Eric Ken Shinseki served as Secretary of Veterans Affairs under United States President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2014. A native Hawaiian of Japanese descent, he was born in 1942 and graduated from West Point. He was wounded in action in the Vietnam War and eventually became a four-star general in the Army.
His highest post in the US Army was Chief of Staff, which he held from 1999 until his retirement on June 1, 2003. He is perhaps most known for his vocal criticism of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's strategy for the Iraq War. Testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Shinseki claimed that hundreds of thousands of troops would need to remain in Iraq for postwar stabilization, a figure that was disputed by both Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense.
After Obama announced his selection as Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Shineki resigned from the boards of Honeywell International and Ducommun Inc., both of which are heavily involved in US Army contracts. However, he continued to receive an undisclosed amount of compensation from these corporations.