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2016-2017 National Security Fellows

Hamid Arsalan is a program officer for the Middle East and North Africa Program at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he oversees Afghanistan and MENA-cross regional programs. Previously, Hamid conducted research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and assisted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Afghanistan. Hamid regularly advises the U.S. government and NATO on improving security assistance provided to non-NATO strategic allies like Afghanistan. He designs and leads training for senior military and civilian professionals before their deployment to combat support missions overseas. He studied at the University of Virginia where he received his BA in Foreign Affairs and MA in Public Policy and Leadership. Hamid is fluent in Dari and Pashto, and proficient in Urdu and classic-Quranic Arabic.

Tara Beeny is a research assistant for Middle Eastern Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where she focuses on Jordan and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Tara is also a contributing analyst for the Foreign Military Studies Office within the Department of Defense. Previously, she worked at the United States Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna and the Institute for the Study of War. She holds a Masters of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

David Berke is a U.S. Marine Corps Officer and combat veteran currently serving at the Office of the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. As an F/A-18 pilot, he deployed twice from the USS John C Stennis in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent three years as an Instructor Pilot at TOPGUN where he was dual qualified in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and served as the senior staff pilot responsible for conduct of the TOPGUN course. He then served as an ANGLICO Forward Air Controller supporting the Army’s 1st Armored Division during urban combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006. He was the only Marine selected to fly the F-22 Raptor and became the first operational pilot qualified in the F-35B. He earned his Master’s degree in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and is currently studying Business Administration at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Chris Bowen is a senior analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he provides strategic planning advice and policy analysis to civilian and military leadership. Previously, he deployed to Afghanistan where he conducted all-source intelligence collection and analysis.  Chris is also a former Army Infantry officer and decorated combat veteran. He served in multiple positions including Rifle Platoon Leader, Battalion Reconnaissance Platoon Leader, and Company Commander. Chris holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy.

Elizabeth Carter is a senior director at The Chertoff Group, where she focuses on the intersection of security, crisis management and business continuity and resilience, and she counsels clients on improving their security and risk management postures. Before joining The Chertoff Group, she served as the plan manager for Weapons of Mass Destruction at New York City Emergency Management, where she developed preparedness and response plans for New York City and the surrounding region. She received her MPH in Environmental Health Sciences from the Columbia University and a BA in History from Yale University. She was awarded a fellowship with the Center for Health Security’s Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative, and was named one of the Irish Echo’s “40 Under 40” in the Irish-American community in 2014.

Merav Ceren is a Middle East Fellow at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she focuses on Israel, Iran, and counterterrorism policies. Previously, she worked at Israel’s Ministry of Defense, where she participated in negotiations in the West Bank between Israel’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories and Palestinian Authority officials. She has also researched and written on security and civil society issues for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and studied in Istanbul. Merav received her M.A. in International Relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She is fluent in Hebrew, and has varying proficiency in Arabic and Turkish.

Dani (Donny) Charles is a program manager at Ntrepid Corporation, where he advises U.S. government clients on the procurement and implementation of critical agency-wide cyber solutions, and provides cyber training to groups across the Intelligence, Defense and Federal Law Enforcement communities He also leads Ntrepid’s initiative to help educate policymakers on emerging issues like the implications of the OPM Data Breach and the need to extend the U.S. government security perimeter across the enterprise. Prior to this, Dani supported U.S. government cyber programs and led a team specializing in cyber investigations, research and analysis. Dani also teaches a graduate-level Cyber 101 workshop at Georgetown University. Dani holds a M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and B.A. from Emory University with a major in Middle Eastern History and minors in Arabic and Hebrew.

Diego Chojkier is the regional director for Latin America and the Middle East in the Defense Intelligence Agency's Office of Partner Engagement, where he manages capacity-building, information sharing, and cooperative operations. Previously, Diego managed an innovative intelligence collection platform that helped improve military, diplomatic, and development efforts in Afghanistan. He also served as a senior advisor to the Joint Staff's Strategic Plans and Policy directorate, providing recommendations on military sales, operations, and transition planning. Diego has experience leading teams in crisis resolution, public-private partnerships, and all-source intelligence analysis, working in countries across Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, including multiple combat zones. He holds a M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and B.A. in International Studies and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.

Joshua Fiveson is an officer in the United States Navy, an attorney advisor at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and an alumnus of Harvard Law School. During law school, he served as a fellow within the Kennedy School of Government’s Center for Public Leadership and as an editor with both the Harvard International Law Journal and the Harvard National Security Law Journal. He has worked extensively with the United States Department of Justice, serving in both the Office of International Affairs and the Counter-Terrorism Section, and his writing has been featured in national outlets. He routinely serves as a visiting speaker at George Mason University and is a fellow at the Institute of World Politics.

