Cabinet Profiles: Denis McDonough: Secretary Of Veterans Affairs

The hearings for President Joe Biden‘s Cabinet nominations continue today.

We will hear testimony from his picks to lead all of his cabinet positions over the next several weeks. We will profile the nominees in advance of their hearings so our readers will have some background information as the proceedings take place.

In addition, most of the hearings will be live-streamed, and we will share that information on our Twitter feed once the hearings go live.


Denis McDonough

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • White House Chief of Staff, Deputy National Security Advisor, and Chief of Staff of the National Security Council during the Obama-Biden Administration
  • While at the National Security Council, McDonough made a point of going into the field regularly to meet directly with service members in Afghanistan and Iraq

From February 2013 to January 2017, Denis McDonough served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama.

In that role, he managed the White House staff, and worked across the Cabinet, to advance the Obama-Biden agenda, confronted management issues facing the federal government, and devised and enforced plans, performance and goals, maintaining the Obama-Biden Administration’s reputation for effective, ethical operation.

Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, from September 2010 until February 2013, McDonough was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading a multiagency team to address complex national security challenges, including crisis management and national security policy making.

Prior to his eight-year tenure in the White House, McDonough served in senior leadership and policy-making positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, as Professional Staff Member on the International Relations Committee, and in the U.S. Senate, for the Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and for Senator Ken Salazar (CO).

McDonough grew up in Minnesota in a family of 11 children, went to college at St. John’s University (MN) and to graduate school at Georgetown University.



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