Statement by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates on Resignation of Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey and Walter Reed Army Medical Center
SEC GATES: Good afternoon, I have two announcements to make. First, earlier today Secretary of the Army Dr. Fran Harvey offered his resignation. I have accepted his resignation.
Undersecretary of the Army Pete Geren will serve as acting secretary until a new secretary is in place. I thank Dr. Harvey for his distinguished service to the department and to the nation.
Second, later today the Army will name a new permanent commander for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. This flagship institution must have its new leadership in place as quickly as possible.
I am disappointed that some in the Army have not adequately appreciated the seriousness of the situation pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed. Some have shown too much defensiveness and have not shown enough focus on digging into and addressing the problems.
Also, I am concerned that some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care. And that addressing their concerns about the quality of their outpatient experience is critically important. Our wounded soldiers and their families have sacrificed much and they deserve the best we can offer.
Finally, I want to reaffirm my confidence in the staff at Walter Reed and their professionalism and dedication to providing caring treatment. From what I have learned, the problems at Walter Reed appear to be problems of leadership. The Walter Reed doctors, nurses and other staff are among the best and most caring in the world. They deserve our continued deepest thanks and strongest support. Thank you.
PRESS: Did you ask for his resignation, sir?
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