Anthony Principi, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, 2001-2005

Anthony J. Principi was nominated to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President George W. Bush on December 29, 2000, was confirmed by the Senate on January 23, 2001 and served on the President's Cabinet until January 2005.

As Secretary, Mr. Principi directed the federal government's second largest department, responsible for a nationwide system of health care services, benefits programs, and national cemeteries for America's veterans and dependents. With a budget of more than $51 billion, VA employed approximately 219,000 people at hundreds of VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices, and national cemeteries throughout the country.

Prior to his nomination, Mr. Principi was president of QTC Medical Services, Inc., a group of professional service companies providing independent medical examinations and administration. During the past decade, he was senior vice president at Lockheed Martin IMS, and a partner in the San Diego law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps.

A combat-decorated Vietnam veteran, Mr. Principi has worked on national policy issues and has held several executive-level positions in federal government throughout his career. He chaired the Federal Quality Institute in 1991 and was chairman of the Commission on Servicemembers and Veterans Transition Assistance established by Congress in 1996.

Mr. Principi served as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA's second-highest executive position, from March 17, 1989, to September 26, 1992, when he was named Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President George Bush. He served in that position until January 1993. Following that appointment, he served as Republican chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

From 1984 to 1988, he served as Republican chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. He was the Veterans Administration's assistant deputy administrator for congressional and public affairs from 1983 to 1984, following three years as counsel to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Principi is a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., and first saw active duty aboard the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy. He later commanded a River Patrol Unit in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

Mr. Principi earned his law degree from Seton Hall University in 1975 and was assigned to the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps in San Diego, Calif. In 1980, he was transferred to Washington as a legislative counsel for the Department of the Navy.