Gen. Keith Alexander


At IronNet Cybersecurity, as the Co-CEO and President, General (Ret) Keith Alexander provides strategic vision to corporate leaders on cybersecurity issues through the development of cutting-edge technology, consulting and education/training. He is reinventing how industries mitigate cybersecurity threats with IronDefense, a patented solution designed to detect and alert on anomalous enterprise network behaviors through fine-tuned analytics. His goal is to bridge communication systems between private and government sectors to create the next level of intelligence sharing and protect the nation against cyber threats on a global stage.

General Alexander is a four-star general with an impressive 40-year military career, culminating in the role of the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Chief of the Central Security Service (CSS) from 2005-2014. He holds the distinction of serving in this role longer than any other director. While serving as the NSA Director, he was appointed by Congress to be the first Commander to lead the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM). He held this role from 2010-2014, establishing and defining how our nation is protected against cyber attacks.

As Commander, USCYBERCOM, General Alexander was responsible for planning, coordinating and conducting operations, and defending Department of Defense (DoD) computer networks—as well as the defense of the nation—from cyber threats. As the Director of NSA, he was responsible for national foreign intelligence requirements, military combat support, and the protection of U.S. national security information systems.

Prior to leading USCYBERCOM and the NSA/CSS General Alexander served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Department of the Army; Commanding General of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir, VA; and the Director of Intelligence, United States Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL., and the Deputy Director for Requirements, Capabilities, Assessments and Doctrine, J-2, on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Serving as a member of the President's Council on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, General Alexander developed key recommendations to create a defensible national cyber architecture to protect national security by promoting rapid innovation and close public-private collaboration while preserving privacy and civil liberties.

General Alexander is the recipient of the 2016 United States Military Academy (USMA) Distinguished Graduate Award. He holds a BS from the U.S. Military Academy, as well an MS in Business Administration from Boston University; an MS in Systems Technology and an MS in Physics from the Naval Post Graduate School; and an MS in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

Gen. John Allen

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John Rutherford Allen assumed the presidency of the Brookings Institution in November 2017, having most recently served as chair of security and strategy and a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings. Allen is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.

Allen served in two senior diplomatic roles following his retirement from the Marine Corps. First, for 15 months as senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East Security, during which he led the security dialogue for the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. President Barack Obama then appointed Allen as special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a position he held for 15 months. Allen’s diplomatic efforts grew the coalition to 65 members, effectively halting the expansion of ISIL. In recognition of this work, he was presented the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award by Secretary John Kerry and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Award by Director James Clapper.

During his nearly four-decade military career, Allen served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Marine Corps and the Joint Force. He commanded 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013. Allen is the first Marine to command a theater of war. During his tenure as ISAF commander, he recovered the 33,000 U.S. surge forces, moved the Afghan National Security Forces into the lead for combat operations, and pivoted NATO forces from being a conventional combat force into an advisory command.

Allen’s first tour as a general officer was as the principal director of Asia-Pacific policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a position he held for nearly three years. In this assignment, he was involved extensively with policy initiatives involving China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia. Allen also participated in the Six Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and played a major role in organizing the relief effort during the South Asian tsunami from 2004 to 2005.

Beyond his operational and diplomatic credentials, Allen has led professional military educational programs, including as director of the Marine Infantry Officer Program and commanding officer of the Marine Corps Basic School. He twice served at the United States Naval Academy, first as a military instructor, where he was named instructor of the year in 1990, and later as commandant of midshipmen; the first Marine Corps officer to hold this position. Allen was the Marine Corps fellow to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the first Marine officer to serve as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where today he is a permanent member.

Among his other affiliations, Allen is a senior fellow at the Merrill Center of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. He is an “Ancien” of the NATO Defense College in Rome, and a frequent lecturer there.

Allen is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign awards.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in operations analysis from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Arts in national security studies from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College, and a Master of Science in national security strategy from the National Defense University.

