|United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
Seal of the Department
Flag of the Secretary
|United States Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Reports to||President of the United States|
with Senate advice and consent
|Term length||No fixed term|
|Constituting instrument||38 U.S.C. § 303|
|Formation||March 15, 1989|
|First holder||Ed Derwinski|
|Deputy||Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
|Salary||Executive Schedule, level I|
The United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs is the head of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the department concerned with veterans' benefits, health care, and national veterans' memorials and cemeteries. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and second to last at sixteenth in the line of succession to the presidency (the position was last until the addition of the United States Department of Homeland Security in 2006). Until the appointment of David Shulkin in 2017, all appointees and acting appointees to the post were United States military veterans, but that is not a requirement to fill the position.
When the post of Secretary is vacant, the United States Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs or any other person designated by the President serves as Acting Secretary until the President nominates and the United States Senate confirms a new Secretary.
List of Secretaries of Veterans Affairs
|No.||Portrait||Name||State of residence||Took office||Left office||President(s)|
|1||Ed Derwinski||Illinois||March 15, 1989||September 26, 1992||George H. W. Bush|
|California||September 26, 1992||January 20, 1993|
|2||Jesse Brown||Illinois||January 22, 1993||July 1, 1997||Bill Clinton|
|–||Hershel W. Gober
|Arkansas||July 1, 1997||January 2, 1998|
|3||Togo D. West Jr.||District of Columbia||January 2, 1998||May 5, 1998|
|May 5, 1998||July 25, 2000|
|–||Hershel W. Gober
|Arkansas||July 25, 2000||January 20, 2001|
|4||Anthony Principi||California||January 23, 2001||January 26, 2005||George W. Bush|
|5||Jim Nicholson||Colorado||January 26, 2005||October 1, 2007|
|–||Gordon H. Mansfield
|Florida||October 1, 2007||December 20, 2007|
|6||James Peake||District of Columbia||December 20, 2007||January 20, 2009|
|7||Eric Shinseki||Hawaii||January 20, 2009||May 30, 2014||Barack Obama|
|–||Sloan D. Gibson
|Alabama||May 30, 2014||July 30, 2014|
|8||Bob McDonald||Ohio||July 30, 2014||January 20, 2017|
|West Virginia||January 20, 2017||February 14, 2017||Donald Trump|
|9||David Shulkin||Pennsylvania||February 14, 2017||March 28, 2018|
|North Carolina||March 28, 2018||May 29, 2018|
|Virginia||May 29, 2018||July 30, 2018|
|10||Robert Wilkie||North Carolina||July 30, 2018||Incumbent|
Living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs
As of October 2020, there are six living former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs (with all Secretaries that have served since 2001 still living), the oldest being Jim Nicholson (served 2005–2007, born 1938). The most recent Secretary of Veterans Affairs to die, as well as the recently serving Secretary to die, was Togo D. West Jr. (served 1998–2000, born 1942), on March 8, 2018.
|Name||Term of office||Date of birth (and age)|
|Anthony Principi||2001–2005||April 16, 1944|
|Jim Nicholson||2005–2007||February 4, 1938|
|James Peake||2007–2009||June 18, 1944|
|Eric Shinseki||2009–2014||November 28, 1942|
|Robert A. McDonald||2014–2017||June 20, 1953|
|David Shulkin||2017–2018||July 22, 1959|
- Public Law 109-177 §.503
- : Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Accessed January 13, 2008.
- "Gober Takes Over Top Spot at VA" (Press release). Department of Veterans Affairs. July 25, 2000. Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2009.
- "President Clinton Names Togo D. West Jr. As Acting Secretary Of The Department Of Veterans' Affairs" (Press release). White House. December 2, 1997. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- Staff (May 1999). "The Honorable Togo D. West Jr". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on March 4, 2000. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
- UPI. Peake sworn in as VA secretary Archived February 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, December 20, 2007. Accessed December 21, 2007.
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Secretary of Education
| Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
as Secretary of Homeland Security
|U.S. presidential line of succession|
Secretary of Education
|17th in line||Succeeded by|
Secretary of Homeland Security