Michael Holtje is the special advisor to the Under Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. He previously served in positions with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Intelligence Community.  He has also been a Robert Bosch Fellow with the German Bundestag and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Michael received both his J.D. and Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary Law and Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska. He also completed an LL.M. in National Security Law from the George Washington University Law School.   

Michael Hsieh is a program manager in the Information Innovation Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). His focus is on quantitative and cryptographic techniques for establishing provable security in big data and software. Previously, he was a research scientist at Science Applications International Corporation, and a scientific consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. He earned his bachelor's degrees in economics and mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in chemistry at Princeton University.

Gina Jones is a senior advisor to the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center within the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. She previously served as the special advisor to the Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Gina began her career as an Air Force Intelligence Officer and deployed in this capacity during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Following her assignment as a senior analyst supporting military operations in Latin America, Gina joined U.S. Africa Command as an inaugural member. She advised on the command's security cooperation engagements with African partner-nations and served in the intelligence crisis cell that supported coalition operations in Libya. Gina has advanced degrees from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies, the University of Kansas, and Boston University.

Christopher Karwacki is an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton serving as a Security Cooperation Planner for the Chief of Naval Operations, Office for International Engagement. His prior positions included watch officer at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, critical infrastructure analyst at Marine Corps Installations Command, and emergency operations trainer at Navy Installations Command. He is also a reserve officer in the United States Marine Corps, currently serving with 2nd Civil Affairs Group. Christopher’s active duty and reserve deployments consist of tours in Afghanistan and with the United Nations Mission in Liberia. Christopher received a B.A. in International studies from American University in 2003 and a M.A. in War Studies from King’s College London in 2005.

Krystle Veda Kaul is a senior federal consultant at Deloitte Consulting where she primarily works with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Combatant Commands to identify and assess intelligence IT gaps. Additionally, she leads the privacy initiative for the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She is also a briefing instructor at Linktank. Previously, Krystle worked for Leidos as a Political-Military analyst at USCENTCOM monitoring the Middle East. She also has experience at RAND Corporation, Chemonics International, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She is a Global Governance Futures 2025 Multilateral Dialogues Bosch Fellow and a Public-Private Analytic Exchange Fellow with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Krystle holds a B.A. in International Studies from American University’s School of International Service, a M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a M.A. in Political Science from Brown University where she has a Ph.D. in progress. She speaks Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, Arabic, Italian and Punjabi.

Kinga Krisko is a senior associate in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Strategic Threat Management group, where she focuses on cyber threat preparedness and financial risk management for private sector and U.S. Government clients. Previously, she worked at the World Bank, where she analyzed the relationships between conflict and development in South Asia. As a Department of State Political Officer, she provided analysis of South Asian political, governance, and security issues for U.S. policymakers. Kinga holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a B.A. in International Studies and History from Boston College.

Michael McBride is an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where he works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. Michael served in the Army as an Infantry Officer with three deployments to Afghanistan. He deployed with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) partnering with Afghan National Security Forces to conduct counterinsurgency operations and twice with the 75th Ranger Regiment where he led special operations raids. Michael’s military decorations include the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Qualification Tab, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. Michael’s commentary has been published in numerous outlets and often presents on security issues to audiences within the U.S. government. Michael holds a M.A. in Security Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in History from Brown University.

Joel Meredith is a Middle East foreign affairs specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he develops and oversees the implementation of U.S. defense policies related to Syria and the U.S. counter-ISIL campaign.  Previously, Joel was an Army Infantry platoon leader and company commander, having served in Afghanistan and Germany. He received his M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and B.A. in Political Science and Middle East Studies from Dickinson College. He is proficient in Arabic.

Joshua Meservey is a policy analyst for Africa and the Middle East at the Heritage Foundation. He previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia, worked at a refugee resettlement operation based in Kenya, at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. His written work has been published by the Joint Special Operations University, Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, and The Journal of the Middle East and Africa, among others. Various print and digital media outlets have featured his commentary, and he has presented at the National Defense University and the State Department. He holds a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a B.A. in history from the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University.

Robert B. Parmiter serves as senior counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, where he advises the Chairman and Members of the Committee on major policy initiatives dealing with national security, crime and drug enforcement. During his tenure with the Judiciary Committee, Robert has served as lead counsel for the Judiciary Committee’s oversight of federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, and U.S. Marshals Service. Previously, Robert served as Attorney Advisor for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice, as a Special Assistant United States Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and as Special Assistant for Rule of Law at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. He is a graduate of the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.

