08/17/2019
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced Robert Wilkie, a native of Fayetteville, NC and Senior Advisor toSenator Tillis from 2015 until late 2017, at his nomination hearing to be Secretary of the VA.

Senator Tillis’ Statement:

Chairman Isakson, ranking member Tester and distinguished members of the committee, I am proud to introduce my friend and colleague Robert Wilkie as the nominee for Secretary of the VA.

 

I’ve had the honor of working with Robert for three years.  Sometimes he worked for me and other times I worked for him.  His combination of knowledge, humor, humility, and heart has endeared him to my staff and to scores of North Carolina constituents – including many servicemembers and veterans.

 

Robert was born in Frankfurt, West Germany the son of an Army artillery officer.  He literally grew up on Fort Bragg and he lived most of his early life in the Fort Bragg-Fayetteville area of North Carolina.  He received his BA from Wake Forest University and a JD from Loyola College of Law (New Orleans).

 

He received his Master of Laws from Georgetown University and his Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

Robert is an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force Reserve.  Previously he served in the Atlantic Intelligence Command and Joint Forces Intelligence Command and the United States Navy.

 

Robert has long been well regarded in Washington, especially here on Capitol Hill, and he’s developed close relationships with members on both sides of the aisle.  He has also forged excellent working relationships with committee staff and he is universally recognized as a team player and mentor.

 

Throughout his distinguished career in public service, Robert has also been a trusted advisor to some of our nation’s most respected leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, Donald Rumsfeld, and Jim Mattis.

 

Frankly, given his depth of experience, I was pleasantly surprised and very proud to have Robert accept a position with a newly sworn-in freshman senator.  But it was clear to me from the start that Robert was destined to serve our nation at a higher level.

 

Last year, Robert received that call from the administration when he was nominated to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.  Robert demonstrated his extraordinary skills in a short period of time, so it was no surprise to me that the administration identified him as a perfect fit to be Secretary of the VA.

 

When he was appointed to the acting role as VA Secretary, he quickly worked to improve morale at the VA, earning strong reviews and trust from VSOs, members of Congress, and VA staff.

 

He moved decisively to execute the electronic health record project, which we all know is a critical part of the VA transformation initiative. And he also successfully pushed the VA MISSION Act to the finish line.

 

Robert has all of the education and professional experience required of a Secretary of the VA.  But perhaps what makes Robert best suited to the job is his lifelong experience as an army brat and the personal experience as the son of a gravely wounded soldier and a service-member himself.

 

He has literally lived the experience, so I know that Robert will bring his professional experience and a personal insight and intensity to the role that will serve our veterans well.

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

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