Isakson Meets with VA Deputy Secretary Nominee James Byrne


U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., meets with James Byrne, nominee to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, on May 8, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today met with James Byrne, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The committee will hold a hearing on Byrne’s nomination next Wednesday, May 15.

“I enjoyed the chance to sit down with Mr. Byrne today to discuss how he plans to work with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to continue to lead the VA in a positive direction if confirmed as deputy secretary,” said Isakson. “As the federal government’s second-largest cabinet department continues to implement significant, transformative legislative reforms over the next several months, it is going to be crucial for the department’s leaders to ensure it is operating effectively, efficiently and in the best interest of our veterans. I look forward to chairing Mr. Byrne’s confirmation hearing next week.”

Trump announced his intent to nominate Byrne on April 8, and his nomination was received by the Senate on April 29. Byrne has been VA general counsel since August 2017, and added the duties of acting deputy secretary in August 2018.

The deputy secretary is the VA’s chief operating officer responsible for working in tandem with the secretary to oversee the VA’s nationwide system of health care services, benefits programs and national cemeteries for America’s veterans and their dependents.

Prior to joining the VA, Byrne served in Lockheed Martin Corp.’s legal department as the chief privacy officer and lead attorney for information technology, cyber security and counterintelligence. Byrne has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector, including service as a deployed Marine infantry officer and a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) international narcotics prosecutor. Byrne is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received an engineering degree and ultimately held the top leadership position of brigade commander.


The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 116th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as nearly 700,000 veterans.