The VA announced on Tuesday that its top political strategist, Jim Mone, has been hired to help build “a robust public diplomacy program for the VA” to counter the perception that the agency is a secretive agency.
Mone has been working with the agency for about two years on the project, which he has called a “transformational opportunity” that will be “designed to engage the public, and strengthen VA leadership and service to the community.”
He will work with VA officials to “engage the media, the public and the private sector in a concerted effort to counter narratives that VA leadership is a closed and secretive institution.”
Mone’s hiring follows the appointment of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki as acting chief of staff, which was announced in January.
Mones is not the first VA political operative to head up the public diplomacy project.
Former VA Secretary John McHugh was the deputy director of the VA Public Affairs Office under former VA Chairman Dr. Byron Scott.
Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb also served as VA deputy chief of counsel and a senior policy adviser in the past.
The VA is currently conducting a review of the public relations effort after a recent inspector general report called the VA’s approach to public relations “disastrous.”