Commander-in-Chief Forum FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions around IAVA’s Commander-in-Chief Forum.

Q: What is IAVA?
IAVA is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. With over 425,000 members, IAVA provides valuable resources and empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community. IAVA educates the public about post-9/11 veterans, advocates on behalf of these veterans and builds community among them.

Q: Why New York?
This historic event is taking place just four days before the 15th Anniversary of 9/11. Both candidates and IAVA call New York home. There is no more fitting time and place to host a conversation on the most important issues facing our military and veterans, then before 9/11 in the place where for many of us, it all started.

Q: How do I get tickets?
Unfortunately, due to space and security, tickets are extremely limited—and most are for veterans, military families and service members.

The IAVA contest for two veterans to be flown to NY for the event is now closed and the winner will be announced soon!

If you’re not near NY, you can join a VetTogether watch party in your area. See the full map of VetTogethers here.

If there’s not a VetTogether yet in your area, register to host one here. Anyone can host a VetTogether, anywhere. It’s a great way to unite veterans, military families and our dedicated civilian supporters.

Q: Where can I watch the event?
NBC, MSNBC and on the IAVA Facebook page.

Q: What about Third Party Candidates?
For over a decade and through multiple elections, IAVA has focused on finding every way possible to ensure veterans remain at the forefront of the American dialogue. As the 2016 election season continues to dominate headlines, IAVA will continue to be aggressive in advocating for our community to be a part of that dialogue.

As a non-partisan organization committed to advocating for the voices of all Post-9/11 veterans, IAVA applauds the efforts of Governor Gary Johnson’s and Dr. Jill Stein’s supporters to include their perspective in the conversation. We agree. The conversation focused on veterans should not end on September 7th and with the major party candidates. As a non-partisan organization – with an extremely politically diverse membership – we are committed to expanding the public conversation about the issues facing veterans with any viable candidate for President as often as possible.

As it stands today, Governor Johnson has qualified to be on ballots in all 50 states and exceeds 10% in a recent poll of active duty troops, Reservists and National Guard members conducted by the Military Times.  Though Mr. Johnson still does not meet the historical standard for general election meetings between candidates set by the Presidential Debate Commission, IAVA took the extra step to develop our own, more inclusive threshold for a series of ‘Commander-in-Chief Forums.’  We appreciate the patience of our members as we carefully underwent this important process. We have now reached out to Governor Johnson’s campaign to invite him to participate in a separate Commander-in-Chief Forum event.

We have also reached out to Dr. Stein to invite her to engage in a dialogue with IAVA Members.

IAVA also believes we have a responsibility to inform our members that, as of today, neither Gov. Johnson nor Dr. Stein has even posted a veterans policy section on their website.  For anyone vying to be Commander-in-Chief, that would be an important early step. IAVA’s comprehensive Policy Agenda, informed by our members nationwide, gives them an excellent place to go for guidance.

IAVA is always focused on empowering our generation of veterans and sharing our triumphs and challenges with all Americans. If national leaders want to talk seriously about veterans issues with our members, we’re excited to help make that happen. But as a non-profit organization, IAVA can not do this alone.  We need all the help we can get to ensure our voices are front and center for all Americans during this important election season. Even more so, we need everyone to help after the election is over. IAVA is in this for the long haul. Our vital programs change and save lives daily. And just as our members will lead America for decades to come, we’ll need support that continues long after the current media attention has faded.

We also look forward to uniting all Americans just days after Election Day for Veterans Day 2016. It will be the perfect time for people of all political backgrounds to come together around our veterans and chart a course ahead that benefits all of us for generations to come.

Q: How can I get the latest updates about this extraordinary event?
Register for breaking news, updates and unique access to premier IAVA events here. You should also follow IAVA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Q: What does Department of Defense regulation say about active duty service member participation in events like the Commander-in-Chief Forum?
The DOD has informed IAVA that service members may not attend the forum in uniform and they may not use their rank, branch of service, or DOD emblems in connection with the event or at related watch parties. For information on DOD guidance for political activity, we encourage you to read directly from the DoD here.

Q: How politically engaged are IAVA’s members?
From IAVA’s most recent membership survey:

93% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey are registered to vote
80% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey voted in the 2014 election
93% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey are planning to vote in the 2016 election
38% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey have no political affiliation or are Independent

18% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey are Democrats
36% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey are Republicans
1% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey are Green
5% of IAVA members who responded to our most recent survey are Libertarian

Q: How politically engaged are veterans?
•Veterans vote in higher rates than civilians (70% vs 61% in 2012 the last Presidential election).
•14.7 million veterans voted in the 2012 presidential election
•70.3% of veterans cast a ballot in that election, compared with 60.9% non-veterans 18 years and older. Source: Table 13. Reported Voting and Registration, by Sex, Veteran Status, and Age: November 2012

Q: How do I become an IAVA member?
You can join IAVA here. You’ve already paid your dues serving your country, so membership is free. When you join, you will be connected with the nation’s largest community of post-9/11 veterans and all of the benefits that come with that.

Q: What kind of programs does IAVA have for vets?
IAVA has a host of program to unite, empower and connect veterans. These include research, advocacy, leadership training, local and digital community building and connecting veterans and their families to resources.

IAVA is focused on connecting vets both locally and digitally. Driven by our member base, VetTogethers are events hosted by IAVA members that build camaraderie in your backyard. Visit to find or host an event near your. Through IAVA’s Salesforce powered online community, servicemembers and veterans worldwide can connect with one another and build that same camaraderie from afar.

IAVA’s Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) is here to help navigate transition challenges. Whether going back to school, need help navigating VA or are having trouble findings a job or paying the bills, IAVA’s RRRP team is here to help. Learn more here.

IAVA is also the leading voice for post-9/11 veterans in Washington DC. Our non-partisan advocacy work ensures that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families are supported, protected and never forgotten. Since 2004, IAVA has been creating and driving the national conversation on issues that include mental health and suicide prevention, supporting women veterans, protecting the veterans’ benefits like the post-9/11 GI Bill and VA reform. As part of this program IAVA hosts members veterans annually in Washington DC to develop their advocacy skills, which they use both in Washington DC as part of our Storm the Hill program, and in their own communities. Visit our website for more details.

Q: How can I help IAVA support veterans?
To donate to IAVA, click here.

Q: How we continue this important conversation after September 7?
Click here to receive updates with the latest news and join our movement.