Robert Gates: Veterans Affairs Most 'Intractable' Bureaucracy in Washington

On Wednesday’s broadcast of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” host Jon Stewart interviewed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, author of the new book “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” explained why there are difficulties with the Department of Veterans Affairs and its bureaucracy:

“I write in the book that the only bureaucracy in Washington that is even more intractable than the Department of Defense is Veterans Affairs,” Gates said. “And I think you can have a very effective secretary like Gen. [Eric] Shinseki, who is the secretary now and has been since the beginning of the administration, who was absolutely committed to getting things right. But getting it down through that bureaucracy and getting people to change the way they do business is very difficult. But there’s another aspect to it and it brings us back to one of the principle culprits, and that’s the Congress. The Congress has micromanaged Veterans Affairs in such a way that changing anything that has to do with dealing veterans requires literally an act of Congress.”

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