Today, our buddy, Pete Hegseth, chief executive of Concerned Veterans for America, teams up with California Congressman Duncan Hunter in the opinion pages of the Washington Post to call attention to the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs;
The VA also refuses to admit the severity of its problems. It claims that the average time for processing benefits applications is 273 days, more than nine months. But a recent report from the Center for Investigative Reporting, drawing on internal VA documents, found that this severely understates reality. The center found that the VA’s ability to provide service to veterans has “virtually collapsed” since 2009 and that wait times are, on average, closer to a year. In New York, Los Angeles and other metro areas, veterans typically wait more than 600 days for their claims to be processed. And in too many cases, veterans are dying before their claims are adjudicated — 53 each day on average.
We recognize that replacing a Cabinet secretary is a dramatic step. But few things are more important than honoring the commitments our nation has made to its veterans. The president and VA officials have said all the right things, but they have not delivered. Good intentions and rhetoric are not enough; results are what matter.
Since the problems at the VA did not arise overnight, merely replacing the secretary would not fix the underlying issues. The department needs a dynamic and uncompromising leader who will make bold reforms to a bloated and calcified bureaucracy and rethink the way we interact with and serve veterans of all generations. We need to learn from the private sector about customer service and efficiency and hold VA officials accountable to deliver on their mission.
Yeah, I think I speak for most of you when I say that the VA needs a serious housecleaning. Top down, and it’s Spring, so it’s time. Actually, a partially trained ape could do a better job that Shinseki has done. Any one can sit in front of cameras and mouth the same words over and over about how it’s his fault the system is failing veterans, and how it’s all going to get better if only we’ll be patient. There are people who comment on this blog who have been waiting more than three years – patient enough for you, Ric?
Shinseki was a Charlie Foxtrot as a general, so I don’t what led most of the veteran community to think that he wouldn’t be a cluster as a Secretary of Veterans Affairs. But he was chosen by the same guy who thought Joe Bite Me would make a good VeePee.