News Release                                                                   


Jan. 1, 2019

From Russia meddling in U.S. elections, to counterterrorism in Africa, to North Korean Nuclear Proliferation, our country continues to face new and evolving national security threats. On top of so much else, the November midterm elections have underscored Americans’ desire for change away from how Washington politics has long been run—and by whom.

Since 9/11, there has been a growing number of Black Americans making a difference in the national security sector. Many of them are former Obama Administration Appointees, lawyers, congressional staff, intelligence analysts, military veterans, diplomats, foreign aid practitioners, entrepreneurs, economists, and beyond – inspired by role models that have broken glass ceilings in national security such as Ambassador Andrew Young, General Colin Powell, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Ambassador Ruth Davis, and many others.

The Diversity in National Security Network and New America are pleased to honor the contributions of 35 Black American experts in U.S. national security and foreign policy. The list features experts currently serving in government, think tanks, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the media. Selection is based on excellence and leadership; their current work in national security or foreign policy; and their contributions to their issues of expertise through thought leadership.


Camille Stewart, Cyber and Tech Attorney

Camille Stewart

Camille Stewart is a cyber & technology attorney who brings specialized, crosscutting perspective to bear on complex technology, cyber, and national security, and foreign policy issues. Camille served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Cyber Infrastructure & Resilience Policy at the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration focusing on a number of domestic and international cyber and technology policy issues. Prior to working at DHS, Camille spent five years as the Senior Manager, Legal Affairs at Cyveillance, Inc., a cybersecurity company focused on open source threat intelligence and incident response. She also founded a legal consultancy and startup incubator, MarqueLaw, PLLC. Camille is a New America Cyber Policy Fellow, Truman National Security Fellow, & Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. Learn more about current projects and follow her work on her website, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Cybersecurity, Cyber Diplomacy, Cyber Capacity Building, US-Israel Cyber Cooperation, Transatlantic, Privacy, Entrepreneurship, Tech


Zaid Zaid, Public Policy, Strategic Response, Facebook, Inc.

Zaid Zaid

Zaid A. Zaid is on the Public Policy, Strategic Response team at Facebook, where he deals with high-profile incidents that affect the business and reputational risk of the platform. He served in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel and before that as Senior Attorney Advisor to the General Counsel at USAID. Before joining the Obama Administration, he was in private practice at WilmerHale. Zaid graduated from Columbia Law School as an Editorial Board member of the Columbia Law Review. Prior to law school, he was a political officer in the Foreign Service. He served at the U.N. and in Baghdad, Cairo, and Tunis. Zaid has MALD from the Fletcher School and a BSFS from Georgetown University, where he was a Pickering Fellow. Zaid is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Truman National Security Project fellow, and a International Career Advancement Program (ICAP) alum. He serves on the Board of Directors of iMMAP. Learn more about his work on iMMAP, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Diplomacy, Development, National Security, International Law


Lia Miller, Career Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

Lia Miller

Lia Miller, a career Foreign Service Officer, has worked extensively on issues across the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. In both her professional and volunteer capacities, she has demonstrated leadership and innovation in public diplomacy, communications and public outreach, humanitarian relief, democratic institution building and reform, social inclusion and diversity, among other areas. Lia is currently in training to become the next Public Affairs Officer (the person in charge of the Public Affairs Office) in U.S. Embassy Yerevan. She has also held assignments in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Operations Center, the Bureau of Public Affairs, the Office of Middle East Transitions, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and at the U.S. Embassies in Bolivia, Tunisia, Nicaragua, and Oman for the U.S. Department of State. Engage with her work on her website, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Public Diplomacy, Communications and Public Outreach, Democratic Institution Building and Reform, Humanitarian Relief, Social Inclusion and Diversity


Travis Adkins, Director, Global Governance & Civic Engagement, InterAction

Travis Adkins

Travis Adkins is an international development leader with 20 years of experience working in conflict and post-conflict settings in over 50 nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Adkins’ expertise ranges from democracy, rights and governance to civil society strengthening, humanitarian assistance and youth development. Travis holds a B.A. in African History from Fisk University and M.A. degrees in both International Affairs and Education. He has served for a decade as an Adjunct Professor teaching International Development and Africa and Middle East Areas Studies, with appointments from Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon and New York Universities. Mr. Adkins is also the host of the “On Africa” podcast, which serves as a convening space for rich and nuanced conversations on African Affairs. Learn more about Mr. Adkins’ work on InterAction’s site, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Africa; Middle East; Development and Humanitarian Assistance; Foreign Policy; Refugees and Migration; Economic Development; Youth Development; Education; Democracy, Human Rights and Governance; Civil Society Engagement


