Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs: Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The Honorable Robert Wilkie was named by President Trump to serve as the Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs on March 28, 2018.
Robert Wilkie is the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Mr. Wilkie is the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.
The son of an Army artillery commander he spent his youth at Fort Bragg. He has more than 20 years of experience at the national and international level. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Wilkie served both Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009, and was the youngest senior leader in the Department. Prior to his first Pentagon tour, he was Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council under Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Wilkie also has extensive experience in the United States Congress including recent service as Senior Advisor to Senator Thom Tillis as well as being Counsel and Advisor on International Security Affairs to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Honorable Trent Lott.
He had a five-year tour as Vice President for Strategic Programs for CH2M HILL one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms, where at various times he had program management and advisory assignments as diverse as the London 2012 and the reform and reorganization of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Supply and Logistics System (DE&S).
Mr. Wilkie is a reserve officer in the United States Air Force Reserve assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff.
Prior to joining the Air Force, he served in the United States Navy Reserve with the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, Naval Special Warfare Group Two and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
A graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff, Air Command and Staff College, the United States Army War College, and the Joint Forces Staff College, Mr. Wilkie has published articles in the Naval War College Review, Parameters, Armed Forces Journal International, The Air and Space Power Journal and Proceedings. He holds personal and unit decorations as well as the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department.
Mr. Wilkie also shepherded the Senate confirmation process for James Mattis, Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen (CJCS) and was responsible for the preparation of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Croker for their multiple appearances before the Congress in defense of the Iraqi Surge.
Mr. Wilkie holds an Honors degree from Wake Forest University; Juris Doctor from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans; Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.