March 30, 2018

Chaos Awaits Ronny Jackson at the VA

By Phillip Carter

In the 88 years since the founding of the modern Department of Veterans Affairs, presidents have mostly turned to retired military officers and politicos to run the massive agency. Most have failed. The agency’s size, complexities, and politics have flummoxed even the most capable of leaders.

Enter Ronny Jackson—a Navy doctor who saw combat in Iraq and went on to serve as White House physician, caring for three presidents including President Donald Trump. Jackson is now being nominated to replace David Shulkin at the helm of the government’s second-largest agency. Jackson’s impressive military medical record, and bipartisan support, will likely smooth the path for a relatively quick confirmation. But after that, a swamp of policy, political, and cultural fights awaits him at the VA.

The VA’s policy fights owe much to its size and complexity. The agency runs a portfolio that includes physical and mental health care, disability compensation, education benefits, home loan guarantees, life insurance, burials, and much more, consuming nearly $200 billion a year and requiring more than 340,000 employees. Most of the VA will be new to Jackson, whose professional life has existed within the relatively insular military.

Read the full article on Slate.

  • Reports
    • September 28, 2021
    The Role of County Veteran Service Officers

    Executive Summary This assessment examines the role of county veteran service officers (CVSOs) throughout the United States. The report highlights the services and support ava...

    By Katherine L. Kuzminski, Nathalie Grogan & Elena LoRusso

  • Commentary
    • Inkstick
    • September 23, 2021
    Don’t Ask Us to Serve

    Since the repeal of DADT, the lives of queer servicemembers have improved, but major challenges remain that threaten to undermine these gains and stall further progress....

    By Cody Kennedy

  • Commentary
    • Inkstick
    • September 17, 2021
    Closing the Gaps Between Servicemembers and the American Public

    We have been a nation at war — sort of. Due to the longest wars in American history being shouldered by a tiny percentage of the population, the vital civil-military relations...

    By Nathalie Grogan

  • Video
    • September 8, 2021
    Afghanistan Veteran Says War Might be Over for U.S. but Not for Afghans

    Jason Dempsey, an adjunct senior fellow of the Military, Veterans, and Society program at the Center for a New American Security, and a military veteran deployed twice to Afgh...

    By Dr. Jason Dempsey

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia