Meet the Contributors
Derek Chollet

Derek Chollet served in the Barack Obama administration for six years in senior positions at the White House, State Department, and Pentagon, most recently as the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Currently the executive vice president at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, his books include The Long Game: How Obama Defied Washington and Redefined America’s Role in the World, America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11 (co-written with James Goldgeier), and The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World (co-edited with Samantha Power). A native Nebraskan, he lives in Washington, D.C., with his family. Chollet is a co-editor of Shadow Government.

Twitter: @derekchollet


Colin Kahl

Colin Kahl is an associate professor in the security studies program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. From 2014 to 2017, he was deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East. In 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by then-Secretary Robert Gates. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children. Kahl is a co-editor of Shadow Government.

Twitter: @ColinKahl


Julie Smith

Julianne ("Julie") Smith is director of the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security. Prior to joining CNAS, she served as the deputy national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden from 2012 to 2013. Before going to the White House, she served as the principal director for European/NATO policy at the Pentagon. Smith lives in Washington with her husband and two children. Smith is a co-editor of Shadow Government.

Twitter: @Julie_C_Smith


Daniel Baer

Daniel Baer was U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe from 2013 to 2017. He previously served as a deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor from 2009 to 2013. Baer was an assistant professor at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, a faculty fellow at Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics, and a project leader at the Boston Consulting Group. He lives in Denver with his husband, Brian.

Twitter: @danbbaer


Daniel Benjamin

Daniel Benjamin is director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He served from 2009 to 2012 as ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department. During more than five years on the National Security Council staff in the 1990s, Benjamin served as a foreign policy speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and director for transnational threats. He co-wrote The Age of Sacred Terror (2002), which was awarded the Arthur Ross Prize by the Council on Foreign Relations, and The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting it Right (2005).


Hal Brands

Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger distinguished professor of global affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He is the author of several books, including Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order and What Good Is Grand Strategy? Power and Purpose in American Statecraft From Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. He served as the special assistant to the secretary of defense for strategic planning from 2015 to 2016.

Twitter: @HalBrands1


Reuben Brigety

Reuben Brigety is dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2013 to 2015, he served as the U.S. ambassador to the African Union and U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa. Previously he served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for African Affairs and also for population, refugees, and migration. He is the author of Ethics, Technology, and the American Way of War.

Twitter: @RealDeanB


Sheba Crocker

Bathsheba ("Sheba") Crocker was the assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs from 2014 to 2017. Earlier in the Barack Obama administration, she was the principal deputy director in the State Department’s office of policy planning and chief of staff to the deputy secretary. Prior to this, Crocker was a senior policy and advocacy officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, senior advisor in the U.N.’s peacebuilding support office, and deputy chief of staff to the U.N. special envoy for tsunami recovery. She also worked on post-conflict issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and was a Council on Foreign Relations international affairs fellow. Previously, Crocker was an attorney and deputy U.S. special representative for Southeast Europe affairs at the State Department; she also served as executive assistant to the deputy national security advisor.

Twitter: @shebacrocker


Janine Davidson

Janine Davidson is a defense policy analyst and professor of national security. A former Air Force officer and pilot, she served in the Barack Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans and, most recently, as the 32nd undersecretary of the U.S. Navy.

Twitter: @janinedavidson


Evelyn Farkas

Evelyn Farkas is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, president of Farkas Global Strategies, and national security analyst for NBC/MSNBC. She served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia from 2012 to 2015 and has served almost 20 years divided equally between the executive and legislative branches of government. From 2010 to 2012, she was a senior advisor to the supreme allied commander, Europe, and special advisor for the secretary of defense for the NATO summit. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow at the American Security Project and executive director of the Graham-Talent Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction. From 2001 to 2008, she served as a staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. From 1997 to 2001, she was a professor at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. She worked in Bosnia with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and as an election observer in Afghanistan. She is the author of Fractured States and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, Ethiopia, and Bosnia in the 1990s.

