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 most recent secretary, as of 2017, is David Shulkin, appointed by President Donald Trump.[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
David Shulkin 2017–
Bob McDonald 2014–2017
Eric K. Shinseki 2009–2014
James Peake 2007–2009
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

See also


  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