Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, will step down from his role leading the organization in coming months, group officials announced on Tuesday.
The move follows a string of successes for the group on major legislative priorities over the past year, including passage of new benefits for burn pit victims in the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (better known as the PACT Act).
“This feels like the perfect right time both for me personally and professionally for the organization for a change,” he said in an interview with Military Times. “I’m so unbelievably proud of what the team has accomplished.
“The organization itself is in incredibly stable shape, and as we shift into the next phase of advocacy, following the withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s the perfect time for a fresh leader to take over with renewed energy.”
IAVA has been a key voice in veterans issues — particularly the younger generation — since its founding in 2004. Unlike most of the legacy veterans organizations, which have leadership changes annually, Butler is only the second CEO in the organization’s history, taking over from founder Paul Rieckhoff in 2019.
Butler is among the most prominent minority voices in the veterans community, and has used his leadership role in recent years to advocate for issues like expanded benefits for women veterans, LGBT veterans and other traditionally underserved groups.
But the organization has also maintained a focus on issues related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Butler said one of the challenges facing IAVA in coming years will be continuing to keep those topics in the American public’s consciousness following the end of military overseas operations in Afghanistan last summer.
“We’re more than 20 years beyond Sept. 11, and you have to continue to remind the country that veterans are still an integral part of our society, and that we have to continue to take care of them,” he said.
“It’s a never ending battle to remind the country, to remind Congress, and frankly, sometimes remind the Department of Veterans Affairs as to how important it is that we continue to keep the promises that we make to our military and to our veterans.”
Butler will help lead the search for his replacement in coming months. Group officials have not set a timeline on how long that process may take.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.