West Point alumni and Pentagon insider Jack Kammerer recently moved into a new role at VA as Director of VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment.
Former Army Lieutenant Colonel Jack Kammerer was recently selected as the new Director of VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment. This means he is in charge of the rehabilitation claims of disabled veterans across the country.
VA replaced Acting Director Margarita Devlin with this former Army commander and Pentagon insider. Curiously, VA chose an Army and Pentagon insider with zero experience over an actual Voc Rehab Counselor with ample training and experience in helping veterans get rehabilitated.
This perhaps indicates VA’s new focus on certain projects over the specific quality of the program over which Mr. Kammerer is now required to administer. Or, perhaps his selection will mark a “getting tough” period for both veterans and union employees.
A review of his background indicates he was a lifelong Army officer following graduation from West Point in 1984. Following the Army, he worked in the Pentagon and Capitol Hill prior to coming on board at VA as a Senior Advisor.
I ran a search for different media citations from or about Jack Kammerer to help us get some kind of impression of who he is as a leader. Perhaps there we can get an idea of the kind of policies he will push for as Director of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment. There is not a lot out there about the man, but we at least have a good starting point with what is below.
Recently, Mr. Kammerer testified to Congress about future changes he will likely implement within Voc Rehab. Most expensive among these will be transitioning Voc Rehab’s files system from paper to electronic. He will also ensure the recommendations of a recent scathing report from GAO will be explored.
In 2012, Mr. Kammerer provided input on how Army and VA are collectively improving VA’s transition program:
The EBenefits site will play a significant role ensuring a warm handoff. The site sill soon send out reminders as users hit key milestones in their transition as to what things they should be doing at that point to prepare, said VA Senior Advisor to the Secretary Jack Kammerer.
Read more on Jack Kammerer as VA Senior Advisor here…
In 2003, in the Army, Lt. Col. Jack Kammerer provided much fodder for media outlets during his command in Iraq. In the 3rd Infantry Division, Mr. Kammerer led the 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, with the 3-7 Battalion at the Baghdad Airport.
In one BBC report titled Iraqis reject US explanations, BBC reported on problems Jack Kammerer had in winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis:
Lieutenant Colonel Jack Kammerer is on a mission to “explain and offer help” to the people of Hai al-Muallimin, but it doesn’t seem to be going very well.
A few young Iraqi men and boys are gathered around his Bradley armoured vehicle, where a US Army lieutenant who speaks a few words of poor Arabic is causing some wry amusement.
But most residents are still too emotionally bruised to do anything except stare resentfully from a distance. Not that Colonel Kammerer is discouraged.
“After Saturday’s unfortunate event we were received here by an angry mob which chased us away… People seem less angry today,” he tells me.
Read more on Lt. Col. Jack Kammerer here…
Prior to Iraq, Mr. Kammerer served in Kosovo and Korea.
In high school at Grand Island, NY, he was known as Greg Kammerer. On Grand Island, he was involved in cross-country and a member of DeMolay, which is a youth group for the Masonic Lodge. Congressman John LaFalce provided Mr. Kammerer with the recommendation credited with his acceptance into West Point after graduation from high school.
LinkedIn has a brief summary of Mr. Kammerer’s experience and education.
Experience of Jack Kammerer
Dept of Veterans Affairs
- 2013-Present Director of Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
- 2011-2013 Senior Advisor
- 2011 Director of Stakeholder Engagement
- 2010-2011 Director of Strategic Initiatives and Integration
- 2009-2010 Army Senior Fellow
- 2007-2009 Legislative Assistant to Secretary of the Army
- 2007 Military Legislative Assistant to Senator John Cornyn
- 2005-2007 Legislative Assistant to Undersecretary of Army
- 1980-2005 Iraq, Kosovo, Korea
Education of Jack Kammerer
Tufts University – The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
2009-2010 Fellow, Senior Fellow
US Army Command and General Staff College
1994-1995 Masters in Military Art and Science
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
1992-1993 Master of Public Administration
United States Military Academy at West Point
1980-1984 BS, East Asian Studies
What do you think about Mr. Kammerer’s qualifications? Let us know if you think he has what it will take to reform VA’s troubled benefits program.