Executive Profiles

Robert Wilkie, VA Secretary

Robert Wilkie

Robert Wilkie, VA Secretary

Robert Wilkie, a past Wash100 winner, is the current Department of Veterans Affairs secretary, a role which he initially assumed on an acting capacity for two months before his confirmation on July 23, 2018. 

Prior to his appointment as VA secretary, Wilkie was the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, serving under former Defense Secretary James Mattis. The said role effectively established Wilkie as the principal adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense for total force management relative to readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training and personnel requirements and management, VA said

Wilkie’s decades-long federal career extends to his time serving as assistant secretary of defense to Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates during the George W. Bush administration. Under the same administration, Wilkie served as a special assistant to the president for national security affairs and senior director of the National Security Council, reporting to then State Secretary Condoleezza Rice. Over at the legislative branch, he was named senior adviser to Sen. Thom Tills and counsel and adviser on international security affairs to Sen. Trent Lott, the former Senate majority leader.

Currently, Wilkie is ranked as a colonel and is enlisted in the Air Force Reserve under the Office of the Chief of Staff. He also rendered service as part of the Navy Reserve, along with the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, Naval Special Warfare Group Two and the Office of Naval Intelligence.

During his time in the private sector, Wilkie spent five years as vice president for strategic programs for CH2M HILL, where he held management and advisory assignments for the London 2012 Summer Olympics and the reorganization of the U.K. Ministry of Defense Supply and Logistics. The Jacobs Engineering Group acquired CH2M HILL in December 2017 for $3.27B.

Wilkie earned his juris doctor from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, a master of laws in international and comparative law from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Army War College. 

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