Friday, March 13, 2009

An Open Letter to Veterans

An Open Letter to Veterans

From Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki

WASHINGTON (March 13, 2009) - Following is an open letter to Veterans
from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki:

"My name is Ric Shinseki, and I am a Veteran. For me, serving as
Secretary of Veterans Affairs is a noble calling. It provides me the
opportunity to give back to those who served with and for me during my
38 years in uniform and those on whose shoulders we all stood as we grew
up in the profession of arms.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs has a solemn responsibility to all
of you, today and in the future, as more Veterans join our ranks and
enroll to secure the benefits and services they have earned. I am fully
committed to fulfilling President Obama's vision for transforming our
department so that it will be well-positioned to perform this duty even
better during the 21st Century. We welcome the assistance and advice of
our Veterans Service Organizations, other government departments and
agencies, Congress, and all VA stakeholders as we move forward,
ethically and transparently, so that Veterans and citizens can
understand our efforts.

"Creating that vision for transforming the VA into a 21st Century
organization requires a comprehensive review of our department. We
approach that review understanding that Veterans are central to
everything VA does. We know that results count, that the department
will be measured by what we do, not what we promise, and that our best
days as an organization supporting Veterans are ahead of us. We will
fulfill President Lincoln's charge to care for ". . . him, who shall
have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan . . ." by
redesigning and reengineering ourselves for the future.

"Transforming any institution is supremely challenging; I know this from
my own experience in leading large, proud, complex, and high-performing
organizations through change. But the best organizations must be
prepared to meet the challenging times, evolving technology and, most
importantly, evolving needs of clients. Historically, organizations
that are unwilling or unable to change soon find themselves irrelevant.
You and your needs are not irrelevant.

"Veterans are our clients, and delivering the highest quality care and
services in a timely, consistent and fair manner is a VA responsibility.
I take that responsibility seriously and have charged all of the
department's employees for their best efforts and support every day to
meet our obligations to you. Our path forward is challenging, but the
President and Congress support us. They have asked us to do this
well-for you. Veterans are our sole reason for existence and our number
one priority-bar none. I look forward to working together with all VA
employees to transform our department into an organization that reflects
the change and commitment our country expects and our Veterans deserve.

"Thank you, and God bless our military, our Veterans, and our Nation."

Signed: Eric K. Shinseki

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