President Joe Biden has tapped the second-ranking official at the National Collegiate Athletic Association to serve as the second-highest official at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Donald Remy, an Army veteran with long ties to both Biden and former President Barack Obama, was nominated Friday as VA’s deputy secretary.

If confirmed, he will be only the second Black veteran to serve in that leadership role. VA Secretary Denis McDonough in recent weeks has promised that his leadership team will underscore the president’s “seriousness about diversity and inclusion” at the department.

He will also be the first Senate-confirmed holder of the post in more than a year. Carolyn Clancy has been serving in the role in an acting capacity since the start of Biden’s presidency. The last Senate-confirmed deputy was James Byrne, who was fired by then Secretary Robert Wilkie in February 2020.

Remy is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Howard University School of Law, and spent four years in the Army. During his time in uniform, he served as assistant to the Army General Counsel, handling a host of legal and policy issues. He later worked as deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department.

Remy worked for the Federal National Mortgage Association (better known as Fannie Mae) for six years in the early 2000s, before the corporation was taken over by the government following the 2007 recession and mortgage crisis.

In 2009, Remy was selected by Obama to serve as general counsel for the Army, but was forced to withdraw his nomination after failing to include his Fannie Mae experience on official government forms.

He joined the NCAA a few years later, where he has held a variety of roles, including chief legal officer. That has put him at the center of a number of widely publicized legal fights for the sports association, including whether college athletes should receive more compensation for their work.

Remy’s nomination is the second major VA leadership announcement made by the White House this month. Earlier, officials named retired Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn as the pick to take over as VA’s Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs.

Two other major department posts — the Under Secretary for Health and Under Secretary for Benefits — remain without official nominations. The department is undergoing a formal search for the health post, as mandated under federal statute.

A confirmation hearing for Remy and Quinn is expected later this spring.

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

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