President Barack Obama on Monday nominated former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to serve as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. McDonald, a former Army Ranger, would bring “three decades of experience in building and managing one of the world’s most recognized companies” to the job, said Obama on Monday. “The VA is not a business, but it is one of our largest departments—some 340,000 employees working in more than 1,700 facilities, serving nearly nine million veterans.” If approved, McDonald would replace acting Secretary Sloan Gibson who stepped in when Eric Shinseki resigned in late May after an audit found systemic problems within the VA medical care system. “So let me state the obvious—this is not going to be an easy assignment. Bob knows that, but like any Army Airborne Ranger, Bob has a reputation for being ready, jumping into tough situations, taking charge, and going “all the way,” said Obama. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel welcomed McDonald’s nomination, saying that McDonald would be “well-equipped” to lead the VA if confirmed. “Taking care of our veterans is as high a priority as this country has, and I look forward to working closely with Bob and Sloan to further strengthen and improve DoD-VA collaboration and the lives of our veterans,” said Hagel in a June 30 statement.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.