About

The Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs serves an important two-fold purpose.  First, it distinguishes and elevates issues and opportunities for veterans and transitioning service members in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Of primary importance are the employment, health care, and education needs of our veterans.  With the Nation’s fastest growing veteran population and the greatest number of veterans in the workforce per capita, the Secretariat maintains a particular focus on employment of our newest generation of veterans who have the new and current skills needed here in the Commonwealth.

The Secretariat also leads the Governor’s initiatives focused on relationship building with and support of our military and defense installations and the communities surrounding them.  Through the Governor’s Virginia Military Advisory Council (VMAC) and active Secretariat community involvement, the Commonwealth continues to be an engaged host in support of the military and defense missions in the state.

We are honored to serve the Commonwealth and our veterans, and look forward to working with you to continue to make Virginia the most veteran and military friendly state in the Nation.

Acting Secretary for Veterans and Defense Affairs
Kathleen T. Jabs

Kathleen T. Jabs is Virginia’s Acting Secretary for Veterans and Defense Affairs where she works to coordinate state and federal resources to support Virginia’s veteran community and liaison with federal defense facilities.

Kathleen is a native of Massachusetts and graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English with concentrations in Russian and engineering. She completed six years of active duty before transferring to the Navy Reserve where she commanded three units and retired as a captain in 2017. From 2008-2019, she served as a civilian in the Department of Defense with duties as Deputy Director of Management and Public Affairs Officer for the Office of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff at the DOD Suffolk Complex and Director of Communications for US Joint Forces Command. In 2018, she was selected to the CIVIC Leadership Institute Executive Program Class of 2019.

Kathleen has more than 30 years of government, military and academic leadership and communications experience, including involvement with public affairs operations at Navy Chief of Information, NATO's Allied Command Transformation, US Fleet Forces Command, and National Defense University. Her military career spans a variety of active duty and reserve positions, with service in Japan, Hawaii, Panama, the Pentagon and military installations along the East Coast.

In addition to her defense career, Kathleen earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University and has published several award winning stories, a novel and many articles in literary and national publications.Named a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, she serves on the board of the Williamsburg Book Festival, the Peninsula Naval Academy Alumni Association and is a certified Virginia Master Naturalist with the Historic Rivers chapter.

Kathleen is married to Eric Jabs, a retired Navy Captain and current Navy civilian. They have two adult children, Lydia and Nick.

Assistant Secretary of Veterans & Defense Affairs
Jonathan G. Ward

Jonathan Ward is Virginia’s Assistant Secretary for Veterans and Defense Affairs where he works on legislation, budget items, and policy matters relating to the treatment of the Commonwealth’s military communities and Veterans and their families.

Jonathan is a native of Pittsylvania County and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with concentrations in Government and Politics and minored in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and received his commission from the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School in Ft. Benning, GA.  He completed nearly four years of active duty before transferring to the Virginia Army National Guard where he served as a field artillery captain until his departure in 2018. Concurrent to his service in the National Guard, Jonathan served five years in the Office of the Attorney General as the Director of Constituent Affairs & Special Projects and as the former Confidential Assistant & Executive Aide to the Attorney General. 

During his nine years of service in both active duty and the National Guard, Jonathan deployed twice in support of operations in the Middle East to include Operation Enduring Freedom in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2012 and to Area Support Group-Qatar in support of Operation Spartan Shield.  Jonathan’s personal decorations include the Bronze Star (for meritorious service), the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters.  

Jonathan is involved in several civic organizations to include the Military Officer’s Association of America, the Iraq-Afghanistan Veterans of America, and recently began serving as a committee resource advisor to the YMCA Model General Assembly Program.

Contact Us

Secretary of Veterans  and Defense Affairs 
State Capitol Building
3rd Floor
1000 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219

For regular U.S. mail, please use the following address:
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218

Phone Numbers:
(804) 225-3826

You can also email our office at vada@governor.virginia.gov

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