Tyrik McKeiver, Chief of Staff, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs

Tyrik McKeiver

Tyrik “Ty” McKeiver is the Chief of Staff in the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs. As Chief of Staff, Ty serves as a top-level advisor and chief strategist on political, programmatic, and operational initiatives and oversees highly prioritized projects that connect New York City residents and agencies to the diplomatic and the greater international community. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Ty was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a senior advisor to the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources at the U.S. Department of State. He has over 10 years of foreign policy and national security oversight and implementation experience. Ty received a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University, and he received his Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from Florida International University in Miami. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Follow his work on, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Global Counterterrorism, Homeland Security, Diplomatic affairs


Anthony Johnson, US Defense Strategy & Military Capabilities Expert; Analyst

Anthony Johnson

Anthony (Tony) Johnson is an analyst with the Institute for Defense Analyses, specializing in US defense strategy, intelligence, special operations policy, and military capabilities studies. A US Navy Veteran, Tony has also served as the Country Lead and DoD Advisor for the US Security Governance Initiative (SGI) at the State Department (2015-2017), and as the Advisor for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (2011-2013). Tony’s career also includes assignments at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and with the Defense Science Board. Tony holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a BA from Norwich University. An expert commentator on “The SecureLine” national security podcast, Truman National Security Project Fellow, and Founder of Truman’s diversity initiative, Tony is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the US security policy community. Learn about his work on Truman Project, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: US Defense Strategy, Intelligence, Special Operations Policy, Military Capabilities Studies


Janette Yarwood, Ph.D., Staff Director, House Subcommittee on Africa

Janette Yarwood

Dr. Janette Yarwood is the Staff Director for the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International organizations. In this role, manages subcommittee activities, drafts legislation and conducts oversight missions. She also drives a comprehensive foreign policy agenda for the Ranking Member. Previously, Dr. Yarwood was at the State Department where she was the Chair of Sub-Saharan Africa Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute where she was responsible for all aspects of the program. While at the State Department, she also completed a detail with the Bureau of African affairs where she managed a full range of bilateral relations and policy on Southern African countries. Previously, she was a Research Staff Member in the Africa Program at the Institute for Defense Analysis. Dr. Yarwood is a Fulbright Scholar and holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Learn more about her work here, and follow on LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Africa, Governance and Democracy, Security and Instability, Social Movements


Shawn Bush, US Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State

Shawn Bush

Shawn C. Bush Jr. is a U.S. Foreign Service Officer currently serving at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. As a Charles B. Rangel Fellow, Shawn’s previous experience with the U.S. Department of State was in the political section of the U.S. Mission to the European Union, where he monitored the European Parliament and reported on the events leading up to and following the Brexit referendum. He is a former aide to now-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, was a Foreign Policy Fellow in the office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and supported the launch of Model Diplomacy, a simulation of the National Security Council, at the Council on Foreign Relations. Born to a military family in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Shawn holds a B.A. from Howard University, certificate in International Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and Master of International Affairs from Columbia University SIPA, where he was Senior Editor of the Journal of International Affairs. Connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Expertise: Diplomacy


Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D., Executive Director, Healthcare Ready

Dr. Nicolette Louissaint

Dr. Nicolette Louissaint serves as the Executive Director of Healthcare Ready, a nonprofit organization set up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to ensure that the catastrophic breakdowns in patient access to healthcare would never happen again. In this role, she leads the organizations efforts to build greater healthcare preparedness and response efforts in coordination with the public and private sectors. Her particular areas of interest are biosecurity and supply chain complexities. During the height of the Ebola Epidemic of 2014, Nicolette served as the Senior Advisor to the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Ebola. She has been recognized as a “40 under 40 leaders in minority health” by the Congressional Black Caucus, a “Leading Woman in Maryland” by The Daily Record, and a finalist for “Program Leader of the Year” by the Disaster Recovery Institute International. Learn more about her work here, and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Health Policy, Disaster Response, Emergency Management, Infrastructure, Public Health


