Obama Taps Big Business Exec to Lead VA

President Obama is set on Monday to nominate a former chief executive of Procter & Gamble to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Although Bob McDonald is a West Point graduate and served in the Army for five years, his selection marks a sharp contrast to the previous retired generals, politicians, and medical professionals who have served as department secretary. Experts see Obama’s decision to nominate McDonald as a response to the inefficiencies and mismanagement plaguing the department. Phillip Carter, who studies veterans affairs for the Center for a New American Security, said “The VA is more like a big business than a military organization, so [McDonald’s] background probably makes him more qualified to run the VA than a retired general officer.” Still, others have concerns that he will be out of touch based on his corporate background. “He doesn’t come from our generation. He never served in Iraq or Afghanistan,” said Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). “He’s going to have to work very hard to get up to speed on our issues.” Former Secretary Eric K. Shinseki resigned following the scandal regarding gross mismanagement and falsification of medical care for veterans.