Gen. Loyd Austin III

Listen to Gen. Austin on Episode 6: Iraq: Sharing Meals And Joint Leadership

General Lloyd J. Austin III culminated his military career serving as the 12 th Commander of U.S. Central Command from 22 March 2013 to 30 March 2016. In this capacity, he was responsible for military strategy and joint operations throughout the Middle East and Central and South Asia. He also served as the Combined Forces Commander, overseeing the military campaign to defeat the terrorist organization, ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

A native of Thomasville, Georgia, General Austin attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1975 with a commission in Infantry.

During his nearly 41 years of military service, he commanded units at every echelon, with duty in Germany, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the United States. He also has the extraordinary distinction of having commanded troops in combat at the 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-star levels. After his first assignment with U.S. Army Europe, General Austin was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded a company and served as an assistant brigade operations officer. General Austin then commanded a second company in Indianapolis, IN before earning a Master’s Degree from Auburn University and serving as a Company Tactical Officer at West Point.

He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY, where he served as battalion operations officer and brigade executive officer. He later commanded 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division including deployment for Operation SAFE HAVEN in Panama. He returned to the 82nd Airborne Division and Fort Bragg where he served as the division operations officer and later commanded the 3 rd Brigade.

From July 2001 to June 2003, General Austin served as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver for the 3rd Infantry Division, helping to spearhead the invasion into Iraq in March 2003. Under his leadership, the division conducted the historic maneuver from Kuwait to Baghdad and seized the capitol city in a record 22 days. From September 2003 to August 2005, he served as the Commanding General, 10th Mountain Division including deployment and command of Combined Joint Task Force-180 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Afghanistan. From February 2008 to August 2009, he served as the Commanding General, Multi-National Corps – Iraq (XVIIIth Airborne Corps) during the period when the surge forces were drawing down. Later, he served as the Commanding General, United States Force – Iraq, from September 2010 until December 2011, overseeing the responsible transition of all U.S. military forces and equipment out of the country by the December 2011 deadline. From February 2012 until March 2013, he was the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.

Other significant assignments include: Chief, Joint Operations Division, J-3, Joint Staff (Pentagon); Chief of Staff, United States Central Command; and Director of the Joint Staff (Pentagon).

Since retiring from active military service on 1 May 2016, General Austin founded and is the Owner and President of Austin Strategy Group, LLC. On June 8, 2016, he was elected to the United Technologies Corporation Board of Directors, effective September 1, 2016. He joined the Board of Directors of NUCOR Steel in September of 2017.

General Austin achieved a number of notable “firsts” over the course of his career. He was the first African American general officer to command a U.S. Army Division in combat (10 th Mountain Division/Combined Joint Task Force-180). He was the first African American general officer to lead a Corps in combat (XVIIIth Airborne Corps/Multi-National Corps-Iraq). He was the first African American general officer to command an entire theater of war (U.S. Forces-Iraq). He was also the first African American to serve as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and as Commander of U.S. Central Command.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), a Master’s Degree in Education from Auburn University, and a Master’s Degree in Business Management from Webster University. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Auburn University Alumni Association in 2012 and is a member of Auburn University Board of Trustees. He was recently named a USMA 2017 Distinguished Graduate Award recipient. He is also a member of the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Board of Trustees.

General Austin and his wife, Charlene reside in St. Petersburg, Florida.

General Austin’s many awards and decorations include five Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the country’s highest non-combat related military award; three Distinguished Service Medals; the Silver Star, our nation’s third highest award for valor in combat; and two Legions of Merit.

Gen. Phil Breedlove


Listen to Gen. Breedlove on Episode 4: NATO: How US Military & US Diplomats Partnered On Russia/Ukraine & Disinformation

Phil Breedlove is a proven strategic planner, motivational leader and talented communicator. He is a highly decorated retired general of the United States Air Force where he reached the highest levels of military leadership as one of six geographic Combatant Commanders and the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

During 39 years of service, he served in a variety of demanding command and staff positions, leading large-scale, diverse, global operations across two theaters of combat and earning a reputation as an inspirational leader focused on his people, their families and mission accomplishment. Leading a diverse political-military alliance, he was able to build consensus and form teams to accomplish complex tasks spanning multiple continents 

As the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Commander of U.S. European Command , he answered directly to NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, and to the President of the United States and Secretary of Defense. He led the most comprehensive and strategic structural and policy security changes in the alliance’s 70 year history. His diplomatic skills reassured allies, deterred potential aggressors, and maintained alliance unity during the most dynamic and challenging period since its inception. He led the forces of 28 nations and multiple partners in ensuring the security of an alliance that accounts for more than half the world’s GDP.

As Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, Breedlove was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces while ensuring theater air defense forces were ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. This diverse portfolio included both theater and operational air and ballistic missile defense, areas where his operational designs remain in place today.

As Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint

Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group during a period of intense challenge, including devising measures to meet the requirements of the the Budget Control Act’s required $480 billion reduction of the Department of Defense budget. Accordingly, he led the organization, training and equipping of more than 690,000 people serving in the U.S. Air Force and provided oversight of its $120 billion annual budget.

As Assistant Chief of Staff for Air Operations, Plans and Requirements, Breedlove directed all Air Force operations across the globe, oversaw strategic and operational planning, and set the requirements for all Air Force procurement. Additionally, he was one of two original authors of the Defense Department’s Air-Sea Battle Concept.

Breedlove served in a variety of assignments leading up to those leadership positions, including commanding a squadron, a group, three fighter wings, and a Numbered Air Force in service across three different continents. His extensive command and control experience in wartime, contingency planning, and humanitarian relief actions include operations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

He earned his Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in Aerospace Technology from Arizona State University. Additionally, he completed a Masters of International Security Affairs from the National War College, a Fellowship in International Security Affairs, Seminar XXI from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed Leadership at the Peak at the Center for Creative Leadership Colorado Springs.

Breedlove currently serves on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board, as a Distinguished Professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, as a Senior Advisor to Fairfax National Security Solutions, and on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council.

Amb. Katherine Canavan


Listen to Amb. Canavan on Episode 3: Europe: The European Command & The Bang For The Buck Of US Military Training In Europe

Katherine Hubay Canavan (formerly Peterson) was a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State for more than 35 years.  She retired after a distinguished career in November 2011, with the rank of Career Minister, the second highest in the Foreign Service.  Since retiring, she has supported a number of military exercises and courses as a subject matter expert, particularly those which emphasize comprehensive, non-combat approaches incorporating various U.S. Government agencies, international and non-governmental organizations.

In her last posting (2008-2011), she served as the Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to ADM James G. Stavridis, the Commander of the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.  Prior to that, Ms. Canavan served as United States Ambassador to Botswana (2005-2008), Director of the Foreign Service Institute (2001-2005), and Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho (1998-2001).

Following her entry into the Foreign Service in 1976, Ms. Canavan served in a number of positions in Washington as well as overseas, including as Deputy Chief of Mission in Windhoek, Namibia (1993-1996), Chief of American Citizen Services in Tijuana, Mexico (1987-1990), and Non-immigrant Visa Chief in Kingston, Jamaica (1979-1981).   Prior to entering the Foreign Service, she spent three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).   She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz and attended the National War College (Class of 1993).   She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Lieutenant General Mike Canavan, U.S. Army, retired.

Amb. Thomas Countryman


Thomas Countryman has been Chairman of the Arms Control Association since 2017. The ACA is a nonpartisan NGO which analyzes key national security issues and advises the executive branch, Congress and the public on choices that promote global security and reduce risk from weapons of mass destruction.

He retired from the Senior Foreign Service in January 2017 after 35 years of service. At that time, he served simultaneously as acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and as Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, a position he held since September 2011. The ISN Bureau leads the US effort to prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, their related materials, and their delivery systems.

Previously he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs (2009-10), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs (2010-11), with responsibility for the Balkans region.

He served overseas at US Embassies in Belgrade, Tunis, Cairo, Rome and Athens; and served in the US at the United Nations, the White House and the Pentagon.  

Amb. Gene Cretz

Ambassador Cretz hails from Albany, New York. He attended the University of Rochester graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in English literature. He later received an M.S. degree in linguistics from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1975).

