What the Next Secretary of Veterans Affairs Should Do

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Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki addresses the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans Thursday in Washington, DC.

Now that Eric Shinseki has stepped down from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, local vets are weighing in on what his successor should do.

Derek Bennett is a former Army captain, and chief of staff at the New York-based Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He said Shinseki’s replacement will need to take a look at a number of issues.

“Everything from something as mundane as scheduling software, which is incredibly outdated…to looking at the actual structure of the V.A.,” he said.

President Obama has appointed Sloan Gibson, the department’s current deputy secretary, to step into Shinseki’s role on an interim basis.

Bennett said Shinseki’s permanent replacement must have certain qualifications.

“It needs to be someone who is charismatic, who’s politically savvy, and who can get confirmed quickly,” Bennett said, “as well as someone who gets the mandate and support from the president to actually go in and break the bureaucracy of the VA in order to reshape it.”

With The Associated Press