Secretary of Veterans Affairs

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The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is a member of the Cabinet, and head of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The department was brought into the cabinet by legislation signed by Ronald Reagan in 1988, but the first Secretary was appointed by George H. W. Bush in May 1989. [1] That first incumbent was Edward Derwinski, who was head of the department's predecessor, the Veterans Administration. The current Secretary is Retired U.S. Army General Eric Shinseki, who was appointed by President Barack Hussein Obama on January 21, 2009. He is the seventh holder of the post.[2]

As Veterans Affairs is the second most recently-created department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is 17th in the line of succession to the presidency, and only the Secretary of Homeland Security comes later. [3]

List of Secretaries of Veterans Affairs [4]

Name Years
Eric K. Shinseki 2009–
Dr. James Peake, M.D. 2007–2009
Gordon H. Mansfield (acting) 2007
R. James Nicholson 2005-2007
Anthony J. Principi 2001-2005
Hershel Gober (acting) 2000–2001
Togo D. West, Jr. 1998–2000
Hershel Gober (acting) 1997-1998
Jesse Brown 1993-1997
Anthony Principi (acting) 1992-1993
Edward Derwinski 1989-1992


  1. History of the Department of Veterans Affairs
  2. VA Official Biography
  3. USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005
  4. History of the Department of Veterans Affairs