According to a former top VA official, the VA’s future “is not particularly bright” largely because of rising medical costs and aging infrastructure, reports Government Executive. Kenneth Kizer, a former VA undersecretary and now a member of the Commission on the Future of America’s Veterans, speaking in Washington at a New America Foundation forum, indicated that the reforms—many of which he generated—that have made VA a model for quality care and customer satisfaction may fall away as “economics” drive “some very difficult decision-making down the road.” A major problem, as he sees it, is that VA appropriations are at the mercy of lawmakers, who typically don’t want to let VA close old, unneeded hospitals in favor of newer facilities in other locations. Kizer said the commission plans to recommend creation of a new government-chartered entity not hampered by the annual appropriations process to manage vet healthcare.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."