Philip Napoli is the chair of the History Department and an associate professor whose scholarship has focused on American war veterans. So naturally he had much to say about some of the challenges the incoming secretary of veteran’s affairs will face.

Denis McDonough served as the principal deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama and later became his chief of staff. Before working for the Obama administration, McDonough held staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and was credited with helping build bipartisan support for veteran’s legislation in Congress, including the Veteran’s Choice Act. Confirmed on March 8, McDonough has become only the second Veterans Affairs secretary who is not a veteran.

Check out Napoli’s thoughts.