WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said his department “needs to be more welcoming to women veterans” and promised improvements at the bureaucracy in months to come.
“We are on the cusp of a great change,” Wilkie told veterans attending the inaugural meeting of the Military Women’s Coalition in Georgia on Friday. “This is not my father’s or my grandfather’s VA. It is now your VA. We have to change how we do business, and that means making the institution more welcoming.”
Wilkie did not offer specifics on policies or programs to “make sure the needs of our fighting women are taken care of,” but he did acknowledge that women veterans are the fastest growing demographic group under the department’s watch.
About 10 percent of the veterans population in America today are women, and that number is expected to rise above 17 percent in the next decade. Wilkie, who previously served as the Pentagon’s top personnel official, said more than 250,000 women service members are stationed throughout the world today.