Posts Tagged ‘veteran’
June 30th, 2014 at 2:08 pm
Obama Goes Outside Military Brass, Medical Community for New VA Chief

Robert McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, is President Barack Obama’s nominee to run the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs.

McDonald’s nomination is catching some in the veterans’ community off-guard. Unlike previous VA Secretaries, he’s not a general – though he did graduate from West Point and serve for five years as an Army paratrooper before jumping to P&G.

He’s also neither a medical doctor, nor does he have experience administering a hospital; traits that some think would be useful for a person stepping into the nation’s largest health system with 1,700 facilities.

Indeed, the case being made for McDonald is that his background in brand management and customer service signals that Obama thinks the main problem at the VA is bad leadership.

Which brings us to an interesting question – Is McDonald’s job just to make the VA’s public face more attractive, or is it to get the sprawling department into tip-top, customer satisfaction shape?

The answer depends on how much latitude President Obama is giving McDonald to operate. For example, in places like Phoenix where staff and administrators falsified records to get performance bonuses, does McDonald have the authority to fire and hire political appointees as well as career civil servants? Does he have the flexibility to outsource patients to private medical providers in regions where the VA hospitals are overbooked?

Senate Republicans should ask McDonald these and other questions during his confirmation hearings. Veterans and their families deserve to know whether the VA’s new chief has the power to be a turnaround artist, or just a place warmer.

November 11th, 2011 at 6:58 pm
A Revolutionary War Veteran’s Reminder

With Quin’s column this week reminding us of the lessons to learn from the War of 1812 (though the battle he writes about occurred in 1815), it’s nice to a plug for the Revolutionary War heroes flow from Eliot Cohen’s pen in today’s Wall Street Journal.  After recounting some of the highlights from America’s 200 years of military intrigue along the “Great Warpath” from Albany to Quebec, Cohen ends his masterful treatment with this poignant command from one of our nation’s first veterans:

One of the relics carefully preserved at the Fort Ticonderoga museum is the knapsack of Benjamin Warner, a some time soldier during the Revolution who, like many of his fellow citizens, fought, went home and returned to fight again, and not once but half a dozen times. Fifty years later, he left the battered canvas bag to his oldest son, with instructions to transmit it “to the latest posterity. And whilst one shred of it shall remain, never surrender your liberties to a foreign invader or an aspiring demagogue.” In this age of uncertainty and self-doubt, that spirit is yet another legacy of the Great Warpath worth pondering.

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