This series of articles addresses various notable figures in veterans organizations. At the time of the publication of this article, Melissa Bryant is the Chief Policy Officer of IAVA, which is an advocacy organization for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. The goal of IAVA is to provide support to Veterans and their families, and work on policy issues that affect Veterans. Since its founding, IAVA has grown into a large organization with more than 400,000 members.
Before joining IAVA, Melissa served as an intelligence officer in the military and in the federal government, where she was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She has worked in important leadership roles at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Joint Staff (JS), US Military Academy (USMA), and Army Intelligence. She was proactive in forming coalitions to promote operational and strategic goals and in formulating and implementing policies and plans for the defense and intelligence sectors.
As an ROTC Distinguished Graduate with a BA in Political Science from Hampton University, an LLM from Howard University's School of Law, and an MA in Policy Management from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Melissa is well-versed in international affairs.
What is IAVA (Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America)?
IAVA is an American nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides advocacy and support for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. IAVA was founded in 2004 by Paul Rieckhoff, who served as a platoon leader in the Iraq War. The organization's mission is to improve the quality of life for all Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and their families. IAVA provides various services to its members, including free mental health care, job counseling, and community events.
The organization's mission is to ensure that all Veterans have access to the resources they need to succeed after military service, including healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.
IAVA Membership and Staff
The Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is a membership-based organization with a staff composed of Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military family members, and civilians. As IAVA's mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and their families, the organization provides support for members through its website, online community, and network of local chapters.
IAVA also has a staff of experts who work to further the organization's mission. One of the forerunning staff members is Melissa Bryant.
Melissa Bryant’s Achievements at IAVA
Since Melissa Bryant took up her first role at IAVA, she has swiftly moved up the ranks to hold more powerful roles within the organization. She was appointed the Chief Policy Officer of IAVA in 2018.
In her time at IAVA, Bryant has been instrumental in shaping the organization's policy agenda, helping to secure major legislative victories on issues such as mental health care, women Veterans' issues, and Veteran employment. She has also been active in several movements, such as the MeToo movement.
As Chief Policy Officer, Melissa Bryant oversees legislative, research, and intergovernmental affairs teams. In addition, she manages IAVA's interaction with the White House, the Departments of Defense and VA (Veterans' Affairs), Veteran and Military Service Organizations (VSOs), and advocacy organizations.
Funding: Where the IAVA (Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America) Money Comes From
As noted earlier, the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The IAVA's funding comes from private donations, grants, and contracts with the U.S. government.
The IAVA is also funded through merchandise revenue on their website.
Impact: What the IAVA (Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America) Has Accomplished
The IAVA has accomplished a great deal in its relatively short existence. The organization provides Veterans with many resources, including mental health services, job placement assistance, and peer-to-peer support. Additionally, the IAVA lobbies Congress and the White House on behalf of Veterans' issues and raises awareness about the challenges faced by Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.