Dr. Tommy Sowers was sworn in on August 20, 2012, as Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs (OPIA). As Assistant Secretary, Dr. Sowers represents and advises the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on matters relating to media relations, public affairs, and intergovernmental affairs. He directs departmental communications and oversees programs involving intergovernmental relations including homeless Veterans, consumer affairs, rehabilitative special events, VA’s Office for Tribal Governments, and the VA Outreach Office.
Prior to joining VA, Dr. Sowers was a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., where his work focused on advising clients on strategy, valuation and due diligence. Previously he served as senior advisor to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the largest non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. In 2010, he was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Representative in Missouri’s 8th congressional district. An 11-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Sowers began his military career in 1998, when he was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers. He first served in the 1st Infantry Division in Bamberg, Germany, where he led a combat engineering platoon in support of Peacekeeping Operations in Kosovo and represented the 1st ID in the Best Ranger and Armed Forces Eco Challenge. In 2004, Sowers graduated first in his class at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Between 2004-2006, Sowers deployed to Iraq twice as a Green Beret, leading and advising U.S. and Iraqi units on counterinsurgency operations. Between 2006 and 2009, Sowers served as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy. At West Point, Sowers taught courses on American Politics, Advanced American Politics, and Mass Media and Politics.
His military decorations include two Bronze Stars, Joint Service Commendation Medal, NATO Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Belgian Commando School, Military Freefall (HALO) and numerous Distinguished Honor Graduate awards.
A native of Rolla, Missouri, Dr. Sowers holds an AB degree in public policy from Duke University and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, where he was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He is married to Ericka Sowers.