KDVA Leadership

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs is led by a set of highly motivated and qualified appointed professionals who are entrusted with the stewardship of the department. Together, they work to provide an exemplary standard of service to the state's veteran population and to lead the department in its efforts to ably assist all of Kentucky's warriors.

Take a look below to learn more about the KDVA's Commissioner, Whitney P. Allen, Jr.​ Lieutenant Colonel (retired), USA and KDVA's Chief of Staff, Dwayne Edwards, Major (retired) USA.


Whitney P. Allen, Jr


On August 4, 2021, Governor Andy Beshear appointed Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Retired) Whitney Allen as the seventh Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs. Whitney Allen is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel with 25 years of combined military service.  He enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1988, and later received his commission through the Tulane University ROTC program in 1994.  

Commissioner Allen has served in various military organizations and military locations. His assignments include three combat tours in Afghanistan/Kuwait (2006-07, 2008-09, 2013-14), a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia (1996), a training exercise in the Kingdom of Jordan (2003), tour in Germany (1995-1998) and various assignments throughout the United States.

Commissioner Allen military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, (OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (Silver OLC), Army Commendation Medal (two OLC), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal (Bronze Star), Army Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Ribbon (#3 Device), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Medal (Bronze Star), Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Meritorious Unit Award, Army Superior Unit Award, Airborne Badge, and the Military Intelligence Association Knowlton Award. He also received an award from the Afghanistan Minister of Interior for his work with Afghanistan's local police.

Commissioner Allen’s formal education include a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the Dillard University and a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University.  His military education include the U.S. Army War College Department of Distance Education Defense Strategy Course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (Intermediate Level Education), U.S. Naval War College CDE Command and Staff Program - Joint Professional Military Education Phase (Distance Education), 1st Infantry Division Military Transition Team Training Course, National Training Center Joint Observer Controller Academy OC Academy, Operations Research/System Analysis Military Application Course – ORSA MAC, Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course, Military Intelligence Signal Intelligence/Electronic Warfare Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School – CAS3, Military Intelligence Advance Course, Military Intelligence Transition Course, Chemical Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, US Army Corps of Engineers Advance Individual Training and US Army Corps of Engineers Basic Training School.

Commissioner Allen is a member of Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame, Louisville Week of Valor 2020 Honoree, Humana’s Boots on the Ground Honoree, Louisville Business First 2019 “Salute to Veterans” honoree, Kentucky Colonel, Commonwealth Ambassador and holds membership/leadership positions in local and national veteran organizations including Veterans Community Alliance of Louisville (VCAL), the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, and the NAACP Louisville Chapter’s Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.  He and his wife Yolanda have two daughters and currently reside in Louisville.

Deputy Commissioner

Juan Renaud​

Juan A. Renaud, U.S. Army Officer (Retired) previously served as the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central (KVCC) Cemetery Manager for the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. Responsible for planning and directing the administrative and burial operations for busiest state Veterans cemetery in the Commonwealth. ​

Mr. Renaud has 29 years of active-duty service, he enlisted in the Army on 1 December 1992, after graduating from Grambling State University.  On September 11, 2001, Juan signed into Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia and throughout his career, Mr. Renaud served in multiple military units/ organizations across the United States and in various countries. Juan has multiple combat tours and operational deployments. As a pre-command Army Captain, in 2005, Juan served as one of the first U.S Military totally embedded Military Transition Team Leaders (MiTT), assigned to a 550-man Iraqi Infantry Battalion. Mr. Renaud later commanded an Armored Reconnaissance Troop responsible stopping the follow of Improvised Explosive Devices into the Theater of Operations. 

Mr. Renaud's later assignments focus on global operations and institutional Army Operations. While assigned to U.S. Army Central Command, U.S. Embassy, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Mr. Renaud was a consultant to the U.S. Ambassador, U.S Army Country Military Senior Officer Charge at the U.S. Embassy. He was tasked with coordination of contingency plans development and Geo-Political meetings with the U.S. National Representatives and U.A.E. Chief National Representative and the Chief of Defense Advisor/ manager between the Host Nation equivalents and liaison officers from four of the U.S. Military branches of service.​

In support of Institutional Army Operations, Mr. Renaud supervised the creation standardization of the day-to-day training and operations plans of the Army U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Cadet Summer Training Program (CST), a program that trains approximately 10,000 cadets in 100 days supported by 1,500 active duty Army Soldiers.

Mr. Renaud's final assignment in the Army was V Corps, assistant Chief of Operations tasked with managing the vision and intent of Commanding General in the coordination efforts to re-create a global organization headquarters responsible for cultivating strategic alliances and partnerships in preparation to assume operational authority.

 Juan is a native of Opelousas, Louisiana and holds a B.S. degree in Political Science from Grambling State University and a M.A. in Human Resources Development from Webster University. 

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (2nd Award), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), Army Commendation Medal (9th  Award), Joint Service Achievement Award (3rd Award), Army Achievement Award (5th Award), Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal (2nd Award), Outstanding  Military Volunteer Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Medal (2nd Award), Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and Air Assault Badge.

He and his wife Geri (US Army Officer, Retired) and daughter Piper currently reside in Vine Grove, Kentucky.

Chief of Staff 

Dwayne Edwards

Major (Retired) Dwayne A. Edwards was appointed KDVA Chief of Staff on January 18, 2022.  He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Armor in 1984 from Eastern Michigan University.  His troop assignments were with the 3rd Infantry Division, The 1st Cavalry Division, The 2nd Infantry Division, and the 1st Armored Division.  He served on the Inner German Border, the demilitarized zone in Korea, and the United Nations phase line separating Serbia from Macedonia.  He served in staff and instructor positions at Headquarters, United States Army Europe,  Headquarters V Corps, The Armor School, FT Knox KY, and Cadet Command at the University of Kentucky.

Since his retirement from the military in 2005,  he has worked for several leading companies and organizations in Central Kentucky.  He continues to serve the Commonwealth by serving on various non-profit boards and committees in ​Lexington.  His most recent position was Relationship Engagement Coordinator for CASA of Lexington. Mr. Edwards is married to the former Ms. Ana Pyle of Panama City, Panama.