Mid-Career CadreClass of 2018

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Priscilla Adams
Major Priscilla M. Adams is the Chief, Nuclear Weapons Exercise Planning for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. In this role, Major Adams leads an interagency planning team for the Secretary of Defense directed Nuclear Weapon Exercises supporting the Combatant Commands. Major Adams is a 2006 graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corp program, Detachment 157. Since graduating from ROTC, Major Adams has served at the squadron, group and agency levels.

Mark Biery
Mr. Mark Biery is a Nuclear Scientist for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency on Fort Belvoir, Va. He assumed his current role in April, 2016. His background includes four years of active duty service in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Captain before transitioning to the Marine Corps Reserve. Mr. Biery began his work in the nuclear science and engineering field in September 2011 when he began his graduate studies at The Pennsylvania State University with his research focused on computational methods for multi-physics nuclear reactor transient simulations. In April of 2016, he assumed his current federal employee role as a Nuclear Scientist with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Nuclear Enterprise Directorate where he and his team train, advise, equip, and assist designated forces with radiological and nuclear search operations.

Logan Brandt
Captain Logan Brandt graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in physics and went on to earn his graduate degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology where he studied nuclear engineering. He then served as a debris alert officer supporting nuclear treaty monitoring. In 2016, he was the forward deployed technical expert coordinating the verification response to the two North Korean declared nuclear tests. Captain Brandt now serves as an instructor in the physics department at the United States Air Force Academy developing the Nuclear Weapons and Strategy minor.

Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown works for Northrop Grumman Corporation and currently serves as a systems architect lead on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program. He has experience across ground and missile systems during his 11 years in the aerospace industry. Brown earned his bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah and has been a licensed Professional Engineer since 2013. He also has a certificate in Model Based Systems Engineering through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Spencer has previously served as chair for the Utah section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Alisa Carrigan
Alisa Carrigan is an analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where she works on nuclear energy and nonproliferation issues as part of the Natural Resources and Environment Team. Prior to joining GAO, Carrigan worked as a fellow with the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and spent five years at the International Atomic Energy Agency as an open source analyst in the Department of Safeguards and a project manager in the Department of Nuclear Energy. Carrigan earned her Ph.D. from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. She holds a master’s degree in International Security from the University of St. Andrews, and earned her bachelor’s degree at Claremont McKenna College.

Grant Christopher
Dr. Grant Christopher is the programme director for Nonproliferation at Ridgeway Information. He has a background in data science and was a member of team that discovered the Higgs boson at CERN in 2012. His research interests include the impact of emerging technologies on nonproliferation, proliferation in East Asia, and the application of data science techniques to nonproliferation.

Mary Clark
Major Mary Clark is the Air Force Global Strike Command Chief of Helicopter Requirements. In this capacity, Major Clark is the Air Force lead for the $25 billion dollar UH-1N Replacement Program for four major commands and one Direct Reporting Unit. Major Clark is also responsible for the modernization and sustainment of the Air Force’s 63 UH-1N Helicopters. Prior to her attending Air Command and Staff College, Major Clark served as the Assistant Director of Operations of the 58th Operational Support Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. She entered the Air Force in June 2004 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. She has flown the UH-1N and the Mi-17 operationally engaging in continuity of government missions, special operations support, and combat rescue during Operation Enduring Freedom. She also led a NATO Air Advisor contingent in Afghanistan where she trained Afghan Air Force students to fly operational helicopter missions. Additionally, she served as the lead White House Social Aide under Presidents Bush and Obama. She has over 2,240 flight hours including 200 combat hours.

Kelsey Davenport
Kelsey Davenport is the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association, where she provides research and analysis on the nuclear and missile programs in Iran, North Korea, India, and Pakistan and on nuclear security issues. Kelsey also reports on developments in these areas for the organization’s journal Arms Control Today and runs the Arms Control Association’s project assessing the effectiveness of multilateral voluntary initiatives that contribute to nonproliferation efforts. She holds a masters degree in peace studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Karl Dewey
Karl Dewey is a CBRN Analyst at Jane’s, IHS Markit and is a Proliferation Editor on Jane’s Intelligence Review. He has a BSC in Politics and Economics from the University of Bristol, and MAs in Terrorism, Security and Society; and Non-Proliferation and International Security, from King’s College London.”

Michael Dunlevy
Michael Dunlevy is a nuclear-chemical engineer currently on detail from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) through the White House Leadership Development Program. While on detail to OSTP, Mr. Dunlevy focuses on policy regarding critical minerals, physical sciences, scientific collections, and nuclear energy. Mr. Dunlevy earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, his Master of Science degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a licensed professional engineer.

