Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)



Founded in 2004 by an Iraq veteran, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the first and largest organization for new veterans and their families, with nearly 300,000 members and supporters nationwide. IAVA is a 21st century veterans’ organization dedicated to standing with the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan from their first day home through the rest of their lives.  


IAVA strives to build an empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadership for our country and their local communities. We work toward this vision through programs in four key impact areas: supporting new veterans in health, education, employment and building a lasting community for vets and their families. We create impact in those critical areas through assistance to veterans and their families, raising awareness about veterans’ issues and advocacy for supportive policy from the federal to the local level.

Assistance: Through both online and on-the-ground engagement, IAVA creates, optimizes and expands assistance to veterans. IAVA hosts hundreds of events nationwide each year, creating opportunities for vets and their families to connect with each other and gain access to customized health care, education and employment services. Online, IAVA provides a unique support network that empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community.

Awareness: IAVA advances public awareness around the unique challenges and opportunities facing new vets. IAVA makes veterans a part of the national media conversation, shaping the dialogue and connecting the 99% of the population who have not served in Iraq or Afghanistan with the 1% who have.

Advocacy: IAVA advocates for policies that benefit veterans and their families.


Mission: Improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

Vision: An empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadership for our country and their communities.

History: Chief Executive Officer Paul Rieckhoff founded IAVA in 2004, alongside fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. After returning home from overseas, they quickly came together after becoming concerned with the way the wars were being portrayed in the media and the overall plight of newly returned veterans.

There were many policy experts and talking heads on TV, but very few people who had actually served on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. There was no one talking about what veterans needed and the issues they faced. The creation of IAVA has allowed hundreds of thousands of veterans to join the national dialogue and to explain what is really happening on the ground overseas and back home.

Era of Service: 
OEF-OIF Post 9-11
Career Phase: 
Transitioning Military
VA Disability Rating Requirement: 
No Disability Requirement
Discharges Allowed: 
No Minimum Discharge