Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Interdisciplinary Studies


William J. Reckmeyer


Healthcare, issues, policy, strategy, Veterans Affairs

Subject Areas

Health care management; Military studies


The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the largest executive departments in the nation, providing essential financial and medical assistance to veterans and their families. As the VA continues to evolve and grow it is imperative to understand the department’s current capability constraints and how they arose in order to propose effective methods for addressing current issues and overcoming future policy pitfalls. The most critical issues presently facing the VA concern appalling increases in wait-times and backlogs for services, which have emerged since 9/11 and are primarily the result of growing numbers of disabled veterans from the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Much of the information and proposals regarding veteran benefits claims and conditions at VA hospitals focuses on current aspects of these issues. This thesis examines the growth of the VA since its inception and evaluates the results of policies over the course of recent decades in order to analyze the causes of current issues and offer several policy recommendations for enhancing strategic progress in resolving those issues.