VA’s Powers appointed the agency’s second in command

President Donald Trump has tapped Pamela J. Powers, currently chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to take on the additional role of VA deputy secretary.

Reporting to Robert Wilkie, secretary of the VA, Powers will now carry out the duties of both roles, according to a news release.

The VA says Powers has served the U.S. military for almost 30 years, including many with the Air Force as well as in the Department of Defense.

Her expertise is in executive-level management, policy development, strategic planning and programming, legislation, operations and communications, the VA says.

That background may be useful in the near future, as her appointment to VA deputy secretary comes the day after the agency announced a pause in its $16 billion project to roll out a Cerner-based electronic health record.

Before joining the VA around two years ago, Powers, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, oversaw operations for DoD’s Total Force Management in work related to readiness, health, training, personnel and management.