Lesley Warner, Ph.D., Professional Staff Member, House Foreign Affairs Committee

Dr. Lesley Anne Warner

Dr. Lesley Anne Warner is a Professional Staff Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she serves as the principal adviser to the Ranking Member on matters relating to sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, an MA in Security Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and a BA in International Relations from Carleton College, where she was awarded the Boren National Security Education Program Scholarship and a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Dr. Warner is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, a 2018 Next Generation National Security Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a 2018-2019 Penn Kemble Democracy Forum Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project, an International Career Advancement Program (ICAP) Fellow, and a member of the Editorial Board of Parameters, the U.S. Army War College Quarterly. Learn more on her website, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Sub-Saharan Africa


Muhammad Fraser-Rahim, Ph.D., Executive Director, Quilliam International and Assistant Professor, The Citadel

Dr. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim

Dr. Muhammad Fraser-Rahim is the Executive Director, North America for Quilliam International, the world’s oldest counter-extremist organization with HQ’s in the United Kingdom and offices in Washington, DC where he overseas policy issues centering around rehabilitation, demobilization and deradicalization against violent extremism. In addition, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at The Citadel. He is an expert on violent extremism issues both domestically and overseas and a scholar on Africa and Islamic history. Follow his work here, and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Counterterrorism, Deradicalization, Demobilization and Rehabilitation of Former Extremists, African Affairs, Islam, Muslim Communities in the West


Laura Kupe, Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation

Laura Kupe

Laura Kupe is a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, where she provides qualitative research on a range of national security-related projects. Laura previously served as a Special Assistant at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within the Office of Policy as a presidential appointee in the Obama Administration, working on European and Five Eyes matters. During her time in the Obama Administration, she also served as Domestic Director at the White House Presidential Personnel Office and as Briefing Book Director to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. Laura serves as a Transatlantic Security Expert Group Director for the Truman National Security Project, a Youth Ambassador for Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security, and as a foreign policy expert on the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies’ “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation” project. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Learn more about her work at RAND, and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Transatlantic, Five Eyes, Counterterrorism, Border Security, Migration, Sub-Saharan Africa, Homeland Security, Air Force Personnel and Manpower, Security Cooperation


Rachel Gillum, Ph.D., Fellow, Stanford University

Dr. Rachel Gillum

Dr. Rachel Gillum is a Senior Director at RiceHadleyGates, the strategic consulting firm led by Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley. In this role, Rachel manages the firm’s tech clients and is closely engaged on a number of regulatory and security issues facing tech companies globally. Rachel is also an affiliate at Stanford University’s Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) where she is working with a team of scholars to evaluate and design policies surrounding the integration of refugees and immigrants worldwide. She is the author of the book, Muslims in a Post-9/11 America: A Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs and Their Implications for U.S. National Security Policy as well as a number of other scholarly publications. Prior to receiving her doctorate in Political Science from Stanford University, Rachel served as an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency and a researcher at the RAND Corporation’s International Policy Center. Learn more on her website, and follow her work on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Countering Violent Extremism Policy, Homeland Security, Immigration, Tech/Cyber


Mycal Ford, Threat Finance Analyst at Sayari

Mycal Ford

Mycal Ford is a Threat Finance Analyst at Sayari, where he has focused on North Korean Sanctions Evasion, Counter Proliferation, and disrupting the supply chain of US-controlled substances such as opioids. During his undergraduate and graduate studies, Ford completed a David L. Boren Fellowship, a Critical Language Scholarship, and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Beijing, Xi’an, and Kaohsiung respectively. He earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the School of International Service at American University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies and Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University. He speaks and reads Mandarin. Learn more about his work on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Transnational Crime, Sanctions Evasion, Counter Proliferation in East Asia


Anthony Robinson, Director of Training and Public

Anthony Robinson

Engagement at The Truman Center for Policy and Truman National Security Project

Anthony Robinson serves as the Director of Training and Public Engagement for Truman Center for National Policy and Truman National Security Project. He actively engages, cultivates and manages relationships with global allied organizations to support professional development programming and advocacy goals.Previously, Anthony served as a White House appointee during the Obama Administration at the Department of Defense. While there he was awarded the Medal for Exceptional Public Service by the Secretary of Defense. He also served as a Special Advisor at the Department of Labor and in the Office of Aviation and International Affairs at the Department of Transportation. conducted implicit bias training based on diversity and inclusion in Transatlantic Security in Germany during the Munich Security Conference. Anthony is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He has a BA degree from North Carolina A&T State University and He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Follow his work here, and on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Defense Operations, Transatlantic Security, International Relations/Policy, Diversity and Inclusion in Security Spaces, Democracy Erosion, Energy and Climate Security


