James "Jim" Nicholson served as Secretary of Veteran Affairs from 2005 to 2007. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2001 to 2005. Secretary Nicholson was knighted by Pope John Paul II in October 2003 for his work representing the United States to the Vatican. Secretary Nicholson served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1997-2001. He currently serves as Senior Counsel for the law firm of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck and is a member of Homebuilders Hall of Fame. Secretary Nicholson is a U.S. Army Veteran, having honorably served during the Vietnam War and retiring at the rank of Colonel. Secretary Nicholson is a 1961 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.