Twitter: @EvelynNFarkas


Dan Feldman

Dan Feldman spent more than six years at the State Department in the Barack Obama administration helping to lead civilian efforts on Afghanistan and Pakistan, including serving as special representative for those two countries, with the rank of ambassador, from 2014 to 2015. His prior government positions included serving on the National Security Council staff for multilateral affairs in the Bill Clinton administration and on the staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He is currently a partner at the law firm Akin Gump, a senior advisor at the Albright Stonebridge Group, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Twitter: @FeldmanDF


Jon Finer

Jon Finer was the chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry and director of policy planning at the State Department. He also spent four years in the Barack Obama White House, serving as a senior advisor in the offices of the national security advisor and the middle east advisor, as a foreign-policy speechwriter in the office of Vice President Joe Biden, and as a White House fellow in the office of the chief of staff. Before serving in government, Finer was a reporter at the Washington Post, where he covered conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Georgia, and Gaza.

Twitter: @jonfiner


Michèle Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy is the co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security. She served as the undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2012. Prior to confirmation, Flournoy helped lead President Barack Obama's transition team at the Department of Defense.

Twitter: @micheleflournoy


Ilan Goldenberg

Ilan Goldenberg is a senior fellow and director of the Middle East Security program at the Center for a New American Security. Previously, he served as chief of staff to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, supporting Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative to conduct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. From 2012 to 2013, he served as a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. From 2009 to 2012, he was first a special advisor on the Middle East and then Iran team chief in the office of the undersecretary of defense for policy.

Twitter: @ilangoldenberg


Juan S. Gonzalez

Juan S. Gonzalez is an associate vice president with the Cohen Group, where he leads the firm's practice in Latin America and the Caribbean. He was previously the deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Before that, he worked at the White House for four years, as Western Hemisphere advisor to Vice President Joe Biden from 2013 to 2015 and as National Security Council director for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2011 to 2013. Juan also served as chief of staff to Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo A. Valenzuela, is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Guatemala, a proud Hoya, and a native of Cartagena, Colombia.

Twitter: @Cartajuanero


Nina Hachigian

Nina Hachigian served as the U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from 2014 to 2017. During her tenure, the United States established a strategic partnership with ASEAN, held the first leaders' summit in the United States, and launched a presidential initiative for economic cooperation. Earlier, Hachigian was a senior fellow and a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress. Prior to that, she was the director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy. Hachigian served on the staff of the National Security Council in the Bill Clinton White House. She is the editor of Debating China: The U.S. — China Relationship in Ten Conversations. She also wrote The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise.

Twitter: @NinaHachigian


Brian Katulis

Brian Katulis is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where his work focuses on U.S. national security. His past experience includes work at the National Security Council and the departments of State and Defense under the Bill Clinton administration. He also worked for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Freedom House, and former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey. He is the co-author of The Prosperity Agenda, a book on U.S. national security.

Twitter: @Katulis


Charles Kupchan

Charles Kupchan is a professor of international affairs at Georgetown University and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2014 to 2017, he served as a special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs in the Barack Obama White House. He also served on the National Security Council under the Bill Clinton administration. His most recent books include No One’s World: The West, the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn and How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace.


Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

Daniel Kurtz-Phelan served as a foreign-policy advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and before that as a member of the State Department policy planning staff. Before joining the Barack Obama administration, he was a senior editor at Foreign Affairs. His book about George Marshall will be published by W.W. Norton in 2018.

Twitter: @dankurtzphelan


Kelly Magsamen

Kelly Magsamen served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs from 2014 to 2017. Prior to joining the Defense Department, Magsamen served on the National Security Council in various positions, most immediately as special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning from 2012 to 2014. During her years at NSC, she also served as the director for Iran, from 2008 to 2011; and then as director and senior advisor for Middle East reform in the wake of the Arab Spring, from 2011 to 2012.

Twitter: @kellymagsamen


Tom Malinowski

Tom Malinowski was assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor from 2014 to 2017.  He previously served as Washington director for Human Rights Watch, as a senior director on the National Security Council staff, as President Bill Clinton’s chief foreign policy speechwriter, and as a speechwriter and member of the policy planning Staff at the State Department under Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher.

Twitter: @Malinowski


Michael Morell

Michael Morrell is a senior counselor to Beacon Global Strategies. He served as the deputy director of the CIA from 2010 to 2013 and was twice acting director during a more than 30-year career at the agency.