Mareena Robinson Snowden, Ph.D., Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Dr. Mareena Robinson Snowden

Dr. Mareena Robinson Snowden is a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research focuses on nuclear arms control verification, nonproliferation, and modernization. Prior to joining Carnegie, Robinson Snowden served as a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Graduate Fellow in the Office of Major Modernization Programs. Robinson Snowden was awarded the NNSA Stockpile Stewardship Graduate Fellowship (SSGF) in 2012. As an SSGF fellow, she conducted verification research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she led computational and experimental investigations into the feasibility of detecting radiation generated inside of open-source warhead designs. Robinson Snowden became the first black woman to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT in 2017, and holds a BS in physics from Florida A&M University. Her story in STEM has been featured in MARVEL Comics, CNBC, BET and other national television, radio and print media. Engage with her work here and follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Nuclear Arms Control Verification, Nonproliferation, Modernization


Jalina Porter, Communications Director

Jalina Porter

Jalina Porter is currently the Communications Director for Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA). Jalina’s career has been dedicated to public service and communications starting with her Peace Corps service in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Jalina has also previously worked for Congressmen John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney, publicly traded companies, and was most recently the Press Secretary for Truman National Security Project. She has served on the board for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. An avid performer, Jalina has spent 5 years as a professional dancer for professional sports league teams, including within the NFL, NBA, and NLL. She has been featured on MTV, Ms. Magazine, Roll Call, The Hill, and Elle Magazine. She is also an executive trainer and consultant in Media and Strategic Communications. Jalina obtained her B.B.A. in Marketing from Howard University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Global Strategic Communications from Georgetown University. Learn more about her work on her website, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Expertise: Cambodia/SE Asian Relations, Sports Diplomacy, Healing and Performing Arts/Dance, Diversity in Foreign Policy, Congressional Affairs


Nicole Tisdale, Staff Director & Counsel, Subcommittee on Counterterrorism & Intelligence, House Committee on Homeland Security

Nicole Tisdale

Nicole Tisdale is the Staff Director & Counsel for the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism & Intelligence and the Director of Outreach and Coalitions on U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. She is the primary advisor to Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (MS) and the Democratic Members on national security policy matters and legislation related to intelligence, counterterrorism, cyber intelligence, countering violent extremism, and domestic law enforcement. Since joining the Committee in 2009 and throughout her tenure on Capitol Hill, she has worked to convene a wide range of stakeholders, build common solutions, and harness support for legislation and oversight to advance the Committee Members’ priorities and our Nation’s national security efforts. She has represented the U.S. and the Department of State on official delegations to more than 30 nations to discuss and negotiate a range of security, economic, intelligence, political, and human rights issues with foreign leaders. Learn more about her work on her website and LinkedIn.

Expertise: National Security, Foreign Affairs, Cyber Security & Cyber Crimes, Privacy and Data Protection, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Protection, Counterterrorism, Immigration and Entry Policies, International Trade Enforcement, Government Contracts Classification Policy, Intellectual Property, Border Enforcement.


Brian Greer, Professional Staff Member, House Armed Services Committee

Brian Greer

Brian Greer is currently a Professional Staff Member on the House Armed Services Committee. Prior to working on the House Armed Services Committee, he worked for three years as a key advisor to Senator Charles E. Schumer on defense, foreign policy and energy issues. Mr. Greer managed a portion of the Senator’s federal appropriations process, drafted legislation, and staffed and executed official meetings with government and private sector officials. Prior to this position, in the Obama Administration, Mr. Greer was a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he worked directly for the Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs. Prior to the Obama Administration, he worked in the US House of Representatives for five years as a legislative assistant. Mr. Greer holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia. Learn more about his work here and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Expertise: Defense Acquisition, Civilian Personnel Policy, Industrial Base Policy, Latin American and Counter-drug Policy.