Darrla Giersch
Darrla Giersch is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. She started her career as a mechanical design engineer and has worked in a variety of positions within Sandia’s nuclear weapon program. Her nuclear weapon portfolio includes design and production experience as the lead system mechanical engineer for a weapon alteration. Currently, she supports the Nuclear Deterrence Program Management Office by providing an integration role, in which she collaborates with both external and internal organizations to implement Sandia’s nuclear weapon program and execute work that ensures the continued performance, safety, and security of the United States nuclear weapon stockpile.

Kevin Gorecke
Kevin Gorecke works an Interagency Liaison Officer in the On-Site Inspection and Building Capacity Directorate of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, where he performs policy analysis and implementation for the Plutonium Production Reactor Agreement (PPRA) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Safeguards. Prior to DTRA, Kevin served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer, serving on both fast attack and ballistic missile submarines. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Penn State University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts.

Rachel Grodsky
Rachel Grodsky is a Materials Engineer at the Kansas City National Security Campus managed by Honeywell and the lead for the Nuclear Policy Engagement & Training program at the facility. She was a member of the 2011 Weapon Intern class at Sandia National Laboratories and spent two years in the Office of Nuclear Matters at the Pentagon. She holds a degree in Ceramic Engineering from Missouri Science & Technology.

Stephen Herzog
Stephen Herzog is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Yale University researching nuclear arms control and proliferation. He is a fellow of the Yale Project on Japan’s Politics and Diplomacy, as well as a nonresident WSD-Handa Fellow with the Pacific Forum CSIS. Previously, Stephen directed scientific engagements supporting the CTBT for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Stephen holds a MA and MPhil from Yale, a MA from Georgetown University, and a BA from Knox College.

Anthony Juarez
Anthony Juarez is a systems analyst at Sandia National Laboratories in California. His work focuses on strategic deterrence studies, adversary threat analysis, and nuclear enterprise analysis. Prior to Sandia, Anthony spent a year at the National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington, D.C., where he worked in the Office of the Administrator and in the Office of Defense Programs. During his time as a graduate student at the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, he spent a year working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research conducting research on NATO nuclear policy and European security.

Sara Kutchesfahani
Dr. Sara Z. Kutchesfahani is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and the senior program coordinator for the Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG), where she focuses on efforts to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. She holds a PhD in Political Science from University College, London, and is the author of Politics and the Bomb: The Role of Experts in the Creation of Creation of Cooperative Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreements (Routledge: 2014). Her second book, Global Nuclear Order, is due to be published by Routledge later this year.

Jarret Lafleur
Dr. Jarret Lafleur serves as Technical Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, with a principal focus on Nuclear Weapons Council matters. Just prior to this assignment, Dr. Lafleur served as an engineer and systems analyst for the Homeland Security and Defense Systems Center at the California site of Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. Lafleur was selected to Sandia’s 2014B Weapon Intern Program and participated in the 2013 Nuclear Scholars Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, focusing on the conceptual design and analysis of manned and unmanned spacecraft and space programs, with an emphasis on techniques for integrating flexibility into space system design decisions.

Julia Macdonald
Julia M. Macdonald is an Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, where her research focuses on state threat assessments, use of force decisions, and U.S. military strategy and effectiveness. Previously, Dr. Macdonald was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House, a pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton Nuclear Security fellow in the Security Studies Program at MIT. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the George Washington University, an M.A. (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

J. Tiberius Morán-López
J. Tiberius Morán-López is a member of the NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs and leads several initiatives for the Office of Engineering, Stockpile Assessments, and Responsiveness; Tiberius has also served as Technical Advisor with the Office of Nuclear Matters at the Pentagon and currently leads related interagency collaborations with the Departments Defense. Prior to joining the NNSA, he worked with both the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and still continues collaborative research with the latter on topics concerning high-energy-density physics, shock-driven hydrodynamic instabilities, and computational fluid dynamics. Tiberius earned dual Bachelor’s Degrees from Texas A&M University in Nuclear Engineering and in Physics, his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan, and various certificates for his study of the Korean language.

