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Editor’s note: Following Brian Adam Jones’ list of 12 people who could replace Secretary Shinseki, Task & Purpose contributor Jason Mack decided to dive deeper into the candidate pool and offer up some names that might not yet be on the White House's radar.
With the totally shocking and unexpected resignation of Eric Shinseki, the blogosphere (actual word) is alight with everyone's brilliant and creative picks for secretary of the VA. Basically, there are a lot of uneducated bloggers spewing out their ideas, including me.
Noticeably absent from the lists I've seen are actual hospital administrators, government reformers, or people who have run large organizations successfully. I mean, what's the point of making the VA a civilian agency if we’re going to keep choosing military leadership to run it?
Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis? Yeah, I'm sure he'll swear and motivate the VA into fighting shape. Tammy Duckworth? I guess, if you want to pick your VA secretary based on who has the most YouTube hits. Robert Gates? How many times does that guy have to leave the government before you figure out that he's not that into you?
And call me crazy, but I don't think we should be picking another infantry general to administer the biggest hospital system in the world. No matter how good of a leader he is, his entire skill set is still geared towards killing people. It's time the VA got away from that.
Here are my picks:
The other day, John McCain came out of his coffin to give his pick for VA secretary --- Tom Coburn, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, which is a small, dusty state somewhere in the middle of the country. When McCain speaks on such matters, I think it's a good idea to listen to him because he is immortal. Coburn is a physician, and, according to Count McCain, “the greatest reformer in the United States Senate.” Those are all words that veterans love to hear. “Physician.” “Reformer.” “The.”
You may remember Hugh Laurie as the actor who played Dr. Gregory House on the hit Fox television show “House.” House was a diagnostic genius who was always at odds with the red tape and inane procedures of the hospital bureaucracy. I have often daydreamed in VA waiting rooms of having a doctor like House rather than another tool of the medical establishment asking me if I have been bitten by any ticks recently. It’s not Lyme disease. It’s never Lyme disease.
Yes, Mr. Laurie is British. Yes, he has zero government experience. Yes, I am arguing that the VA would be better off being run by someone who “played a doctor on TV.” This country has been screwing over its vets for like 400 years or something, the least it could do is entertain us.
After dissecting Coach Bill Walsh’s incredibly complex playbooks for years, former 49ers and Chiefs great Joe Montana will have no problem quickly diagnosing the problems at the VA and picking apart regulatory defenses with his precision throws and great looks. And while you might argue that Tom Brady or Dan Marino were actually better quarterbacks, 1) you are wrong, 2) Brady is busy still playing, and 3) Dan Marino never won any Super Bowls. It's my list, and Joe Montana's gonna be on it.
Batman (as portrayed by Christian Bale)
Now, I know what you’re going to say: “Batman is a vigilante.” “Batman only works at night.” “Batman doesn’t exist.” It’s that kind of inside-the-box thinking that got us into this mess. While he doesn’t have military experience, he did receive overseas training as a ninja. And he has one, very important rule: no killing. That’s what the VA needs right now. He’s the secretary that the VA deserves. Or he's the one it needs. Something like that.
Fish is a low fat, high quality protein. Packed with vitamins like D (which is one of the best) and minerals (all of them, I'm pretty sure), it can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, and do other cool stuff. That's why I think fish is a great choice to be the next VA Secretary.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."