Among the names President Barack Obama should consider as a possible successor to Eric Shinseki is retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, according to The Hill.
Shinseki resigned Friday as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs because of the scandal over long delays in providing healthcare for veterans. Obama appointed VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson to take charge on an interim basis.
McChrystal, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was forced to step down
over critical remarks he made about the administration's handling of the conflict in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Lawrence Korb, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning think tank, who has written extensively about veterans issues said, "He is much more dynamic than Shinseki. McChrystal is fearless. And he's honest – that's what got him into trouble in the first place."
Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., put forth retiring Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma as "the best possible replacement" for Shinseki, The Huffington Post reported.
Other names listed by The Hill for Obama to consider are:
- Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who is a member of the Armed Services Committee. He is a graduate of West Point, served as an Army ranger, and if vacated his seat would safely remain Democratic. Michael Tanner, of the libertarian Cato Institute said, "I think Reed would get quite a lot of bipartisan support. He's very popular among his colleagues."
- Retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the former vice chief for the Army. He has been involved in advocating for veterans mental health as director at One Mind, said Alex Nicholson, the legislative director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He described Chiarelli as "a forward thinker."
- Retired Admiral Michael Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Observers of the veterans scene say Mullen has the contacts and background to reform the department.
- Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to have ever been elected to House. He is a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. Nicholson describes him as having been maybe even "tougher during the [VA] hearings than some of the Republicans."
The Washington Post also included Patrick Murphy on its list of suitable Shinseki replacements. The former Pennsylvania Democratic congressman served in the first Iraq war. He has a program on MSNBC called "Taking the Hill," that deals with veterans issues.
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