Ambassador Cretz served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kabul, Afghanistan from 1975-1977, and joined the Department of State in March 1981. His first Foreign Service tour was as general services officer and consular officer in Islamabad, Pakistan (1982-84). He then returned to Washington and served one year in the Operations Center and one year as staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA).

From 1986-88, Ambassador Cretz was a political officer in Damascus, Syria, followed by a tour as a political officer in New Delhi, India (1988-91). After leaving India, Ambassador Cretz served in Tel Aviv (1991-94) where he was responsible for Arab affairs, including the Gaza Strip.

His second Washington assignment was in the Bureau of International Organizations, as the officer responsible for Middle East Affairs at the United Nations. From 1998-2001, he served in Beijing, China, where he was in charge of China's External Affairs portfolio. In 2001 he transferred to Cairo, Egypt where he served as Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs.

In August 2003, he returned to Damascus, Syria as Deputy Chief of Mission and subsequently served as Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy until January 2004. He was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Tel Aviv from August 2004 until August 2007.

On July 11, 2007, Ambassador Cretz was nominated by the President to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Libya and the appointment was confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 2008. While awaiting Senate confirmation, Ambassador Cretz served as the NEA Bureau’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egyptian, Israeli-Palestinian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and Syrian Affairs and assumed responsibility for Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula Affairs in August 2008. Ambassador Cretz served in Libya from December 2008 until May 2012.

President Barack Obama on April 11, 2012 nominated career Senior Foreign Service Officer Gene A. Cretz to be the next Ambassador of the United States to Ghana. The appointment was confirmed by the Senate on August 2, 2012. Ambassador Cretz was sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on September 11, 2012.

Ambassador Cretz completed his tour as Ambassador to Ghana in late June 2015 and retired from the Foreign Service on July 1, 2015.

Ambassador Cretz is currently the Director General Representative of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Israel.

Ambassador Cretz speaks Dari, Urdu, Arabic and Chinese.

Amb. Ryan Crocker

Listen to Amb. Crocker on Episode 1: US Military & Diplomatic Leadership In Iraq

Ambassador Ryan Crocker is currently the dean of Texas A&M University’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker was confirmed as Ambassador to Iraq on March 7, 2007. He assumed Chief of Mission duties at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on March 29, 2007 after serving as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan from October 2004 to March, 2007. He served previously as the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College, where he joined the faculty in 2003. From May to August 2003, he was in Baghdad as the first Director of Governance for the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from August 2001 to May 2003, and served previously as Ambassador to Syria (1998-2001), Ambassador to Kuwait (1994-1997) and Ambassador to Lebanon (1990-1993). Since joining the Foreign Service in 1971, he also has had assignments in Iran, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, as well as Washington. He was assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983.
He grew up in an Air Force family, attending schools in Morocco, Canada and Turkey, as well as the U.S. He received a B.A. in English in 1971 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001 from Whitman College (Washington).

Ambassador Crocker received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 1994, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service in 1997 and the Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 1999 and 2003. He also holds the State Department Distinguished Honor Award, Award for Valor, three Superior Honor Awards and the American Foreign Service Association Rivkin Award. In January 2002, he was sent to Afghanistan to reopen the American Embassy in Kabul. He subsequently received the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for “exceptional courage and leadership” in Afghanistan. In September 2004, President Bush conferred on him the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service.

Amb. James Cunningham

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Ambassador James B. Cunningham retired from government service at the end of 2014, and is currently a consultant, a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

He served as Ambassador to Afghanistan (August 2012 to December 2014), and as Deputy Ambassador (2011 – 2012). He was Ambassador to Israel (2008 -2011), Consul General for Hong Kong and Macau (2005 – 2008), Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York (1999 – 2004), and Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the first nine months of 2001, including on 9/11.