James Prussing is an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps currently stationed at Marine Barracks Washington D.C., where he has served as a Platoon Commander, Company Commander, and White House Military Social Aide. He is a combat veteran who deployed twice to the CENTCOM Area of Operations with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, first as a Rifle Platoon Commander to Helmand Province Afghanistan, and subsequently to Kuwait as a Company Executive Officer. Prior to joining the Marine Corps, he spent two years as an investment banking analyst. James graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Finance, International Business, and French and is currently in his last semester of the M.A. Program in Security Studies at Georgetown University.

Adena Schutzman is a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy where she works on legislative affairs for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Adena worked as a corporate attorney, covering a variety of transnational deals, including PE, VC and securities matters. Adena earned her J.D. from Georgetown University and B.A. from U.C.L.A.


Margaret Smith is a U.S. Army Cyber Officer assigned to the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion (Cyberspace Operations) and the Cyber National Mission Force. She also serves as the Pat Tillman Foundation's Regional Captain for the Washington D.C.-metro region. She originally enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 2004 and pursued a commission through the Army's Green to Gold Program attending Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy to earn a master’s degree in defense and intelligence policy with a focus on cyber. She is a trained senior watch officer, cyberspace operations planer, offensive cyberspace operations mission commander, and has been selected by the Army to pursue a Ph.D. in cyber policy next fall.

Sam Spector has been majority counsel with the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives for over five years, where he works on issues related to energy and public health. Prior to Capitol Hill, Sam was an associate at a New York law firm as well as a Middle East analyst on contract to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. A Fulbright fellow, Sam graduated from Princeton University with an AB in Politics, and holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.  He contributed a chapter on the international legal dimensions of the Western Sahara dispute to the book, Perspectives on Western Sahara: Myths, Nationalisms, and Geopolitics (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).

Brooke Stedman serves as deputy director at Women in International Security (WIIS) where she develops and implements programs focused on global challenges related to women, peace, and security. In this capacity, she advises international organizations, governments, and militaries how to operationalize a gendered approach in security policies, programs, and operations. Prior to joining WIIS, she worked at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as a legal assistant. She also worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace where she worked on the development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and helped facilitate the U.S. Civil Society Working Group. She holds a LLM in International Human Rights and Criminal Law from Utrecht University and a BA in Criminology and Law from Marquette University.

Reagan Thompson is the policy and communications advisor for Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), working on issues for the Intelligence and Benghazi Committees and on Iran, Guantanamo, and Asia. Previously, Reagan was the senior foreign policy advisor for Governor Walker’s presidential campaign. She has also focused on technology issues in China and the Middle East while on Facebook’s global policy team. Reagan graduated from Stanford University and received Master’s degrees from Peking University in Beijing and the London School of Economics as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She speaks Mandarin and was named a “Rising Star in U.S.-China Relations” by China Hands magazine.

Michael Wain is a senior national security analyst with CSRA, where he supports the State Department’s Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism in coordinating diplomatic outreach to counter nuclear smuggling. From 2010 to 2012, he managed the U.S.-Japan-South Korea Legislative Exchange Program, a federally-funded initiative bringing together Members of the U.S. Congress, Japanese Diet and South Korean National Assembly for semiannual policy dialogues. Michael received a master’s degree in Asian Studies from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. He speaks Japanese and basic Mandarin.

Steve Warren is a decorated Army National Guard Officer and a combat veteran, currently working on policy programs for the National Guard Bureau. Previously, he served as the Army’s Legislative Liaison for energy security and as a Defense Fellow in the U.S. Senate. Steve led over 100 combat patrols in Western Baghdad while his Cavalry Platoon helped establish conditions for Iraq’s first election in 2005. Four years later, Steve returned to the Middle East to lead several rotations of senior leaders into Iraq and Afghanistan to visit deployed Guardsmen. In 2011, Steve commanded a wounded warrior company at Walter Reed to help transition soldiers back to duty or civilian life. He has earned several military decorations, including a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Combat Action Badge. Steve received his Master’s degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University and Bachelor’s degree in Communication from SUNY Geneseo.

Kimberly Shaw is deputy director of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Defense, where she is responsible for monitoring national security affairs in Congress and developing effective legislative strategies. She previously worked for the House Armed Services Committee as a Professional Staff Member, focusing on national security policy issues related to Europe, Russia, NATO, Asia-Pacific, non-proliferation programs, and building partnership capacity authorities. Kimberly has a Master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Florida International University. She received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Florida International University. She is fluent in Spanish. Kimberly entered government service as a Presidential Management Fellow.