The veterans’ lobby is one of the most powerful and historically successful of all national lobbying groups present on in Washington D.C. However, the group of veterans’ interest organizations is quite diverse in the goals and relative success. Here are a few of the most important lobbying groups for American military veterans today.
The first veteran lobbying group to note is the American Legion. It was formed in 1919 by a group of World War I veterans and has grown over the years to be widely recognized as not only the oldest but the most influential of all veterans’ interest organizations today. Some reasons that the American Legion is so successful in the veterans’ lobby are that they assign a Legionnaire to work with each member of the House of Representatives as well as have Legion Posts present around the United States in most congressional districts. The American Legion is “committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.”
The Disabled American Veterans organization is dedicated to “empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.” They were also formed after World War I in order to help injured veterans lead successful lives when returning home from Europe. The Disabled American Veterans lobby tries to stay largely neutral in political status and attempts to focus its lobbying efforts solely in the interests of wounded American veterans and their families.
A third prominent lobbyist organization for veterans is the slightly newer American Veterans (AmVets). Their primary goal in its foundation was simply to provide a lobbying alternative to the large and powerful American Legion following World War II. AmVets also tries to remain apolitical with their mission being, “To enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services.”
There are many other veterans’ lobbying organizations with varying political affiliations and mission statements including left-leaning Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and the newer Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA). These organizations may be varying in slight ways however, they all share the goal of lobbying the national government for the benefit of veterans nationwide.