Borne the Battle #181: The 2020 State of VA


Every year after the President’s State of the Union speech, the VA Secretary will give the State of VA speech. The State of VA proclaims the department’s successes from the previous year and outlines their priorities in the coming year.

This year, Secretary Robert Wilkie touted:

  • A 16 percentage point increase in female Veteran enrollments.
  • Leading the White House’s PREVENTS Task Force.
  • Cutting 8,000 VA employees in 2019 who did not meet the secretary’s performance standards.

The Secretary’s priorities for the coming year include:

  • MISSION ACT: Expanding caregiver benefits to those who served before 1975.
  • Suicide Prevention: Help charities, nonprofits, local and nongovernmental organizations find the 60% of the “20 Veterans a day” who have no contact with VA.
  • Roll out the Electronic Health Record: Providing a paperless healthcare transition from DoD to VA.
  • Continue to develop and lead medical research and development.
  • Create the first hospital that will fully employ the power of 5G technology.



#BtBattle Veteran of the Week: Army Veteran Greg Gadson

Michelle Cannon is a podcast intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement Team. She is currently a graduate at Liberty University studying Professional Writing.

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Tanner Iskra

Tanner Iskra joined the VA in 2018 and is the host of the VA’s podcast, “Borne the Battle.” He is a proud United States Marine Corps Veteran who served as an administrator, an intel analyst and as a combat videographer/photographer. During his military career he deployed to OIF III to spent time in many countries as part of the Black Sea Rotational Force. After leaving active duty, Tanner was a Senior Post Production Editor with NASCAR Productions. Tanner is a graduate of the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication and Media Studies and holds a Certificate in Military Motion Media from the Newhouse School of Journalism at Syracuse University.