Iraq War veteran Allison Jaslow was named the new CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Monday, giving the organization its first female leader and making her the first openly gay individual to lead a major U.S. veterans organization.
Jaslow, who previously served as executive director of the group, will replace departing CEO Jeremy Butler, who has served in the role since 2019.
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, Jaslow is only the third CEO in the organization’s history.
Group founder Paul Rieckhoff praised Jaslow as “the right leader to guide IAVA into its 20th year of impact.” The two worked closely together in IAVA leadership before his departure four years ago.
“IAVA’s groundbreaking work has always been a team effort,” he said in a statement. “Allison has been a part of that team as a staff member, a board member, and no one will be more dedicated to the organization’s work as its next CEO.”
In her previous work with the group, Jaslow spearheaded the organization’s “She Who Borne the Battle” campaign, which highlighted the contributions and needs of women veterans.
She’ll take over as debate over changing the Department of Veterans Affairs male-focused motto continues. Advocacy groups have pushed for more inclusive language for years, but administration officials have not yet made any changes.
Jaslow served two combat tours in Iraq with the Army. She has also worked in multiple Capitol Hill posts and recently served as an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
In a statement, Jaslow said that she is “honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be in the fight again for such an important mission, to lead IAVA into its next decade of impact.”
Women veterans are one of the fastest growing groups within the veterans community in America today, projected to make up nearly one in every five veterans in America by 2040. That number was just one in every 20 veterans in 2000.
But the Department of Veterans Affairs has received criticism in recent years for uneven progress in providing medical care and community support specifically for women.
Jaslow’s first official day in the role will be March 15. IAVA officials are scheduled to present their legislative priorities for the year to lawmakers at joint House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees hearing on March 1.
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.