Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs
Ronald E. Walters was named Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs (USMA), for the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) effective January 20, 2021. Mr. Walters also continues to serve as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary, a position to which he was appointed in 2009.
As the Acting USMA, Mr. Walters oversees the maintenance and operation of 155 VA national cemeteries in providing dignified burial services for military Veterans and eligible family members. His responsibilities include overseeing design and construction activities related to the establishment of new VA national cemeteries; managing memorial programs including the provision of headstones, markers, medallions and Presidential Memorial Certificates; and administering federal grants to states and territories including tribal trust lands, Guam, and Saipan. There are currently 118 grant-funded Veterans cemeteries.
Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs
Ronald E. Walters was named the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, effective January 2009. From June 2014 through December 2017, Mr. Walters led the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) in roles as interim and acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. Prior to his position as Principal Deputy Under Secretary, Mr. Walters served as NCA's Deputy Under Secretary for Finance and Planning and Chief Financial Officer from July 2006.
As Principal Deputy Under Secretary, Walters helps lead VA national cemeteries in providing dignified burial services for military Veterans and eligible family members. His responsibilities also include: maintaining the cemeteries as national shrines; land acquisition, design, construction, and other activities relating to the establishment of new national cemeteries; overseeing other memorial programs to honor the service of deceased Veterans, including provision of headstones, markers, medallions and Presidential Memorial Certificates; and administering federal grants to help states, territories and tribal governments establish Veterans cemeteries.
Burial in a VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable, and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death.
A Veteran's spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.
VA provides the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite at no cost to the family.
VA operates 155 national cemeteries and 34 soldiers' lots and monument sites in 42 states and Puerto Rico. More than 4 million Americans, including Veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA's national cemeteries. VA also provides funding to establish, expand, improve and maintain 118 Veterans cemeteries in 48 states and territories including tribal trust lands, Guam, and Saipan. For Veterans not buried in a VA national cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to commemorate their service. In 2017, VA honored more than 361,892 Veterans and their loved ones with memorial benefits in national, state, tribal and private cemeteries.
Information on VA burial benefits is available from local VA national cemetery offices, from the Internet at www.cem.va.gov, or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000. To make burial arrangements at any open VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.
Mission, Vision & Purpose
Mission: NCA honors Veterans and their eligible family members with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service and sacrifice to our Nation.
Vision: As the model of excellence for burial and memorials for our Nation's Veterans and their families, NCA ensures that No Veteran Ever Dies.
- To provide burial space for Veterans and their eligible family members.
- To maintain national cemeteries as national shrines, sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized there.
- To mark Veterans' graves with a Government-furnished headstone, marker or medallion and to provide Presidential Memorial Certificates in recognition of their service to a grateful nation.
- To administer grants for establishing or expanding state and tribal government veterans cemeteries.
Customer Service Standards: Our Commitment to You
We will strive to provide service that meets or exceeds the following standards:
We will treat you with respect, dignity and compassion every time you interact with any National Cemetery Administration employee.
We will provide gravesite locator assistance that is accessible, current and accurate at each national cemetery.
We will provide a toll-free telephone line for you to make inquiries about headstone and marker orders. Your call will be answered by a Customer Service Representative within three minutes.
Prompt Delivery of Service and Benefits
We will confirm eligibility and schedule your committal service within two hours of the request.
We will set headstones and markers at national cemeteries within 60 days of interment.
We will deliver headstones and markers to recipients other than national cemeteries within 60 days of receipt of your application.
We will mail Presidential Memorial Certificates to families of eligible Veterans within 45 days of the Veterans' death information being reported to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Accuracy - Doing it Right
We will provide a headstone or marker that is correctly inscribed.
We will replace a headstone or marker that is damaged or incorrectly inscribed within 30 days of notification.
We will replace a Presidential Memorial Certificate that is incorrectly inscribed within 20 days of notification.
We will maintain the appearance of VA's national cemeteries in a manner befitting a national shrine.
We will seek every opportunity to provide you with accurate and timely information about burial benefits and services.
Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials
Committee Designation: The Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials is a statutory committee authorized by Congress (Public Law 93-43, June 18, 1973) and that authorization is codified in Title 38 United States Code, Section 2401.
Objectives and Scope of Activities: To furnish consultation and advice to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs regarding the administration of the national cemeteries, soldier's lots and plots which are the responsibility of the Secretary, and regarding the selection of new national cemetery construction sites, the erection of appropriate memorials and the adequacy of Federal funding for operation of the National Cemetery Administration.