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Obama's Cabinet
Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Eric Shinseki
12.19.08, 04:32 PM CST
10 of 18
‹‹ National Security Advisor - General James Jones Secretary of HHS - Tom Daschle ››

Retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, 66, formerly Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1999 to 2003, was selected by the President-Elect to be his Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs. Seen by some as a surprise pick, the selection is also viewed by some as a rebuke of President Bush’s Iraq policies.

In 2003, while still serving as Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Shinseki told a Congressional committee that Iraq would need hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops after the war. This idea was publicly opposed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. On “Meet the Press” shortly after Shinseki’s selection, Barack Obama said of Gen. Shinseki’s differences with Rumsfeld, “He was right.”

Gen. Shinseki is the first Asian-American four-star general and the first Asian-American to head one of the five U.S. military services. He grew up in Hawaii, served for 38 years active-duty in the Army after graduating from West Point in 1965, and served in the Vietnam War.

During his time as Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Shinseki was responsible for creating Stryker Interim-Force Brigade Combat Teams. The plan was devised to allow the Army to be more nimble in deployments and active in urban areas.


‹‹ National Security Advisor - General James Jones Secretary of HHS - Tom Daschle ››