How a military promotion could complicate Dr. Ronny Jackson's VA nomination

President Donald Trump's nomination of White House physician Ronny Jackson, MD, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs has been complicated by his simultaneous promotion to two-star admiral, according to The Washington Post.

President Trump nominated Dr. Jackson for the promotion in late March, but he cannot stay on active duty and also direct the VA. A Senate aide told The Washington Post that lawmakers are confused on how to proceed with the dual nomination tasks. Dr. Jackson will retire from active duty upon assuming the role of VA secretary, but he stands to gain nearly $1 million in pension benefits if the Senate confirms his promotion before retiring.

"This whole situation is very much out of the norm," the unnamed Senate aide told The Washington Post. "There's some question here whether [Dr. Jackson's] flag officer nomination will move forward given his VA nomination. It's all [to be determined], because he can't serve in both positions concurrently, so it wouldn't make sense for the Senate to move the nominations concurrently."

Dr. Jackson's nomination has faced criticism over his lack of formal management experience, but he believes his military career has adequately prepared him for the job's responsibilities.

"I've been in leadership school for 23 years now," Dr. Jackson told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, ". . . and I've been able to rise to the level of an admiral, a flag officer in the Navy. I didn't just stumble into that. So I've gotten a lot of leadership background, I've got a lot of leadership experience as a Navy officer, and I've got a lot of day-to-day leadership experience. You know, I'm not just an officer in the Navy; I'm an emergency medicine physician in the military. I've been confronted on a day-to-day basis with life-and-death decisions."

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