Our Team

Jose Vasquez

Executive Director

Jose Vasquez (he/him) is the Executive Director of Common Defense, a diverse grassroots organization of U.S. veterans and military family members. Jose served 15 years in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 2007. Jose has experience in education and research, nonprofit management, organizing, and philanthropy. He lives in New York City with his partner Charon Hribar and is the proud co-parent of one son.

Perry O'Brien

Organizing Director

Perry O’Brien (he/him) is the Organizing Director of Common Defense. Perry has over ten years of experience as an organizer and strategic communicator in the labor and antiwar movements. He is an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, and was Organizing Director of CIR/SEIU, a national physicians’ union. His writing has appeared in publications like The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Huffington Post, and his first novel is forthcoming from Random House.

Alex McCoy

Political Director

Alexander McCoy (he/him) is the Political Director of Common Defense. Alex served for six years in the Marine Corps, including three years in Saudi Arabia, Honduras, and Germany in support of the U.S. Department of State. Following his service, he worked in communications and veteran organizing for state and national political campaigns. He helped craft the legislative strategy to successfully pass the Fairness for Veterans Act of 2016 through a gridlocked Congress. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Reuters, Huffington Post, and others, and he has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, NPR, and TEDx Mile High.

Photo of Common Defense Operations Manager, Jessica Smucker George

Jessica Smucker George

Operations Manager

Jessica Smucker George (she/her) is the Operations Manager for Common Defense. Jessica worked for Beyond the Choir as an administrative assistant for two years before joining the Common Defense team in early 2019. She brings a diverse set of skills to the job, having previously worked in theater and film production, advertising, and journalism. She’s also a songwriter, essayist, and mom of two small boys.

Kyle Bibby

National Campaigns Manager

Kyle Bibby (he/him) is a National Campaigns Manager for Common Defense. Kyle is a US Naval Academy graduate, a former Marine Corps Infantry officer, and a former Presidential Management Fellow with the Obama Administration’s Office of Management and Budget. Following his fellowship, he worked for a year as a Director for the New Jersey Reentry Corporation helping the formerly incarcerated transition back to society. Kyle is one of the co-founders of the Black Veterans Project.

Photo of Common Defense VOI Program Manager, Janice Jamison

Janice Jamison

VOI Program Manager

Janice Jamison (she/her) is a Program Manager of the Veterans Organizing Institute (VOI) for Common Defense. The VOI program trains progressive veterans in effective grassroots campaigning and narrative strategy. Janice served for 8 years in the Air Force as an intelligence analyst. She was an organizer and military veteran liaison for Stacy Abrams and has experience as a communications professional and graphic designer. She lives in Evans, GA with her partner and three children.

Naveed Shah

Government Affairs Associate

Naveed Shah (he/him) is a Veteran of the U.S. Army and Operation Iraqi Freedom, from Springfield, Va. After serving on active duty in the Army for four years, including a 12 month tour in Iraq, Naveed returned to his hometown for undergraduate studies and began volunteering with veterans groups. This led to a legislative and advocacy fellowship with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America in 2012. In 2016, the First Lady invited Naveed to attend Pres. Obama’s final State of the Union address, in recognition of his years of work on Veterans Issues. In 2018, Naveed worked with the Virginia Democratic Party’s Mission First initiative, to get veterans and military families involved in the political process.

Alan Pitts

Political Associate

Alan Pitts (he/him) was born and raised in New Jersey. He joined the Army at 18 years old and was deployed to Ar Ramadi Iraq in 2004. That same year he was severely wounded and was ultimately transported to Fort Carson. Alan received a Purple Heart and was medically retired from the Army in 2006 do to his injuries. For the past 10 years or so he has been organizing veterans to end the wars he fought in. He also works with the Coalition for Compassion and Action in Colorado Springs, which organizes against and opposed many of the unconstitutional and immoral ordinances the city has perpetrated against the most marginalized within the community.

Kathryn Smith

Organizer

Kate Smith (she/her) served as an acquisition officer in the United States Air Force after graduating from the Air Force Academy. She’s a proven leader and problem solver and has worked primarily in aerospace and telecommunication industries. Kate also has advised a cadet squadron on ethics and honor and is the advocacy director for Zoomies Against Sexual Assault (“ZASA”). She is a member of the Truman National Security Project and an Emerge Colorado alumna. She is a Notre Dame Lawyer.

Photo of Common Defense Organizer, Kyle Pritz

Kyle Pritz

Organizer

Kyle Pritz (he/him) previously was an organizer with Extinction Rebellion, organizing nonviolent civil disobedience and community building around the current climate and ecological crises. He served in the USMC, deployed to Afghanistan, then studied philosophy and psychology at Fordham University. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jason Hurd

Organizer

Jason Hurd (he/him) is an Iraq War veteran who served ten years as a U.S. Army combat medic, and brings a unique skill set to his movement work including: strategic planning, graphic design, and digital cartography. He holds a B.S. in Philosophy from East Tennessee State University, and a M.S. in Ecological Design from The Conway School in Northampton, MA.

Photo of Common Defense Organizer, Esti Lamonaca

Esti Lamonaca

Organizer

Esti Lamonaca (they/them) is an Army combat veteran who served as an intel analyst for Special Forces teams. They organized and managed LGBTQ+ events throughout the East Coast throughout their service, focusing on the Transgender ban and the repeal of DOMA. Currently, they are pursuing a degree in Anthropology with a minor in Community Organizing. They live in New York with their partner.

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