Mr. Jeff Barnes

Jeff Barnes was appointed to the cabinet-level position of director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency 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 one tour in Korea, one in the Balkans and two in Iraq. In 2003, his Squadron served as Lead Maneuver Unit of the U.S.

Armed Forces from Kuwait to Baghdad. Director Barnes commanded B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry and conducted operations in Baghdad, Balad and Fallujah. His

unit was credited for capturing more than 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. Director Barnes was chosen for a second command and led HHT, 3rd Squadron, 7th United States Cavalry in Baghdad during 2005. The unit included more than 300 soldiers and was responsible for a wide range of combat and

combat support operations. His unit planned and conducted more than 350 operations to interdict insurgents, identify and destroy

enemy weapons caches and provide support to sustain outposts and Forward Operating Bases throughout central Iraq. At the same time, his unit provided humanitarian relief and medical support to more than 2,500 Iraqi children and adults in an effort to build community relations.

Prior to his appointment to MVAA, Director 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