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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Michael Cardarelli

Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits

Michael Cardarelli

Michael Cardarelli was appointed Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs on Jan. 2, 2011. In this position, he serves as second in command in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), which administers benefits programs for veterans, including education, home loan guaranty, compensation, pension, vocational rehabilitation and employment and life insurance through a nationwide network of 57 regional offices, special processing centers, and VBA Headquarters. These benefit programs pay out over $47 billion to veterans and their beneficiaries annually, approximately half of VA's total budget.

Prior to his appointment, he served the VA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits since January 2010. Previously, he served as VA's Deputy Chief of Staff since May 2009. In that role, Mr. Cardarelli worked closely with the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief of Staff in managing day-to-day operations of the federal government's second-largest Cabinet department, with some 286,000 employees serving veterans at VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices and national cemeteries throughout the country.

Prior to joining the VA, Mr. Cardarelli served as the Director of Medical and Health Affairs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower. He also served as the principal adviser to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for all matters pertaining to medical and health related activities. In addition, he was directly responsible for providing oversight, review and analysis of all Army programs and policies concerning health care, medical force readiness, medical personnel management, wounded warrior treatment, and physical disability evaluation.

Mr. Cardarelli, the son of a career Army non-commissioned officer, was commissioned in the Infantry following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy. Throughout his military career, he served in a variety of command and staff positions in the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and the 25th Infantry Division. He also served as a strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Army Staff and as a National Security Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University in California. In addition, he served as a Legislative Fellow to Virginia Senator Charles Robb. Other assignments include Executive Officer to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower; Military Aide to the Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command; and Executive Officer to the Commanding General, United States Army Pacific Command.

Mr. Cardarelli holds a Bachelor degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Master's degrees from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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