Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough on Tuesday announced a key Pentagon official to serve as his chief of staff, filling another open leadership post at the department.

Navy veteran Kimberly Jackson, who previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Readiness, will now step into the top advisor role for the Department of Veterans Affairs. In a statement, McDonough praised her as “a proven leader who has spent her life serving our nation and its veterans.”

Jackson steps into the role vacated by Tanya Bradsher, who last month became the first woman confirmed to the VA deputy secretary post. Unlike Bradsher’s new role, Jackson’s job does not require Senate confirmation.

In a statement, Jackson said she will “work every day to make sure our nation’s heroes get the world-class care and benefits they deserve.”

At the Pentagon, Jackson served as the principal advisor to the defense secretary on strategic and operational readiness. She had been in the post since January 2021.

She has held several other Defense Department leadership roles in the past, including policy director for Syria issues, planner for three special operations commands, and special assistant in the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation directorate.

Jackson served eight years as a Naval Reserve officer, holding assignments in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Naval Special Warfare, and the Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Studies Group.

With her appointment, VA’s top six leadership posts are filled with permanent officials for the first time since early 2014.

The department’s general counsel post, however, remains unfilled. Anjali Chaturvedi, who currently works as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department, was nominated by Biden for the top VA legal post in June 2022, but objections in the Senate have delayed her confirmation for months.

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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