Today, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking yet another step on transparency on its official actions, this time in the area of disclosing official travel by the Secretary.
Beginning today, the department is making public a list of Secretary Shulkin’s official travel taken since Jan. 20. This information is posted at www.va.gov/opa/secvatravel, and will be updated within five business days after the conclusion of an official trip.
The website lists:
Use of private aircraft by the Secretary (none to date)
Use of government aircraft by the Secretary
Itineraries (key events) of official international trips by the Secretary
Itineraries (key events) of official domestic trips by the Secretary (to be added by Oct. 15).
Secretary Shulkin pointed to the move as the fourth major step in long-sought transparency and accountability actions at VA, and noted that VA is once again the first federal agency to make such data public.
Earlier this year, under the Secretary’s direction, the VA began listing:
- Wait times and quality/satisfaction data at all VA medical centers (updated weekly)
- Adverse employee actions (updated weekly)
- Employee settlements (updated quarterly).
“Under this Administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government, and I’m pleased to take another step in that direction with this move,” Secretary Shulkin said. “Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know about my official travel as Secretary, and posting this information online for all to see will do just that.”
The information will also include what VA staff and spouses accompany him on each trip, if any, but for security reasons, members of the Secretary’s security detail will not be listed by name or number.