Heather Ashby, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, Teracore

Dr. Heather Ashby

Dr. Heather Ashby is a foreign policy and national security expert with a focus on South Asia, Southeast Asia, Russia, and Central Asia. During her time at the DHS Office of Policy she served as the expert on Russia and South Asia advising senior officials including the Secretary on developments and engagement opportunities in those countries and regions. For over two years she managed the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue with the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs and DHS developing deliverables, drafting cooperation agreements, and preparing materials for the dialogue. Dr. Ashby holds a doctorate in Russian and global history from the University of Southern California, which she completed in 2014. From 2012-2013, she served as a Boren Fellow in Moscow, Russia. She currently serves as a Senior Consultant with Teracore continuing to shape DHS’s foreign partner engagement with a focus on science and technology partnerships. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Expertise: Russia, Central Asia, and South Asia Security Issues


Brent Bowie, International Project Manager, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Brent Bowie

Brent Bowie has been recognized for his distinguished civilian service as an International Program Manager within the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Directorate since starting with the agency in 2013. During his time, embodying dedication and teamwork, he worked to reinvigorate the SS-24 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Solid Rocket Motor Elimination Project in Ukraine. Mr. Bowie has also made a significant impact on other Cooperative Threat Reduction efforts. He leads the planning, coordination and execution of congressionally-mandated audits and examinations that are on-site compliance assessments on DoD-provided assistance to partner nations. In this capacity, he led the first on-site program assessment in the Republic of Uganda at the National Animal Disease Diagnostics and Epidemiology Center (NADDEC) and Ugandan Virus Research Institute (UVRI), as well as the first assessment of Global Nuclear Security projects in Ukraine. Follow his work on LinkedIn.

Expertise: Weapons of Mass Destruction, Nuclear Security, Security Cooperation, Ukraine


Ajenai Clemmons, Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy, Duke University

Ajenai Clemmons

Ajenai’s academic research focuses on the police-community relationship, comparing African Americans and European Muslims. The past four years, Ajenai has promoted transatlantic relations between Europe and the U.S., conducting training in Paris, Brussels, and Berlin. She has helped launch an Italian coalition to strengthen political power among minorities. Ajenai moderated a panel in Washington, D.C. of Canadian, German, and British military leaders regarding inclusion in the security sector. She has also co-authored anti-discrimination municipal legislation in Eindhoven, Netherlands. From 2010-2015, Ajenai served as Policy Director of a national association of 700 Black state legislators in Washington, D.C., overseeing all policy and brokering federal relations. Prior, she helped establish a new government agency of civilians monitoring internal affairs investigations for Denver’s police and sheriff departments, serving five years as Community Relations Ombudsman. Learn more about her work here and follow her on LinkedIn.

Expertise: Comparative Politics, Policing, Local Counterterrorism Initiatives, Police-Community Relations, Europe, European minorities, Islamaphobia


Chanda Brown, Attorney

Chanda Brown

Ms. Brown is an Associate in the Defense, National Security, and Government Contracts group at a D.C. law firm. Ms. Brown graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Master’s in Security Studies from Georgetown, and a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Brown University with a focus on Global Security. During law school, she interned for the Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit of a U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice National Security Division Office of Law and Policy. Prior to law school, Ms. Brown spent eight years working for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) focusing on the non/counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. She joined DTRA as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Nuclear Program Division and completed the Department of Defense Executive Leadership Development Program. Prior to DTRA, she was a Defense Analyst Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and interned with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy. Connect with her work on LinkedIn.

Expertise: East Asia, Africa, Nuclear Surety, Conventional Arms Control and Non-proliferation, Arms Control Treaties, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, Government Liaison, National Security, International Affairs, Strategic Planning, Physical Security and Stockpile Management; Counter-proliferation.


Wanida Lewis, Ph.D., Economic Evaluation Policy Analyst, Tuvli LLC

Dr. Wanida Lewis

Residing in Washington, DC, Dr. Wanida Lewis served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau (EB), Office of Agricultural Policy at the Department of State. In EB, she contributed to the policy making process by advocating for science-based decisions for efficient and effective agricultural policies. During her fellowship, Wanida collaborated with U.S. Embassies in Africa to develop outreach workshops connecting women in agriculture. Dr. Lewis served a three-month tour as an Embassy Science Fellow at Embassy Accra where she worked on environmental policy and continued her work developing outreach programs for women in STEM and agriculture. While in Accra, she founded and launched Young, Gifted, & Brown, LLC a pipeline program targeted for young women and entrepreneurs in STEM. Currently, Dr. Lewis is continuing her work in women’s empowerment in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State. Learn more about her work on her website and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Agricultural Policy, International Agricultural Development, Women’s Economic Empowerment