After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome, and the US Mission to NATO, NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner selected Ambassador Cunningham as his Chief of Staff (1988 – 1990). He advised the Secretary General on all NATO issues in the context of nuclear disarmament in Europe, the collapse of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany, and the impending dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Ambassador Cunningham became Deputy Political Counselor at the US Mission to the United Nations. In 1992, he became the Deputy Director of the State Department Office of European Security and Political Affairs (1992 – 1993) and then Director (1993 – 1995). He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in Rome (1996 – 1999).

Ambassador Cunningham was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with degrees in political science and psychology. He is married to Leslie Genier of Mineville, New York. They have two daughters. Ambassador Cunningham is the recipient of multiple awards from the State Department, the National Performance Review's Hammer Award for Innovation in Management, the President's Meritorious Service Award (twice), and has received prestigious awards from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Secretary of Defense, and the President of Afghanistan.  In 2016, Syracuse University honored him with its Arents Award for distinguished public service. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society, and the American Academy of Diplomacy. 

Amb. Susan Elliott


Ambassador (retired) Susan M. Elliott is President & CEO of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a position she assumed in August 2018. Ambassador Elliott is an accomplished diplomat with an earned doctorate from Indiana University. During her 27-year diplomatic career, Ambassador Elliott held a variety of leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State.

From 2015 to 2017, Ambassador Elliott served as the Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of the United States European Command. Ambassador Elliott was the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan from 2012 to 2015. Prior to her Ambassadorial appointment, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

Ambassador Elliott served on the faculties of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia before joining the U.S. Department of State in March 1990. During her Foreign Service career, Ambassador Elliott worked in a variety of overseas and Washington-based assignments. Her previous overseas assignments include Minister Counselor for Political Affairs in Moscow, Russia; Principal Officer in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Deputy Economic Counselor and Visa Section Chief in Athens, Greece. Other overseas assignments include Moscow, Russia and Lima, Peru.

Ambassador Elliott worked on the staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a Deputy Executive Secretary and Director of the Executive Secretariat Staff. Earlier in her career she reported on conflicts in the countries of the former Soviet Union when she worked in the Office of the Coordinator for Regional Conflicts in the New Independent States.

Gen. David Goldfein


Gen. David L. Goldfein is Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va. As Chief, he serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 685,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President.

Prior to assuming his current position, General Goldfein was the Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, where he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. Before serving as the Vice Chief, General Goldfein was the Director, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.

General Goldfein received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 4,200 flying hours in the T-37, T-38, F-16C/D, F-117A, MQ-9 and MC-12W. He has flown combat missions in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Allied Force and Enduring Freedom.


1983 Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

1986 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence

1987 Master's degree in business administration, Oklahoma City University, Okla.

1992 Fighter Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

1995 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

1998 Air War College, by correspondence

2001 National Defense Fellowship, State Department Senior Seminar, Arlington, Va.


1. October 1983 - October 1984, student, undergraduate pilot training, Sheppard AFB, Texas

2. October 1984 - February 1988, T-38 instructor pilot, 90th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Texas

3. February 1988 - January 1992, F-16 instructor pilot and flight commander, 17th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.

4. January 1992 - June 1992, student, USAF Fighter Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.

5. June 1992 - July 1994, squadron weapons officer and Chief, Wing Weapons and Tactics, 366th Composite Wing, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

6. July 1994 - June 1995, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

7. June 1995 - May 1996, special assistant to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and 16th Air Force, Naples, Italy

8. May 1996 - August 1997, executive officer to the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany

9. August 1997 - June 1998, operations officer, 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy

10. June 1998 - July 2000, Commander, 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy

11. July 2000 - June 2001, student, National Defense Fellow, State Department Senior Seminar, Arlington, Va.

12. July 2001 - July 2002, Deputy Division Chief, Combat Forces, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va.

13. August 2002 - July 2004, Commander, 366th Operations Group, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho

14. July 2004 - June 2006, Commander, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany

15. June 2006 - January 2008, Commander, 49th Fighter Wing, Holloman AFB, N.M.

16. January 2008 - August 2009, Deputy Director of Programs, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va.

17. August 2009 - August 2011, Director of Operations, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

18. August 2011 - July 2013, Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Southwest Asia

19. August 2013 - August 2015, Director, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.

20. August 2015 - July 2016, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va.

21 July 2016 - present, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Arlington, Va.


1. June 1995 - May 1996, special assistant to the Commander, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and 16th Air Force, Naples, Italy, as a major

Gen. Carter Ham

General Ham is the president and chief executive officer of the Association of the United States Army. He is an experienced leader who has led at every level from platoon to geographic combatant command. He is also a member of a very small group of Army senior leaders who have risen from private to four-star general.

