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Denis McDonough

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

PAVE leadership 1


Denis McDonough is the 11th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Secretary McDonough served in the Obama Administration as the 26th White House Chief of Staff from February 2013 to January 2017.

Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, Mr. McDonough was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from October 2010 to January 2013. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the National Security Council and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.

He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading the multiagency team to address complex challenges, including crisis management and national security policymaking. And throughout his service in the White House, Secretary McDonough helped lead the Obama-Biden administration’s work on behalf of military families and veterans.

Secretary McDonough grew up in Minnesota in a family of 11 children, graduated from St. Johns University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and earned his master’s degree from Georgetown University. Secretary McDonough and his wife, Kari, have three children.

Leadership Positions

  • Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • White House Chief of Staff (2013-2017)
  • Principal Deputy National Security Advisor (2010-2013)
  • Chief of Staff, National Security Council (2009-2010)