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Nicholson Resigns from VA
Military.com  |  July 18, 2007
Jim Nicholson has tendered his resignation today from his post as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, effective no later than October 1, 2007.

Making the announcement via press release, VA officials outlined the following accomplishments that took place on the current secretary's watch:  “Under Nicholson’s leadership, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continued its evolution as a leader in health care innovations, medical research, education services, home loan and other benefits to veterans.  He transformed the VA health care system to meet the unique medical requirements of the returning combatants from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“The VA is a dynamic organization dedicated to serving our nation’s finest citizens -- our veterans,” Nicholson said.  “It has been an honor and privilege to lead the VA during this historic time for our men and women who have worn the uniform.  We have accomplished so much and the VA is always striving to improve our services to veterans.”

Nicholson intends to return to the private sector in time.  “This coming February, I turn 70 years old," he said, "and I feel it is time for me to get back into business, while I still can.”

But in spite of the kudos listed in the VA’s press release, Nicholson’s legacy is tainted by a high-profile scandal.  Social Security numbers and other personal information for as many as 2.2 million U.S. military personnel were among the data on an electronic file stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs analyst in May of 2006.  During Congressional testimony, Secretary Jim Nicholson said the VA would offer free ID theft protection for one year to those affected by the theft.  Once the data was recovered, however, the VA rescinded the offer.

In the press release the VA made no indication who Nicholson’s successor might be.  An email request to the VA went unanswered as of press time.

"My sincere desire is that Secretary Nicholson's replacement is a true veterans' advocate,” said Larry Scott, Military.com columnist and founder of VA Watchdog dot org.“The VA needs a dynamic leader to ensure proper care and benefits for the nation's veterans, not just another political appointee being rewarded for loyalty."

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