President Obama plans to announce Monday his nomination of Robert A. McDonald, the retired CEO of Procter & Gamble, as the next secretary of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs. McDonald's nomination will be one month from when Eric Shinseki resigned from the same post amid allegations that patients were waiting months before receiving care.
In recent years, the job of VA secretary has been filled by retired generals, medical professionals or politicians. McDonald's background is a significant departure, though he and his wife have deep family ties to the military. McDonald graduated in the top 2 percent of his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and served in the Army for five years, achieving the rank of captain in the 82nd Airborne Division before taking an entry-level job at P&G. He is the son of an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, and his wife's father was shot down over Europe and survived harsh treatment as a prisoner of war.
In picking Mr. McDonald, Mr. Obama signaled that he saw the problems at the veterans agency as primarily a management concern. A report issued on Friday by Mr. Obama's deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, described a "corrosive" management culture at the agency and "a lack of responsiveness and an inability to effectively manage or communicate."
"In order to pave the way for serious and substantive reforms that will help VA to effectively deliver the care and benefits our veterans have earned, he'll need to root out the culture of dishonesty and fraud that has taken hold within the department and is contributing to all of its most pressing challenges," Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, told the Los Angeles Times. "Quite simply, those who created the VA scandal will need to be purged from the system."
[Image via AP]