Ashley Negrin
Ashley Negrin is a Senior Policy Analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), where she came to work with an academic background in international security and biological defense. Over the past five and a half years the major efforts of her work have been warfighter capability development for countering weapons of mass destruction with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threat and mission risk relative to Air Force operations, and Air Force treaty compliance and implementation. Ashley received her Masters in Biodefense from George Mason University and her B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Kristopher Nielsen
Maj Kristopher D. Nielsen is the Executive Officer for the Director of Strategic Plans, Programs and Requirements, Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, LA . As the Executive Officer, Maj Nielsen drove the development of the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Core Function Support Plan, Strategic Master Plan, and Program Objective Memorandum, managing an $8.1B portfolio and ensuring GBSD, B-21, LRSO, and UH-1N Replacements programs remained on track. Maj Nielsen was commissioned in 2004 upon graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics, Cellular Biology and Development. Following his nuclear operations crew time in 2009, he was selected as a weapons and tactics instructor, which is reserved for only the top 5% of 252 operations group CGOs. Maj Nielsen followed this with an assignment to the nuclear operations branch at United States Pacific Command. In 2013, Maj Nielsen was selected as a Flight Commander for Air Force Basic Military Training. He was elevated to Director of Operations based on his superior performance and leadership abilities.

Luke O’Brien
Luke O’Brien is a military intelligence officer with a focus on weapons of mass destruction. He has previously served as the head of 2nd Infantry Division’s WMD Analysis Cell and as a WMD Intelligence Officer at the Army’s 20th CBRNE Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He is currently assigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Most recently, Luke was a Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Graduate Fellow at National Defense University. He is also a writer, with articles appearing at The New York Times, Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, and RealClearDefense.

David Palkki
David Palkki is an assistant professor in the strategy department at the Air War College, where he teaches an elective on The Politics of Nuclear Weapons and serves as course director of the college’s Foundations of Strategy course. Dr. Palkki is co-editor of The Saddam Tapes: The Inner Workings of a Tyrant’s Regime (Cambridge University Press) and has published a variety of journal articles, book chapters, and other analyses on nuclear weapons and deterrence. He previously taught international affairs at Texas A&M University, Brigham Young University, and UCLA. He has also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, Institute for Defense Analyses, National Defense University, and elsewhere inside and outside of government. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA.

Grace Park
Ms. Grace Park is a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence (SSD) in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC). Her portfolio includes strategic stability, deterrence, and assurance in the Indo-Pacific region. She interfaces closely with allies on issues of extended deterrence and regional security issues. She served in the political-military section at U.S. Embassy Seoul in 2016. Ms. Park received her M.A. in Security Studies and B.S. in Science, Technology and International Affairs from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Samantha Pitts-Kiefer
Samantha Pitts-Kiefer joined NTI in June 2012 and serves as Senior Director of the Global Nuclear Policy Program. At NTI, she has led two major projects: the NTI Nuclear Security Index and the Global Dialogue on Nuclear Security Priorities. Her recent focus has also included cyber security of nuclear weapons and related systems and nuclear facilities, U.S.-Russia relations, U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and nonproliferation and disarmament. In May 2012, she completed an MPA degree at the Harvard Kennedy School where she focused on foreign policy and national security and received the Donald K. Price Award for academic excellence and community service. Prior to attending the Kennedy School, Samantha practiced law at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and clerked for the Honorable Maryanne Trump Barry on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a BA from St. Olaf College and a JD from Villanova University School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.

James Platte
Dr. James E. Platte is an assistant professor with the USAF Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies (CSDS), and he is an instructor for the deterrence elective course offered by CSDS. Prior to joining CSDS in 2017, Dr. Platte was an intelligence research specialist with the U.S. Department of Energy, and he also has worked on nuclear counterproliferation with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Nuclear Security Administration. He received his PhD in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and has held research fellowships with the East-West Center, Pacific Forum CSIS, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Harvard Kennedy School. Dr. Platte broadly is interested in the military and commercial applications of nuclear energy, and his research particularly focuses on nuclear issues in East Asia, including North Korea’s nuclear program, U.S. extended deterrence, and the proliferation of nuclear technology across the region.

Brian Radzinsky
Brian Radzinsky is deputy director of the Nuclear Security Working Group and a PhD Candidate-in-Residence at George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies. He helps coordinate the NSWG’s research and outreach activities, including ongoing work on U.S. nuclear policy and NSWG’s Congressional fellowship program. His PhD dissertation explains the divergent trajectories of U.S., Russian and Chinese nuclear command and control, focusing on the effects of technological innovation, evolving military requirements and entrenched national security bureaucracies on the degree of centralized oversight over nuclear operations. He is also completing an empirical assessment of extended nuclear deterrence, examining the implications of different deterrence postures on conflict outcomes. Brian has also held positions at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Usha Sahay
Usha Sahay is the managing editor and a founding member of War on the Rocks, a leading publication on national security and foreign affairs. As managing editor, she regularly edits commentary by scholars, former government officials, and military personnel, commissions and evaluates submissions, and sets the site’s daily publication schedule. Prior to her time at War on the Rocks, Usha served as a home page editor at the Wall Street Journal and a news editor at HuffPost. She started her career as a Herbert Scoville, Jr. Peace Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, eventually becoming the center’s digital director. Usha is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University.