Jeffrey Prescott

Jeffrey Prescott served as a special assistant to the president and senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Persian Gulf states on the National Security Council. He joined the Barack Obama administration in 2010 as a White House fellow and was Vice President Joe Biden's deputy national security advisor and senior Asia advisor. Previously, he was a senior research scholar and lecturer at Yale Law School and deputy director of Yale’s China Center. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Susan Jakes, and two daughters.


Ely Ratner

Ely Ratner is the Maurice R. Greenberg senior fellow in China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was deputy national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden from 2015 to 2017 and previously served in the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the State Department and as a professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His current work focuses on U.S.-China relations, regional security in East Asia, and U.S. national security policy in Asia.

Twitter: @elyratner


Elizabeth Rosenberg

Elizabeth Rosenberg is a senior fellow and director of the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. From 2009 to 2013, she served as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, helping senior officials develop, implement, and enforce financial and energy sanctions. Rosenberg previously worked as an energy policy correspondent at Argus Media, analyzing North American and Middle Eastern energy policy, regulation, and derivatives trading. In that capacity she spoke and published extensively on OPEC, strategic reserves, energy sanctions and national security policy, oil and natural gas investment and production, and renewable fuels.

Twitter: @Energy_Liz


Laura Rosenberger

Laura Rosenberger served as a foreign-policy advisor for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Previously, she served for more than a decade in a range of foreign-policy and national security positions at the State Department and National Security Council. Rosenberger's commitment to serving the American people began in 2004 when she joined the State Department as a presidential management fellow. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is originally from Pittsburgh and is an avid Steelers fan.

Twitter: @rosenbergerlm


Vikram Singh

Vikram Singh is the vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining CAP in 2014, Singh served at the State Department as the deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and at the Pentagon as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia. He focuses mainly on Asia policy, defense policy, human rights and humanitarian issues, and national security strategy. A native Californian, he lives with his family and some bees, chickens, cows, and horses in Virginia.

Twitter: @VJS_Policy


Amanda Sloat

Amanda Sloat is a fellow in the Ash Center at Harvard Kennedy School. She served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for southern Europe and eastern Mediterranean affairs in the Barack Obama administration. She also served as a senior advisor to the White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and Gulf region. Previously, she worked as senior professional staff on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with responsibility for Europe policy. She is the author of Scotland in Europe: A Study of Multi-Level Governance.

Twitter: @A_Sloat


Jake Sullivan

Jake Sullivan is a Martin R. Flug visiting lecturer at Yale Law School. He served in the Barack Obama administration as national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and director of policy planning at the State Department, as well as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


Jim Townsend

Jim Townsend just completed eight years as President Barack Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO. This capped more than two decades of working with European allies and partners to build a post-Cold War transatlantic community. Along the way, he worked on issues that ranged from NATO enlargement to managing coalitions for military campaigns in Libya, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, rebuilding U.S. force presence in Europe, and NATO reform. His greatest accomplishment is being married to Joan Townsend and having three wonderful children: Carolyn, Jimmy, and Beth.


Tamara Cofman Wittes

Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Wittes served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 2009 to 2012. She also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as the deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions, organizing the U.S. government's response to the Arab awakening. Wittes is a co-host of Rational Security, a weekly podcast on foreign policy and national security issues. She wrote Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy and edited How Israelis and Palestinians Negotiate: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Oslo Peace Process. She serves on the board of the National Democratic Institute.

Twitter: @tcwittes


Jon Wolfsthal

Jon Wolfsthal is a globally recognized expert on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation policy. A nonresident fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he was President Barack Obama’s special assistant and senior director at the National Security Council for arms control and nonproliferation. He is the co-author of Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction and is the former deputy director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He has served on site in North Korea, helped negotiate an arms control agreement with Russia, and served as Vice President Joe Biden’s nuclear security advisor from 2009 to 2012.

Twitter: @JBWolfsthal


Christine Wormuth

Christine Wormuth is currently a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She served as the undersecretary of defense for policy from 2014 to 2016. In that role, she was the principal advisor to the secretary of defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. Wormuth also served as a deputy undersecretary of defense and as a senior director at the NSC. She now works on a range of regional, defense, and homeland security issues at CSIS.

Twitter: @cwormuth
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