General Ham served as an enlisted infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division before attending John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Graduating in 1976 as a distinguished military graduate, his service has taken him to Italy, Germany, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Macedonia, Qatar, Iraq and, uniquely among Army leaders, to over 40 African countries in addition to a number of diverse assignments within the United States.

He commanded the First Infantry Division, the legendary Big Red One, before assuming duties as director for operations on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon where he oversaw all global operations. His first four-star command was as commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. Then in 2011, he became just the second commander of United States Africa Command where he led all U.S. military activities on the African continent ranging from combat operations in Libya to hostage rescue operations in Somalia as well as training and security assistance activities across 54 complex and diverse African nations.

General Ham retired in June of 2013 after nearly 38 years of service. Immediately prior to joining the staff at AUSA, he served as the chairman of the National Commission on the Future of the Army, an eight-member panel tasked by the Congress with making recommendations on the size, force structure and capabilities of the Total Army.

He resides with his wife, Christi, in Arlington, Virginia.

Amb. Michael Hammer

Listen to Amb. Hammer on Episode 5: What Are Effective Public Affairs Strategies And Tactics For Our Military And Our Diplomats?

Ambassador Michael (Mike) A. Hammer became NDU's Acting Senior Vice President on 27 Oct 2017. He previously served as the Deputy Commandant of NDU’s Eisenhower School and was additionally dual-hatted as the Vice Chancellor of the College of International Security Affairs. Amb. Hammer is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service class of Minister-Counselor.  He most recently served as U.S. ambassador to Chile from 2014-2016. He began his diplomatic career in 1988. Prior to his appointment in Chile, Amb. Hammer served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs from March 2012 to August 2013.  He also served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

Before joining the Bureau of Public Affairs, Amb. Hammer served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director for Press and Communications, and National Security Council Spokesman from January 2009 to January 2011.  He previously served at the National Security Council as Deputy Spokesman from 1999 to 2000 and as the Director of Andean Affairs from 2000 to 2001.

Amb. Hammer’s overseas postings include Bolivia, Norway, Iceland and Denmark.  His other State Department assignments include the Operations Center and serving as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Amb. Hammer has received several awards, including a the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Department’s Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy and several Superior Honor awards.

Amb. Hammer earned a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  He also earned Master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and from the National War College at the National Defense University.

Amb. Hammer grew up in Latin America, living in Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.

He is fluent in Spanish and speaks French and Icelandic. Amb Hammer and his wife Margret Bjorgulfsdottir have three children.

Brig. Gen. Garrick Harmon


Brigadier General Garrick M. Harmon is a native of Hutchinson, Kansas. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1992 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. BG Harmon has a Bachelor of Science in European History and Russian Language from West Point, a Master of Arts in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Studies from Harvard University, and Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

BG Harmon has served in numerous command and staff positions in the United States of America and Europe. Prior to his current assignment in Moscow, he served as Deputy Director, Strategy, Plans, and Policy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, Headquarters, Department of the Army. He previously served as the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché, Tbilisi, Georgia; Army Attaché, Moscow, Russia; Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Army; and Deputy Director, CJ-5, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. BG Harmon also served in the NATO Land Component Command, Madrid, Spain, as the Army Attaché in Tallinn, Estonia, and in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

BG Harmon’s military education includes the U.S. Army War College, Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Command and General Staff College, Defense Language Institute, Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management, and the Joint Military Attaché School. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, the Airborne and Air Assault Badges, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

He is married to the former Nichelle Hogan of Hutchinson, Kansas. They have three children: Elyse (21), Caleb (17), and Elena (13).

