 30, 2014||Barack Obama|
|–||Sloan D. Gibson
|Alabama||May 30, 2014||July 30, 2014|
|8||Bob McDonald||Ohio||July 30, 2014||January 20, 2017|
|January 20, 2017||present||Donald Trump|
|9||David Shulkin||Washington, D.C.||January 2017
Pending Senate confirmation
Living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs
As of January 2017, there are five living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs, the oldest being Jim Nicholson (served 2005-2007, born 1938). The most recent Secretary of Veterans Affairs to die was Ed Derwinski (served 1989-1992, born 1926), on January 15, 2012. The most recently serving Secretary to die was Jesse Brown (served 1993-1997, born 1944) on August 15, 2002.
|Name||Term of office||Date of birth (and age)|
|Togo D. West, Jr.||1998–2000||June 21, 1942|
|Anthony Principi||2001–2005||April 16, 1944|
|Jim Nicholson||2005–2007||February 4, 1938|
|James Peake||2007–2009||June 18, 1944|
|Eric Shinseki||2009–2014||November 28, 1942|
- Administrator of Veterans Affairs (United States)
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs
- Veterans Health Administration
- Public Law 109-177 §.503
- : Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Accessed 2008-01-13.
- [dead link]
- Tritten, Travis J. (29 July 2014). "Senate confirms Robert McDonaldz as Secretary of Veterans Affairs". Stars and Stripes. Defense Media Activity (U.S. Department of Defense). Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Gober Takes Over Top Spot at VA" (Press release). Department of Veterans Affairs. July 25, 2000. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "President Clinton Names Togo D. West, Jr. As Acting Secretary Of The Department Of Veterans' Affairs" (Press release). White House. December 2, 1997. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- Staff (May 1999). "The Honorable Togo D. West, Jr.". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on March 4, 2000. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- UPI. Peake sworn in as VA secretary, Dec 20, 2007. Accessed 21 Dec 2007.
|United States presidential line of succession|
Secretary of Education
|17th in line||Succeeded by
Secretary of Homeland Security