Robert Wilkie is the current secretary of veterans affairs. He is the 10th person to serve in the position.
President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Wilkie for the position on May 18, 2018. He was formally nominated on June 20, 2018. The Senate confirmed his appointment on July 23, 2018, by a vote of 86-9. Wilkie was sworn in on July 30, 2018.
The secretary of veterans affairs oversees the following agencies: the National Cemetery Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the Veterans Health Administration.
Wilkie earned a bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University, a Juris Doctor from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, a Master of Laws in international and comparative law from Georgetown University, and a Masters in strategic studies from the United States Army War College. Wilkie is a reserve officer in the United States Air Force Reserve. Before joining the Air Force, he served in the United States Navy Reserve with the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, Naval Special Warfare Group Two, and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Wilkie also worked as senior advisor to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and as vice president for strategic initiatives for CH2M HILL.
Below is an abbreviated outline of Wilkie's professional career:
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) was confirmed last week as the 12th chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs (VA) Committee. Members of the Senate VA Committee, House VA Committee and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie all reacted to the news. "Congratulations to Senator Moran upon his confirmation as the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee," said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. "We look forward to working together for our nation's veterans." "As Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I'm confident Senator Moran will continue his steadfast advocacy for this country's veterans," said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), ranking member of the Senate VA Committee. "I look forward to hitting the ground running together on a number of legislative priorities, including our bipartisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which aims to aggressively combat the national veteran suicide rate by providing more folks with the mental health care services they need. And I look forward to working with him to ensure we continue to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable in delivering timely, quality, and robust care and benefits to all veterans." "Senator Moran has always been a fighting force in Congress for the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces -- first in the House, and now in the Senate," said Dr. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the House VA Committee. "There is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to serve our nation's heroes well as he assumes the role as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. I look forward to continuing to work with him to deliver on the promises our country has made to the men and women in uniform." "I know Senator Moran to be a strong advocate for veterans, and I'm pleased he is prioritizing veteran suicide prevention as the Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee," said Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "I look forward to working with him to create new and innovative approaches to fight the veterans suicide crisis as well as continuing to ensure America delivers on the promises made to the men and women who have served our nation in uniform, and their families." "I've been glad to work with Senator Moran successfully in the past on important issues for our nation's military families and communities, and I look forward to continuing to work on these and other vital priorities for our country's veterans with Chairman Moran," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "Senator Moran has been an advocate for our veterans for years, dating back to his time in the House of Representatives," said Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-Louis.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "His experience and knowledge of veteran-related policy make him an ideal choice to chair the committee. I look forward to working with him to strengthen health care and services for our American heroes." "Senator Moran has always been a champion for veterans," said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "He will do a great job as the new Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. I look forward to working with him as we continue to make certain veterans receive the care they deserve." "I want to congratulate Senator Moran on being selected to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, a well-deserved distinction," said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "Chairman Moran has a record of results in getting veterans the care and benefits they need and deserve, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to improve the VA and work on behalf of those who served." "Senator Moran has a decades-long, distinguished record as a steadfast champion of our nation's veterans," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), member of the Senate VA Committee. "As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I look forward to working with the new Chairman and current Ranking Member to address continuing failings and injustices in our current VA services, including employment, skills training, and health care, particularly mental health services." "I want to congratulate Senator Moran, a long-standing advocate for our veterans, on assuming the chairmanship of the Veterans Affairs Committee," said Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), member of the Senate VA Committee. "Having worked closely with Chairman Moran on the committee over the past several years, I am confident that he will effectively lead the committee as we always strive to better serve America's veterans." "Congratulations to my colleague Senator Moran on being named VA Chair. I look forward to working with you and Senator Tester in helping our Veterans and ensuring they are receiving the world-class healthcare and respect that they have earned," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "Senator Moran will be an excellent chair of the Veterans' Affairs Committee," said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "For two decades, in both the House and the Senate, he has been a tireless advocate and leader on veterans' issues. I look forward to joining him in a productive 2020 for the Committee as we seek to serve the needs of our veterans." "I thank Senator Moran for his willingness to serve as Chairman," said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "As our committee considers ways to honor these heroes and to ensure they receive the care they deserve, I look forward to working with Chairman Moran to advance the priorities of North Dakota's veterans." "The bipartisan work done on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee demonstrates what we can achieve when we set aside politics and work together," said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), member of the Senate VA Committee. "I know that as Chairman, my friend Jerry Moran will continue that important work so we can ensure America's veterans get the care and benefits they have earned."
Dear Secretary Wilkie: I recently discussed the link between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dementia with a group of veterans in my district. They expressed concern that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not recognize dementia developed later in life as being a secondary condition of service-connected PTSD. VA regulations (38 CFR 3.310) state that a "disability which is proximately due to or the result of service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected. When service connection is thus established for a secondary condition, the secondary condition shall be considered a part of the original condition." The regulations also presume five conditions, including three types of dementias, as being the proximate result of service-connected traumatic brain injury (TBI). There is good reason to believe that PTSD may be linked with later development of dementia. A Department of Defense-funded study published in the June 2010 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry found that veterans with PTSD were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as veterans without PTSD.[] Another study published in the September 2010 issue of Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found similar results.[] Additionally, a study published in the July 2017 issue of The EMBO Journal found experimental evidence that the link between PTSD and Alzheimer's and dementia may be causal.[] Our nation owes an immeasurable amount of gratitude to members of our armed services and their families for the sacrifices they've made to protect our country's values and principles. The best way to honor this sacrifice is by ensuring that our veterans receive the benefits and services they have earned and deserve. As a Congressman representing much of San Antonio -- Military City, USA -- I am committed to ensuring that the more than 60,000 veterans who live in my district receive disability rates that accurately reflect both the injuries sustained during their service and secondary conditions developed later in life as a result. Therefore, I am seeking information on the following questions in relation to the VA's recognition of links between PTSD and Alzheimer's and dementia: Has the VA recognized Alzheimer's or dementia as secondary conditions of PTSD under 38 CFR 3.310 in any cases?If so, in approximately how many cases has this link been recognized?Has the VA conducted any studies on the potential linkage of PTSD and dementia and Alzheimer's?What training, if any, does the Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA) conduct for their employees on the link between PTSD and dementia and Alzheimer's?Thank you for your attention to this important issue. Respectfully, Joaquin CastroMember of Congress