Adm. Michelle Howard


Michelle J. Howard served 35 years in the United States Navy. She led Sailors and Marines multiple times in her career as the Commander of: a ship, an Expeditionary Strike Group, Task Force, and a Naval theater. Her last command was from 2016 to 2017 as U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa. She simultaneously led NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples with oversight of missions from the Western Balkans to Iraq. Operations in her career include: NATO peacekeeping, West African Training Cruise, Indonesia Tsunami Relief operations, and the rescue of Maersk Alabama from Somali Pirates. Michelle J. Howard is a Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran.

In 1999 Michelle J. Howard became the first African American woman to command a ship in the Navy. In 2014, she was the first woman to become a four-star Admiral in the U.S. Navy and the first woman to be appointed to the position of Vice Chief of Naval Operations (number two in a Military Service). She is the first African American woman to reach the rank of three-star and four-stars in the Armed Forces.

Amb. James Jeffrey

Listen to Amb. Jeffrey on Episode 6: Iraq: Sharing Meals And Joint Leadership

Ambassador James F. Jeffrey retired from the Foreign Service with the rank of Career Ambassador in June, 2012. At present he is the Philip Solondz distinguished visiting fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Visiting Instructor at George Washington University, consultant, and member of the Central Intelligence Agency External Advisory Board.

Ambassador Jeffrey has held a series of senior posts in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Prior to his service as Ambassador in Ankara, 2008-2010, and Baghdad 2010-2012, he served as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor in the George W, Bush Administration. Previously he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the Department of State, where his responsibilities included leading the Iran policy team and coordinating public diplomacy. Earlier appointments included service as Senior Advisor on Iraq to the Secretary of State; Chargé d’affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Baghdad; Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara and Kuwait; Ambassador to Albania, and Deputy Coordinator for Bosnia.

A former infantry officer in the U.S. Army, Ambassador Jeffrey served in Germany and Vietnam from 1969 to 1976. His wife Gudrun and he have two children, Julia, and Jahn.

Amb. Stuart Jones


Stuart E. Jones currently serves as the Vice President for the Cohen Group.  A career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Affairs Bureau from October 2016 until August 2017. Jones previously served as US Ambassador to Iraq from 2014-2016 and as Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from 2011-2014.


Ambassador Jones has extensive experience in Iraq. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Baghdad in 2010-2011, Governorate Coordinator in Al Anbar Province in 2004, and Country Director for Iraq at the National Security Council.


From 2008-2010, Ambassador Jones also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State at the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Other foreign tours include Turkey, El Salvador and Colombia and he was special assistant to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright.


Ambassador Jones is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Lt. Gen. P. K. Keen


Listen to Lt. Gen. Keen on Episode 7: 40 Seconds That Changed Haiti Forever

Lieutenant General (Ret) P. K. (Ken) Keen is a native of Hyden, Kentucky. Following graduation as a distinguished military graduate from Eastern Kentucky University, he was commissioned as a 2LT in the Infantry in December 1974. LTG (Ret) Keen retired from active duty on 1 March 2013.

LTG (Ret) Keen is currently the Associate Dean of Leadership Development and a faculty member in Organization and Management for Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia. In this role, he manages a school-wide leadership development program for the MBA programs, which includes teaching crisis leadership; developing high performing teams; implementing a Coaching Fellows Program; and coaching in the Advanced Leadership Academy.

LTG (Ret) Keen served 38 years in the Army with over 11 years working and living abroad in the Republic of Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Germany, Egypt, and Pakistan. Ken has extensive leadership experience of conventional and special operations units as well as the interagency environment. Ken commanded a SFOD-A team in Special Forces, a company and Battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division, Joint Task Force – Haiti, following the Jan 2010 earthquake, as well as serving on 3 U.S. Embassy Country Teams leading all military forces in Colombia, Haiti, and Pakistan during crisis periods. He participated in Operation JUST CAUSE in 1989 as the Assistant S3 of the 75th Ranger Regiment; commanded a Ranger Task Force during Operation DESERT STORM in 1990 as part of a Joint Special Operations Command while serving as the S3 of the 1 st Ranger Battalion; was the Executive Officer and Commander of 1 st Ranger Battalion; and was the 11 th Colonel of the 75 th Ranger Regiment from 1999 to 2001. LTG (Ret) Keen is a graduate of the Brazilian Command and General Staff College, Defense Language Institute - Portuguese Course, and the University of Florida’s Master of Arts in Latin American Studies program. Having served as a Special Forces and foreign area officer in Latin America, Ken speaks conversational Portuguese and Spanish.