Jamie Jackson, Counsel, House Armed Services Committee

Jamie Jackson

Jamie Jackson currently serves as a counsel on the House Armed Services Committee. Her policy portfolio includes cybersecurity, information technology, acquisition, and oversight and investigations. Jamie previously served at the Pentagon in the Administration of President Barack Obama as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. During her time as a political appointee in the Obama Administration, she also served as National Security Director at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and as a senior legislative advisor in the Air Force Office of Transformational Innovation. Jamie is a two-time graduate of the University of Virginia, having received a Bachelor of Arts in 2004 and a Master of Education from the Curry School of Education in 2005. She received a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2008. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Expertise: Cybersecurity, Information Technology, Acquisition Policy


Bunmi Akinnusotu, Creator & Producer, What in the World podcast and Chief of Staff, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy

Bunmi Akinnusotu

Bunmi is passionate about helping more Americans understand the connection of foreign policy to their everyday lives and does so through her radio program and podcast, What in the world? Her show is the only show in the country featuring expert women and people of color. She has worked domestically and internationally on issues related to democracy building and civic engagement, climate change, and migration. By day, she is the Chief of Staff at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, a membership organization of 20,000 global leaders in 80 countries tacking the world’s toughest challenges. Bunmi is part of the Class of 2019 Penn Kemble Fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy. She obtained her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and also a Master’s in Sociology from Illinois State University. She received her Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems from Bryant University. Listen to her podcast, and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Democracy, Public Diplomacy, Environmental Protection, Climate Change


Alex T. Johnson, Senior Policy Advisor for Europe and Eurasia, Open Society Foundations

Alex T. Johnson

Alex T. Johnson is Senior Policy Advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Policy Center of Open Society Foundations – Washington. Johnson is a former Obama Administration appointee at the Department of Defense serving as Special Advisor for Russia/Ukraine External Affairs in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy). Previously, Johnson spent almost a decade as a policy advisor at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, advising bicameral contributions to U.S. multilateral diplomacy in Eurasia, Europe, and the Near East. During this time, Johnson served four years at the United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna, Austria. Johnson is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations with a BS and MPP from Oregon State University. Johnson is a PhD candidate at Howard University. Learn more about Johnson’s work here, and follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Europe, Eurasia, Multilateral Institutions (OSCE, EU, etc.), Human Rights


Asha Castleberry, University Professor & Major, U.S. Army Reserves

Asha Castleberry

Asha Castleberry is an adjunct faculty professor at Fordham University. She teaches U.S. Foreign Policy and United Nation Peace Operations. A U.S. Army veteran, Asha recently completed a 30-month deployment in the Middle East. Since the 2014 ISIL incursion in Iraq, she served for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Kuwait. From December 2012 to June 2014, Asha served as the Kuwait Desk Officer for International Military Affairs, U.S. Army Central. During the Obama Administration, she worked with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations at the State Department. Asha also has extensive experiences in Latin America. She was an election observer for the 2009 Presidential Election Observer in El Salvador and worked on USSOUTHCOM’s peacekeeping operations in Nicaragua. Asha is also a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves. She is a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council, and Adjunct Fellow at the American Security Project. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Defense Policy, Geopolitics in MENA


Brionne Dawson, Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Brionne Dawson

Brionne Dawson is a results-driven global public policy practitioner in Washington, DC with nearly two decades of experience in program management, sustainable development and government affairs. As Director of East and Southern Africa at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Brionne is responsible for advising multinational companies operating in East and Southern Africa on navigating regulatory, political and operational risks in emerging and frontier markets. Brionne served in federal government as a political appointee in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and in leadership capacities at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington, DC and South Africa. Brionne holds a B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University, M.A. in international business from the Fletcher School & certification in French proficiency. Connect with Brionne on LinkedIn.

