Trump’s VA Pick Is The First Non-Veteran For The Role

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David Shulkin, the Under Secretary of Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs, leaves a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in New York.
Associated Press photo by Evan Vucci

For the first time in its history the Department of Veterans Affairs will be headed by a non-veteran. While speaking at a press conference on Jan. 11, President-elect Donald Trump announced that David Shulkin, the current Under Secretary for Health at the VA, will take over as the department’s head if confirmed.


“One of the commitments I’ve made is that we’re going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans,” Trump said of the appointment during the press conference. “Our veterans have been treated horribly.”

Related: Dear President-Elect Trump, The Military Community Wants You To Address These Issues »

Shulkin has worked at the VA, the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system with over 1,700 care sites serving 8.7 million veterans a year, since 2015 and comes to the post with extensive experience in the department and in medicine.

The selection of Shulkin comes as a surprise to some, in part because of his civilian background, and due to his tenure under the Obama administration. Shulkin was handpicked by President Barack Obama in March 2015 following the retirement of the previous undersecretary amid the wait time scandal at Phoenix, Arizona VA hospitals.

Shulkin will replace the current secretary of the VA, Robert McDonald, himself an Army veteran.

"He’s fantastic,” Trump said of Shulkin. “He will do a truly great job.”

The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.

Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.

A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.

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White House/Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.

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Capt. Tranay Lashawn Tanner. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.

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(DoD photo)

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."

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