DAV Calls for Quick Confirmation of New VA Secretary

DAV Washington Executive Director Garry Augustine today made the following comments after President Barack Obama formally announced the nomination of Robert McDonald, an Army veteran and former CEO of Proctor & Gamble, to serve as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

“We hope the confirmation will go smoothly and quickly, so Mr. McDonald can begin the work necessary to strengthen the VA health care system and restore the trust of all veterans. We believe his military and private sector management experience can bring about much-needed and overdue change at the VA, especially to improve accountability, transparency and efficiency,” Augustine said.

“As he awaits confirmation, VA and Congress must ensure that veterans have timely access to care now, and that changes to ensure access and quality in the future must be matched with accurate and sufficient resources, particularly if VA’s mandate is expanded. As Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors confirmed Friday in his report to the President on Access to Timely Care, VA’s problems with scheduling appointments was primarily related to a shortage of doctors, nurses and physical space, not just mismanagement,” said Augustine.

“No doubt the next leader of VA has a great deal of work ahead. DAV looks forward to working with Mr. McDonald for the betterment of injured, sick and ill veterans, their families and survivors,” Augustine said.

If confirmed, McDonald will become the eighth Secretary of the VA, replacing Eric K. Shinseki who resigned in May after five years in that position. McDonald graduated in 1975 in the top 2 percent of his class at West Point, then went on to serve for five years in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. After exiting the military, he took an entry-level job as P&G and was ultimately named President and CEO in 2009, and Chairman of the Board in 2010.