President Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ronny Jackson as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs has caused some concern in various veteran circles. While many appreciate his service to this nation and accept that he has gone above and beyond what was required of him time and time again, some have criticized his lack of qualifications for the specific job. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is charged with heading up the entire VA — it is, at its core, a managerial position, and many are watching to see how the VA Secretary manages a system rife with corruption and mismanagement. This is a significant departure from the role of White House Physician.
In a press release, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) said that,
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is saluting former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin for his faithful and dedicated service to veterans of all generations. He came aboard in 2015 as Undersecretary for Health as the VA was still reeling from a nationwide crisis in care and access that had rocked veterans’ confidence a year before. He was retained by President Trump and confirmed as VA Secretary by the Senate 100-0. Under his tenure, the VA has achieved a host of successes ranging from increased accountability and transparency to a beefed-up education package and increases in overall funding and patient satisfaction.”
After praising Shulkin, it goes on to say,
The nominee to become the next VA Secretary, Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Ronny Jackson, served in Iraq as an emergency physician in charge of resuscitative medicine for a forward deployed surgical shock trauma platoon, and since 2006, has been the White House physician for three presidents. Dr. Jackson’s bio does not reflect any experience working with the VA or with veterans, or managing any organization of size, much less one as multifaceted as the Department of Veterans Affairs, so the VFW will be closely monitoring his Senate confirmation process.”
Keith Harman, Commander-in-Chief of the VFW, said that
The VFW does, however, recognize his years of faithful service to nation in uniform, and salutes his willingness to continue serving … We look forward to working with him and his staff to continue building upon the progress created by his predecessors, progress that properly takes care of America’s wounded, ill and injured veterans first.”
You can read the full statement here.
Many have expressed concern for the fact that politicians who are “good at the job” are often the problem, and that while managerial skills can be learned, ethics and commitment are harder to come by. Others say that you must have both experience and an ethical backbone from the beginning, since, like in any leadership position, if you are going to excel then you simply have to be good at the job first.
Robert Wilkie has temporarily taken the lead in the Department of Veterans Affairs until things are made official.
The VFW is a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to U.S. military veterans, and has been responsible for all sorts of memorials commemorating wars as old as the country itself, they have pushed for changes expand the benefits of the GI Bill, and they continue to try to bolster veterans in their claims for various benefits, to name a few of their achievements and goals. According to their website, they have approximately 1.7 million members in their ranks.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.