Vice President, Board of Directors
During his four-year tenure (2001-2005) as Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, New-York-born Anthony Principi directed the Federal government’s second largest department, responsible for a nationwide system of healthcare services, benefits programs, and national cemeteries for America’s 25 million living veterans and dependents. Commanding a budget in excess of $71 billion, Mr. Principi led an organization of 230,000 employees in hundreds of VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices, and national cemeteries throughout the country.
In 2007, wanting to continue his service to America’s veterans, Mr. Principi joined the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) board of directors and was appointed to the position of vice president in 2011. He calls his service a privilege, saying his favorite part is the opportunity “to serve with an extraordinary group of men and women who are passionate about the mission of Wounded Warrior Project.”
A Navy veteran, Mr. Principi is a 1967 graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and first saw active duty aboard the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy. He later commanded a River Patrol Unit in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. During his service in Southeast Asia, Mr. Principi was awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” for valor and several other military decorations for valor.
Upon returning from Vietnam, Mr. Principi earned his law degree from Seton Hall University in 1975 and was assigned to the Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps in San Diego, California. In 1980, he was transferred to Washington, DC as a legislative counsel for the Department of the Navy.
From 1984 to 1988, he served as Republican chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, following three years as counsel to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mr. Principi served as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA’s second-highest executive position, from March 17, 1989 to September 26, 1992, when President George H.W. Bush named him Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He served in that position until January 1993. Following that appointment, he served as Republican chief counsel and staff director of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
Mr. Principi was chairman of the Commission on Service Members and Veterans Transition Assistance established by Congress in 1996. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on December 29, 2000, and was confirmed by the Senate on January 23, 2001 to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Prior to his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Principi was senior vice president at Lockheed Martin IMS and a partner in the San Diego law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton, & Scripps. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to chair the 2005 military Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). The commission was responsible for recommending to the President and Congress the realignment and closure of military installations throughout the United States.