VA Announces Leadership Changes

The VA announced four key leadership changes that will soon take effect at the agency.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced several key leadership changes today that will “take effect shortly.”

The leadership changes are as follows:

  • Pamela Powers will become VA Chief of Staff. Powers is a retired Air Force Colonel and previously served with Secretary Wilkie as the Chief of Staff for the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness;
  • Peter O’Rourke will become a Senior Advisor at VA. O’Rourke previously served as VA Chief of Staff, and most recently was Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  • Jacquelyn Hayes-Byrd will become Acting Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration. She was previously VA Deputy Chief of Staff, and served most recently as Acting Chief of Staff at VA.
  • Chris Syrek will become VA Deputy Chief of Staff. Syrek was previously Executive Director of State and Local Government Relations, and served most recently as Acting Deputy Chief of Staff at VA.

According to the VA, the changes “will build upon a strong current team that will continue to carry out the priorities of President Trump and newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie.”

Secretary Wilkie said of the leadership changes, “President Dwight Eisenhower had this to say about leadership, ‘You have got to have something in which to believe. You have got to have leaders, organization, friendships, and contacts that help you to believe that, and help you to put out your best,’ Our Veterans deserve the best, and that is what we are doing by bringing together a talented leadership team to serve them at VA.”

Stars and Stripes reporter Nikki Wentling tweeted a copy of a memo today in which she said that the VA’s new Secretary Robert Wilkie “is taking away some decision-making authority from the VA Chief of Staff while he reviews what to delegate to who.”

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.