AMVETS in Action

Press Room

Convention Guest Speakers

Allison Hickey
As Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs, Allison Hickey leads more than 20,000 employees in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in the delivery of a wide range of integrated programs of non-medical benefits and service to more than 12 million Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and Survivors. Through a nationwide network of 56 regional offices, special processing centers, and VBA headquarters, she directs the administration of seven distinct lines of business: VA’s disability compensation, pension and fiduciary, education, home loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation and employment, life insurance programs, and transition assistance programs, and an annual budget of more than $94 billion.

Under Secretary Hickey currently leads a six-year, multi-billion dollar transformation effort at VBA to improve the quality and timeliness with which Veterans’ benefits are processed and delivered. Under her leadership, in less than two years, VBA has converted claims processing from a paper-bound process to a digital operating environment where claims for VA benefits and services can be submitted, processed and delivered online, electronically. For the first time in history, Veterans can file their claims online; upload their documentation; and check their claim status through a multi-channel Veteran relationship management system.

Under Secretary Hickey served 27 years in the United States Air Force on Active Duty, in the Air National Guard, and in the Air Force Reserve, retiring with the rank of Brigadier General as the Director of the Air Force’s Future Total Force office at the Pentagon. Under Secretary Hickey is a 1980 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the first class to include women.

Pete Hegseth
Pete Hegseth serves as Chief Executive Officer for Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) and is a FOX News contributor.

Pete has deployed three times with the U.S. Army since 9/11, most recently from 2011-2012 in Afghanistan as the senior counterinsurgency instructor at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul. Pete previously served in Iraq with the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division for its 2005-2006 deployment, serving as an infantry Platoon Leader in Baghdad in 2005, and as a Civil-Military Operations officer in Samarra in 2006. He also served in Guantanamo Bay for a year with his National Guard unit. Pete holds two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his time in Iraq and Afghanistan and was recently promoted to Major in the Individual Ready Reserve.

As a FOX News Channel contributor, Pete appears regularly on FOX & Friends, America’s Newsroom, Outnumbered, and The Kelly File. He is a frequent contributor to National Review Online and is also a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Pete graduated from Princeton University in 2003 with an undergraduate degree in Politics and completed a Master’s Degree in Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2013.

Sloan Gibson
Sloan D. Gibson was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and he was confirmed by the Senate on February 11, 2014. Mr. Gibson also served as Acting Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs from May 30 to July 30, 2014.

Prior to joining VA, Mr. Gibson served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Services Organizations (USO), which has been lifting the spirits of American Servicemembers and their families for more than 73 years. During his five years at the USO, net fundraising grew 90 percent, enabling dramatic growth in programs and facilities supporting our forward-deployed men and women, military families, as well as our wounded, ill, and injured Servicemembers, their families, and the families of the fallen.

A 1975 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Gibson earned both Airborne and Ranger qualifications and served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He earned a Masters in Economics from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Deputy Secretary Gibson has been married for 32 years and has two grown children.

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