LTG (Ret) Keen also serves on several non-profit Boards in support of military veterans and international humanitarian organizations. Ken is on the Board of Trustees for the U.S. Army War College; on the Board of Visitors for the Western Hemisphere of Security Cooperation; and a Board member of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization. LTG (Ret) Keen also serves as the President of PKKEEN Consulting, LLC, and in this role he has been an Executive Coach for over 120 senior military and business executives over the last 4 years. In 2016, LTG (Ret) Keen was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame and the National Reserve Officer Training Corps Hall of Fame.

LTG (Ret) Keen has been married to Mary Ellen Hume for over 43 years. They have a daughter, Marta Keen, a Junior at Georgia State University; two sons Dr. Ryan Keen and Jonathan Keen, who is married to Jennifer Wu; and 2 grandchildren.

Amb. Ian Kelly


Ian Crawford Kelly (born 1953) is Ambassador (ret.) in Residence at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He is an American former statesman and senior Foreign Service Officer who last served as the United States Ambassador to Georgia, from 2015 to 2018. He previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from 2010 to 2013. Prior to his ambassadorship, Kelly held a variety of high-level roles at the U.S. State Department, including serving as the department spokesman under Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Before beginning his career at the State Department, Kelly taught Russian at Columbia University, where he also received his doctorate in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 1986. He also holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College and an M.A. from Northwestern University. After joining the Foreign Service, he served in a variety of positions, including the Director of the Information Center in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from 1990 to 1992, and Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer in Leningrad and Moscow, U.S.S.R. from 1987 to 1990. In these capacities, Kelly was involved in setting up embassies across the former Soviet Republics, a task that took him to all 15 newly independent states. He has studied Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Turkish at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center of the State Department.

In 1994, Kelly was appointed Director of Democratic Initiatives to the Newly Independent States (NIS) at the State Department where he coordinated the activities of nearly a dozen federal agencies involved in democracy building in the former Soviet Union, and oversaw an annual budget of around $80 million. He later served as Press Attaché at the American Embassy in Ankara (1997-2000), Press Attaché at Embassy Rome (2000-2004), and Public Affairs Advisor at the U.S. Mission to NATO (2004-2007).

In August 2007, Kelly was appointed Director of the Office of Russian Affairs in Washington D.C., where he was responsible for managing the development and implementation of U.S. policy towards Russia, and later served as a senior spokesperson for the State Department in Washington.

On November 30, 2009, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Kelly to be U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador. His nomination was presented to the Senate by U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), who praised Kelly's deep experience serving throughout the former Soviet Union, and emphasized the critical role of the OSCE in the current geopolitical climate. Kelly was confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2010 by a voice vote with bipartisan support. Prior to his appointment, the OSCE position had been vacant for over a year.

Kelly's tenure as Ambassador coincided with several major geopolitical events for OSCE countries, including pro-democracy protests in Russia, a controversial constitutional amendment in Kazakhstan extending the tenure of President Nursultan Nazarbayevthrough 2020, and ethnic riots in Kyrgyzstan in 2010. In 2012-2013, Kelly was the U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the diplomatic mechanism set up to resolve the conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Kelly was replaced by Daniel Baer on September 10, 2013.

President Obama nominated Kelly to succeed Richard Norland as the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia on March 12, 2015. He was confirmed by the Senate on June 25, 2015 and sworn in on September 11, 2015. He retired both as ambassador and from the Foreign Service in March, 2018. He began teaching in the Departments of International Studies and Slavic Literatures at Northwestern University in April, 2018.