Secretary McDonald published a detailed road map for improvement in the Department of Veterans Affairs, called "The Road To Veterans Day 2014."
As an action plan, he details logical steps VA needs to take to overcome the 2014 Year of Scandals. Mostly, he addresses Veterans Health Administration issues. Of course, these have been the focus of most veterans this year.
He is far more brief on the problems before the Veterans Benefits Administration. Their backlog of claims is improving, but the systematic refusal to address exposure claims at the regional office level remains both an intrinsic and extrinsic ethical nightmare.
For what is termed the biggest remake of the Department in its history, there seems to be little structural change. We hope there is more significant moral improvement.
For 1334 days, VA has refused to acknowledge C-123 veterans' exposure to Agent Orange aboard our aged Vietnam War Agent Orange spray aircraft. This is done with predictable suffering, and as we saw again yesterday when news of Cliff Turcotte reached us, deaths as well.
VA continues to many to be seen as the agency which assured us, through Post Deployment Health's Chief Consultant Dr. Michael Peterson, that "We All Die." That was his sharp answer to veterans' requests for claims to be processed before their deaths.
That seems of minor concern to many in VBA and VHA.