Robert Wilkie Sworn in as VA Secretary

Robert Wilkie Sworn in as VA Secretary

President Donald Trump pumps his fist alongside Robert Wilkie after he was sworn-in as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, alongside his wife Julia, in the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Robert Wilkie, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve, took his oath to become the Secretary of Veterans Affairs during a Monday ceremony in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump.

Wilkie brings his experience of more than 20 years serving the nation, including roles with Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld and with the National Security Council Secretary Condoleezza Rice.

President Donald Trump praised Wilkie during the ceremony and highlighted his military service.

"Since day one, my administration has been focused on serving the men and women who make freedom possible: our great veterans," Trump said. " These American heroes deserve only the best, and they will have it under Robert Wilkie.  I have no doubt about it." 

[Related: Wilkie Lays Out 5 VA Priorities During Confirmation Hearing]

In March, Wilkie was appointed as the acting VA secretary when former secretary David Shulkin was forced out. During the confirmation process, Wilkie stepped down as acting VA secretary and served as the Defense Department's undersecretary for personnel and readiness.

The VA healthcare system includes 1,700 centers that care for more than 9 million people.

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA's staff writer. She can be reached at amandad@moaa.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA