Today, there are over 350,000 service women and 2 million women veterans in the United States – the highest number ever in history. Their voices must be heard.
Women have served and fought in every conflict since the American Revolution. Despite their critical contributions to our national security, women continue to face barriers. These barriers exist both in the military and when they leave military service when accessing the VA benefits and services they have earned.
The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is the voice of all military women – past, present, and future. We are a member-driven community network advocating for the individual and collective needs of service women. SWAN’s priorities are guided by our members, who include thousands of women and men, service members, and civilians alike.
We are committed to seeing that all service women receive the opportunities, protections, benefits, and respect they deserve. Our goal is to ensure all service women and women veterans have access to the information, tools, and support they need to reach their personal and professional goals.
Since our founding in 2007, SWAN has been the only organization that advocates for and supports the needs of both service women and women veterans, regardless of rank, military branch, or years of experience. With over 40,000 nonprofits in America working to serve the needs of veterans and military personnel, this is an important distinction. While women service members and veterans have benefited from many support programs, the majority of them are still designed, by default, to meet the needs of men. We’re making sure that changes.
SWAN has played a significant role in shaping the outcome of many important issues affecting military women. Our efforts include opening all military jobs to service women, expanding access to services for a broad range of reproductive healthcare services, working to hold sex offenders accountable in the military justice system and eliminating barriers to disability claims for those who have experienced military sexual trauma. But our work is not done.
Our mission is to support, connect and advocate for service women-past, present and future.
- SUPPORT: SWAN has developed a network of vetted resources that are uniquely qualified to address challenges service women face including access to healthcare, housing, caseworkers, family and financial services, employment and transition, legal services, and alternative therapies. Learn more »
- CONNECT: SWAN brings together military women and organizations across the country to amplify the voices of service women on a national scale through media, networking events, and founding and leading the Military Women’s Coalition. Learn more »
- ADVOCATE: SWAN is the driving force behind laws and policies that seek to change military culture, increase opportunities for women, eliminate sexual violence, and adequately address the needs of women veterans.Our mission is to support, connect and advocate for service women-past, present and future. Learn more »
Deshauna Barber, Captain, US Army Reserve, CEO
Army Captain Deshauna Barber is Miss USA 2016, an award-winning international speaker, coach, and entrepreneur. Deshauna uses her experience as an Army officer, former Miss USA, and STEM graduate to impact the lives of people all over the world. Deshauna is a top-rated speaker who is widely requested as a speaker at Fortune 500 companies. She was born in Columbus, Georgia, the daughter of two Soldiers. Serving in the military is a family tradition. In 2016, Deshauna was crowned the first Soldier to the win the prestigious title of Miss USA. She spent her year-long reign as Miss USA advocating for men and women in uniform and continues her work advocating for servicemembers suffering from post-traumatic stress. She is dedicated to ensuring that service members and veterans receive the support and assistance that they need. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Virginia State University, a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and Services from University of Maryland and she is currently pursuing a Diversity, Social Justice and Inclusion Certification at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Martina Chesonis, Captain, US Air Force Reserve, Director of Communications
Martina recently separated from active duty after seven years as an Air Force Logistics Officer and has transitioned into the Air Force Reserves. Martina received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in International Relations and her master’s degree from Liberty University in Public Policy. Throughout her military career, Martina has been very active as both a trainer and coordinator for sexual assault prevention and response programs at several Air Force installations. She is excited to work for such a strong organization and proud to contribute toward positive change for our servicewomen and women veterans.
Caroline Croghan, Director of Operations
Sasha Georgiades, US Navy Veteran, Case Manager
Ellen Haring, Colonel, US Army Retired, Military Women’s Coalition Administrator
Dr. Ellen Haring is a West Point graduate and a retired Army colonel. She is also a senior fellow at Women in International Security where she directs the Combat Integration Initiative. Haring’s research and work focuses on women and gender in the military. She holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and she is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University where she has taught courses on Human Security and Women, Peace and Security. Haring has published numerous articles and papers on a wide array of military and security related topics. She has been a guest speaker on foreign and domestic news shows, she guest lectures and has testified as a subject matter expert at Congressional hearings.
Amanda Huffman, U.S. Air Force Veteran, SWAN Fellow, Communications
Amanda is a military spouse and veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer including a deployment to Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career. Her blog Airman to Mom incorporates stories from her past military life and how she views life through her unique life experiences of both a veteran and military spouse. She recently launched a podcast sharing the stories of Women of the Military. If you would like to share your story click here. You can check out more about Amanda on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Lory Manning, Captain, U.S. Navy Retired, Director of Government Relations
Lory was the Director of the Women in the Military Project at the Women’s Research & Education Institute (WREI) for many years. While in the Navy, she served as a Telecommunications subspecialist including field tours in Iceland, Panama and Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory where she commanded the Naval Telecommunications and Computer Station. She served at headquarters level on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Legislative Affairs, and Commander, Naval Forces Europe (London). A member of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Advisory Committee on Women Veterans for six years, she also served on the Military Advisory Council for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Captain Manning has provided media commentary on military women for the PBS News Hour, the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, for all the major US networks, the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She has also been heard on numerous radio broadcasts in both the US and other countries and has provided in-depth background information on women in the military to national and international journalists for both print and electronic media. Captain Manning holds a BA in History from Trinity College, Washington, D.C., a certificate in National Security Affairs from the Naval War College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.
Raquel G. Patrick, Chief Warrant Officer 4, U.S. Army (Ret.), Healing Program Coordinator
Raquel’s primary goal at SWAN is to connect current and former service members with vetted organizations that teach service women and women veterans self-healing techniques including: meditation, yoga, equine therapy, art therapy and nature reconnection, etc. The retreats serve as an empowering journey that enable women to take charge of their physical and mental wellbeing by applying newly learned practices. Raquel is a retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Four and spent over 51 months in combat deployments from a tour in Somalia, three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as a Cultural Support Team Leader (CST). She has participated in the Veterans Heritage Project which partners with students to serve as historical primary sources and archives veteran stories with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle and is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Adult Education. She currently lives in Alabama where she works as a training developer.