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.
Denis McDonough said that finding the right leaders for the department is among his first priorities in office.
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.
James Byrne served as VA’s second-highest ranking official before his firing last February.
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.