Robert Wilkie was born on 6 August 1962. The son of an Army artillery commander he spent his youth at Fort Bragg. He has more than 20 years of experience at the national and international level. During the George W. Bush Administration, Mr. Wilkie served both Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld as Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009, and was the youngest senior leader in the Department.
Prior to his first Pentagon tour, he was Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and a senior director of the National Security Council under Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
Mr. Wilkie also has extensive experience in the United States Congress including recent service as Senior Advisor to Senator Thom Tillis as well as being Counsel and Advisor on International Security Affairs to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Honorable Trent Lott.
He had a five-year tour as Vice President for Strategic Programs for CH2M HILL one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms, where at various times he had program management and advisory assignments as diverse as the London 2012 and the reform and reorganization of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense Supply and Logistics System (DE&S).
Mr. Wilkie is a reserve officer in the United States Air Force Reserve assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff.
Prior to joining the Air Force, he served in the United States Navy Reserve with the Joint Forces Intelligence Command, Naval Special Warfare Group Two and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
A graduate of the College of Naval Command and Staff, Air Command and Staff College, the United States Army War College, and the Joint Forces Staff College, Mr. Wilkie has published articles in the Naval War College Review, Parameters, Armed Forces Journal International, The Air and Space Power Journal and Proceedings. He holds personal and unit decorations as well as the Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award of the Department.
Mr. Wilkie also shepherded the Senate confirmation process for James Mattis, Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen (CJCS) and was responsible for the preparation of General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Croker for their multiple appearances before the Congress in defense of the Iraqi Surge.
Mr. Wilkie holds an Honors degree from Wake Forest University; Juris Doctor from Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans; Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law from Georgetown University and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.
UPDATES: President Donald Trump Said He’ll Nominate Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie
In a surprise announcement that caught the candidate off-guard, President Donald Trump said he’ll nominate acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to permanently lead the beleaguered department.
Trump spilled the news about Wilkie at a White House event Friday on prison reform as he introduced Cabinet members in attendance. When Trump got to Wilkie, he said, “I’ll be informing him in a little while — he doesn’t know this yet — that we’re going to be putting his name up for nomination to be secretary.”
Trump added, “I’m sorry that I ruined the surprise.”
The president had already appeared impressed with Wilkie, saying publicly last month that he’s been doing a “great job” at VA. On Friday, Trump upped his assessment of Wilkie’s job performance to “incredible job.”
Wilkie has led the VA since Trump fired David Shulkin in March amid an ethics scandal and mounting rebellion within the agency. Trump then turned to Ronny Jackson, the Navy doctor who had been his personal physician, but Jackson abruptly withdrew last month amid allegations about his professionalism.
– Robert Wilkie Biography and Profile (Defense)