Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Jeff Barnes

Jeff Barnes was appointed to the cabinet-level position of Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) by Governor Rick Snyder effective March 20, 2013. 


Director Barnes served nearly 10 years as an Armored Cavalry Officer in the United States Army.  His overseas assignments include 1 tour in Korea, 1 in the Balkans and 2 in Iraq.  In 2003, Jeff's Squadron was the lead unit of the US Armed Forces from Kuwait to Baghdad.  Jeff commanded B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry and conducted operations in Baghdad, Balad, and Fallujah.  His unit was accredited for capturing over 25 Al Qaeda and Fedayeen operatives, establishing a Forward Operating Base in Ad Dujayl and meeting with community leaders to establish humanitarian relief initiatives for local school systems and vital infrastructure.  Jeff was chosen for a second command and led HHT, 3rd Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry in Baghdad during 2005.  The unit included over 300 soldiers and was responsible for a wide range of combat and combat support operations.  His unit planned and conducted over 350 operations to interdict insurgents, identify and destroy countless enemy weapons caches and provide support to sustain outposts and Forward Operating Bases throughout central Iraq.  At the same time, Jeff's unit provided humanitarian relief and medical support to over 2500 Iraqi children and adults in an effort to build community relations.


Prior to his appointment to direct MVAA, Barnes served as the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff, Deputy Director of Strategy, Executive Director of Public Safety, and as a member of the Governor's council on Law Enforcement and Reinvention. 


He is married to Taryn Barnes, a combat veteran and a former United States Army Aviation Officer.



1996     United States Army Airborne School, Fort Benning, Ga.

1997     Capital University, Bachelor of Arts, Columbus, Ohio

2001     Armor Captain's Career Course, Fort Knox, Ky.

2001     Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

2009     University of Michigan, Master of Public Policy, National Security and State and Local Government, Ann Arbor, Mich.



Bronze Star Medal

Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device

Meritorious Service Medal

Combat Action Badge

Honorary Order of St. George for Outstanding Leadership in Combat