Expertise: U.S.-Africa policy, Commercial Advocacy, International Development


Karen Richardson, Former State Department Official, Obama Administration

Karen Richardson

Karen Richardson is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. State Department and former White House official in the Obama Administration, where she led strategic communications and outreach strategies on key foreign policy priorities of the administration. Richardson began working for former President Obama at his Senate Office in August 2005 as Deputy to the Policy Director, and joined the Obama for America campaign in 2007 as State Policy Director. Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Los Angeles, California, Richardson has a BA from Howard University, a JD from Howard University School of Law, and an MA in International Affairs from the London School of Economics. Learn more about her work here, and follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Diplomacy, Media and Communications in National Security, Democracy and Human Rights, Multilateral Organizations, Global Women’s Issues


Janine Slade, Attorney Advisor

Janine Slade

Janine Slade is an Attorney Advisor serving as primary legal counsel for matters before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Slade has nearly a decade of experience adjudicating hundreds of filings submitted to CFIUS, establishing herself as a trusted counselor to DHS leadership. Prior to her position as CFIUS counsel, Ms. Slade served as the Deputy Director for Foreign Investment Risk Management, where she managed the CFIUS mitigation compliance and Team Telecom portfolios within DHS’s Office of Policy, in addition to advising senior government leaders, the White House, and independent government agencies on policy issues related to foreign investment. Ms. Slade has also served as an Honors Policy Fellow within DHS’ Office of International Affairs and as a National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Fellow with Harden & Pinckney, PLLC. Learn more about her work here, and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Expertise: Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)


Ngozi Burrell, Founder and CEO

Ngozi Burrell

Ngozi Burrell is a technology entrepreneur with a range of experience in international development. She is the founder and CEO of Nero Intelligence Inc., a mobile and web application that leverages virtual reality and artificial intelligence to enhance and simulate interactive scenarios that effectively and accurately encourages language learning. She is also a regional program assistant at the National Democratic Institute, where she develops and implements democracy-based programs in Southern and East Africa. She previously interned with the Hudson Institute analyzing foreign policy articles and served as a Counterterrorism and Cyber Security Research Intern in the Minority Office of Bennie G. Thompson. Ngozi has also worked as an Arabic-to-English Instructor in Jordan and as a Global Research Intern with Africare. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Arabic from Howard University, where she founded the International Affairs Society. Learn more about her work here, and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Social Artificial Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, and International Development


Terrell Jermaine Starr, Senior Reporter, The Root

Terrell Jermaine Starr

Terrell Jermaine Starr is the senior reporter at The Root, where he writes about U.S.-Russia politics and the intersection of race and politics. Previously, he worked at Foxtrot Alpha (another GMG site), a blog that focuses on military, technology and policy. Last year, he was FUSION’s national political correspondent covering the 2016 presidential campaign. He lived Ukraine as a Fulbright fellow, and Georgia as a Peace Corps volunteer. Starr has over four years of experience living in the former Soviet Union and more than nine years working as a reporter. Learn more about his work here, and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: Russia, Ukraine, US-Russia politics


Eliot Williamson, President, The Market Rep, Inc.

Eliot Owens Williamson

Eliot Owens Williamson is the President of The Market Rep, Inc. The Market Rep, Inc. is a business development, public relations, and marketing consulting firm that was founded in 2013. Eliot has worked with more than 45 diverse organizations including non-profits, foundations, SMEs, large businesses, political campaigns, and non- government organizations. Eliot has worked with organizations that have a national and international focus (Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America, and South America). Eliot received his Masters of International Relations from the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Africana studies from Luther College. Eliot serves on the Board of Directors at the University of Kent (UK) in America Inc. and The Arcadia Institute Inc. He is also a member of the United Nations Association Capital Area. Learn more about his work on The Market Rep and LinkedIn.

Expertise: International Business, Development, NGO, Board of Directors, Policy, Public Relations, Marketing, Branding, Partnerships and Advocacy.


Daniel White, MPA Candidate at Columbia University

Daniel White

Daniel White is a graduate student focusing on U.S. national security policy at Columbia University‚ School of International and Public Affairs and an assistant editor at the Journal of International Affairs. A native of New York’s Hudson Valley, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and served for over 5 years on active duty as Field Artillery Officer in the U.S. Army. During Daniel’s military career, he served in Korea, the Middle East and on the personal staff of the 51st and 52nd Commandants of the Field Artillery. After leaving the Army as a Captain, he completed stints at the German Marshall Fund to the United States, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, D.C. and Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Strategy Division in Bethesda, MD. Daniel is a member of New York’s 19th Congressional District Service Academy Nomination Committee and a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Follow his work on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Expertise: U.S. Grand Strategy, U.S. Military Strategy


About Diversity In National Security Network:

The Diversity in National Security Network is a coalition of national security and foreign policy practitioners working to diversify the sector. This group works to amplify the contributions and voices of diverse practitioners in U.S. national security and foreign policy and create opportunities for diverse practitioners to enter and succeed in the sector.