VA chief of staff stepping down from leadership post next month

by Vern Evans

Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff Kimberly Jackson on Friday announced she will step down from the leadership role next month, creating another vacancy at the top of the department.

Jackson has served in the role for only eight months, but had previously served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for force readiness at the Pentagon since the start of President Joe Biden’s presidency. The chief of staff role at VA serves as the top advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary.

In a statement, Jackson said she is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside the dedicated women and men in the Department of Veterans Affairs in our mission of ensuring veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivors get the care and benefits they have earned and so richly deserve,” the statement said.

Her last day as the VA chief of staff will be July 13. VA officials have not yet announced a temporary or permanent successor.

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.

Her appointment to the senior VA post last fall meant the department had its six top department leadership jobs all filled for the first time since 2014.

That lasted for only seven months. Jackson’s departure comes almost one month after Under Secretary of Memorial Affairs Matthew Quinn stepped down from his role in the department. Ronald Walters has been serving as acting under secretary since Quinn’s exit.

Unlike the under secretary role, which requires Senate confirmation, the chief of staff post can be filled without prior approval from Congress.

Jackson’s predecessor, Tanya Bradsher, left the role to become VA Deputy Secretary.

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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