At-Large Director

Jay Kalner

At-Large Director

JOINING VVA: In 2012, I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC and saw a VVA recruitment tent. I was warmly welcomed and joined Chapter 227, Virginia’s largest chapter, as a life member in 2013. In 2014, I was elected to the board of directors, and then as Chapter 227 president in 2018. During my two terms, thanks to our many recruitment events, membership increased by 14 percent, from 298 to 340.

 

BACKGROUND: Drafted out of graduate school, I served with the Army’s 716th MP Battalion in Saigon in 1969-1970. Most of my tour was spent teaching English to Saigon’s Municipal Police to enable them to work with MPs on joint patrols. This unique cultural experience inspired me to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Chicago. I was recruited by the CIA in 1972, and I spent 35 years as a Russian affairs analyst, dealing with a wide range of international issues that required careful analysis and clear presentation of findings, often under stressful deadlines. I was asked to serve as an adviser at the Geneva nuclear arms talks, and I often briefed high-level US and foreign officials on intelligence issues. I also spent my final two years recruiting highly skilled college graduates for the Agency. My work earned me seven Exceptional Performance Awards and the Career Commendation Medal. After retirement in 2007, I served from 2008-2014 on a staff reporting to the Director of National Intelligence, utilizing my expertise in the effort to prevent future 9/11’s and mistakes monitoring WMD programs.

 

DEMONSTRATED LEADERSHIP: During my tenure, I have cultivated generous donors to the Chapter, allowing for continuous financial assistance to veterans. Our veterans’ support budget averages $35,000 annually, and the chapter’s financial strength allowed for the return of our $3,000 membership rebate to National during its recent financial crisis. As an original mentor for the Fairfax County Veterans Treatment Docket, I have successfully assisted several troubled vets. To expand chapter outreach, I serve on Arlington County’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and ServingTogether, a regional veterans’ assistance network, and I have spoken at various schools and charitable organizations on veterans’ issues. At Fort Belvoir, I served five years as a USO volunteer, exposing me to active-duty military needs. As Chapter 227 president, I have lobbied Virginia’s two U.S. Senators on veterans’ initiatives and have maintained contacts with Vietnamese and Korean veteran groups who served with us in Vietnam. During the pandemic, we hosted monthly virtual membership meetings, including prominent speakers, and conducted business via virtual board meetings. Importantly, our chapter modernized its website and Facebook page for increased visibility.

 

GOAL: These experiences and my concern for veterans in need have led me to seek election to the VVA board. My long government service and record of achievement in assisting veterans demonstrate that my analytical, leadership, and decision-making skills will help National confront the challenges it faces going forward. I would offer new thinking to the Board to preserve VVA’s status as the country’s preeminent veterans service organization.

JOINING VVA: In 2012, I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC and saw a VVA recruitment tent. I was warmly welcomed and joined Chapter 227, Virginia’s largest chapter, as a life member in 2013. In 2014, I was elected to the board of directors, and then as Chapter 227 president in 2018. During my two terms, thanks to our many recruitment events, membership increased by 14 percent, from 298 to 340.

 

BACKGROUND: Drafted out of graduate school, I served with the Army’s 716th MP Battalion in Saigon in 1969-1970. Most of my tour was spent teaching English to Saigon’s Municipal Police to enable them to work with MPs on joint patrols. This unique cultural experience inspired me to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Chicago. I was recruited by the CIA in 1972, and I spent 35 years as a Russian affairs analyst, dealing with a wide range of international issues that required careful analysis and clear presentation of findings, often under stressful deadlines. I was asked to serve as an adviser at the Geneva nuclear arms talks, and I often briefed high-level US and foreign officials on intelligence issues. I also spent my final two years recruiting highly skilled college graduates for the Agency. My work earned me seven Exceptional Performance Awards and the Career Commendation Medal. After retirement in 2007, I served from 2008-2014 on a staff reporting to the Director of National Intelligence, utilizing my expertise in the effort to prevent future 9/11’s and mistakes monitoring WMD programs.

 

DEMONSTRATED LEADERSHIP: During my tenure, I have cultivated generous donors to the Chapter, allowing for continuous financial assistance to veterans. Our veterans’ support budget averages $35,000 annually, and the chapter’s financial strength allowed for the return of our $3,000 membership rebate to National during its recent financial crisis. As an original mentor for the Fairfax County Veterans Treatment Docket, I have successfully assisted several troubled vets. To expand chapter outreach, I serve on Arlington County’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and ServingTogether, a regional veterans’ assistance network, and I have spoken at various schools and charitable organizations on veterans’ issues. At Fort Belvoir, I served five years as a USO volunteer, exposing me to active-duty military needs. As Chapter 227 president, I have lobbied Virginia’s two U.S. Senators on veterans’ initiatives and have maintained contacts with Vietnamese and Korean veteran groups who served with us in Vietnam. During the pandemic, we hosted monthly virtual membership meetings, including prominent speakers, and conducted business via virtual board meetings. Importantly, our chapter modernized its website and Facebook page for increased visibility.

 

GOAL: These experiences and my concern for veterans in need have led me to seek election to the VVA board. My long government service and record of achievement in assisting veterans demonstrate that my analytical, leadership, and decision-making skills will help National confront the challenges it faces going forward. I would offer new thinking to the Board to preserve VVA’s status as the country’s preeminent veterans service organization.