The scandalous withdrawal of VA secretary nominee Adm. Ronny Jackson on Thursday was just the latest episode in a long stretch of chaos at the Department of Veterans Affairs. If President Trump wants to end the turmoil at the VA and allow the department to confront its critical problems, he will need to make a careful choice in his next nominee. The VA deserves a competent and experienced leader, with the policy background and management ability to steer it through these troubled times.
The current upheaval at the VA began last month when the president removed Secretary David Shulkin following the revelation of his own controversies, and replaced him for the short term with the barely confirmed DoD Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness, Robert Wilkie. But the head-spinning pace of change at the VA extends back over the past four years, as five different people have held the top position at the department in either an acting or permanent capacity since President Obama’s firing of retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki in 2014. Each of these VA leaders presided over periods of intense scrutiny and infighting, and achieved varying levels of success in attempting to reform the relatively new department—which has existed as a Cabinet-level agency only since 1989.
Read the Full Article at Slate
More from CNAS
PodcastStories from the Backchannel: Season Two Trailer
By Ilan Goldenberg, Richard Fontaine, Susanna V. Blume, Kayla M. Williams, Price B. Floyd, Kurt Campbell & Kara Frederick
CommentaryAmerica never committed to training Afghan forces. I know because I tried.
I first met Maj. Sboor in 2009 as he waited to take over his own Afghan army battalion. We were working together as operations officers of partnered Afghan and U.S. infantry u...
By Dr. Jason Dempsey
VideoCNAS: Bold Ideas for National Security
This year, CNAS experts brought bold ideas and bipartisan cooperation to the national security conversation. In 2020, the CNAS team will continue tackling the biggest security...
By Susanna V. Blume, Kara Frederick, Kayla M. Williams, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Richard Fontaine, Kristine Lee, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Ely Ratner, Paul Scharre, Elizabeth Rosenberg & Carrie Cordero
CommentaryThe ACFT and the Problems with the Military's Cult of Physical Fitness
A new hurdle for U.S. Army recruitment and retention is coming in the form of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), scheduled to become the Army's physical test by October 2020...
By Emma Moore