Daniel Salisbury
Dr. Daniel Salisbury is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS) in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London (KCL). His research spans the areas of nonproliferation, nuclear security and nuclear history. Daniel received his Ph.D. in War Studies from KCL in 2017. His thesis was entitled “From Silence to ‘Showmanship’: The British Government’s Presentation of Nuclear Policy, 1974–1983”. He also holds an M.A. in Science and Security and a B.A. in War Studies, also from KCL. He was a 2017 PONI Nuclear Scholar.

Merit Schumaker
Merit Schumaker is currently a Federal Program Manager (FPM) in Washington, D.C. in NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs (DP). He is in charge with overseeing the Advanced Manufacturing Development portfolio focused on alleviating schedule risks and costs associated with sun-setting and obsolete production processes. He has represented DP as a subject matter expert at Capitol Hill, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and within the US/UK Mutual Defense Agreement. Before becoming an NNSA FPM, he participated in the yearlong NNSA’s National Graduate Fellowship Program, managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He also worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the summers of 2011 and 2012 in the Packaging and Transportation Division. He has a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Lauren Sterk
Lauren Sterk works at the Northrop Grumman Corporation and currently serves as a systems engineering lead on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program. She has experience across air, space, and missile systems during her 13 years in the aerospace/defense industry. Lauren holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from the University of Southern California. She also has certificates in Systems Engineering and Project Management from the California Institute of Technology. Lauren is a lifetime member of the Society of Women Engineers.

Kenneth Sterling
Major Kenneth R. Sterling is a Strategic Analyst at USSTRATCOM and recent graduate of the Air Force’s newest IDE school, the School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies. Major Sterling graduated from Texas Christian University and was commisioned through ROTC in 2004. He is a senior navigator with more than 2300 hours principally in the B-52H. He is an instructor combat systems officers and graduate of Air Force Weapons School. Most recently he served as the 5th Bomb Wing’s lead strategic planner responsible for oversight and supervision of all nuclear exercises and inspections supporting Eighth Air Force, Air Force Global Strike Command and United States Strategic Command. Major Sterling has flown missions in support of USPACOM’s Continuous Bomber Presence operation, USSTRATCOM’s strategic deterrence mission and USSOUTHCOM’s counter drug mission set.

Alison Tamasi
Dr. Alison Tamasi is the Chief Scientist for reference laboratory operations at the National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL) at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. She is a radioanalytical chemist, whose primary expertise is in technical nuclear forensics, where she has published many studies and received awards for her work on the pre-detonation forensics of uranium compounds. Alison received her PhD in radiochemistry in 2015 from the University of Missouri, where she was a Nuclear Forensics Graduate Fellow and a Seaborg Institute Fellow.

Jonathan Ward
Dr. Jonathan Ward is the Founder of Atlas Organization, a consultancy focused on the rise of India and China, the new geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific, and US-China strategic competition. He completed his D.Phil. at the University of Oxford, specializing in China-India relations. An American citizen, he studied Philosophy, Russian, and Chinese at Columbia University, and continued his language studies at Beijing University in China and St. Petersburg State University in Russia. He speaks Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic, and has traveled extensively in Russia, China, India, and throughout the Indo-Pacific Region. Dr. Ward is a member of the Energy Institute and the Economic Research Council in London, a Research Associate at the Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford, and a graduate of the Oxford-Chicago Valuation Programme at Oxford’s Said Business School. He is also a member of the 2018 Next Generation National Security Leaders Program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington D.C.

Rachel Webb
Rachel Webb is a Policy Analyst for SAIC, supporting Headquarters Air Force’s Directorate for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration (AF/A10). Her work focuses on nuclear policy, strategy and communications. She previously worked as a Policy Coordinator for AECOM, supporting the Department of the Navy’s Declassification Program. She holds Master’s in Terrorism and Security Studies from American University, with a focus on the law of armed conflict. Rachel also earned Bachelors’ in both History and Political Science from Virginia Tech. She speaks Arabic and Italian.

Bryn Woollacott
Bryn Woollacott is the Special Assistant for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense. In this capacity, she was a member of the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review executive secretariat team and served as the strategic communications and rollout lead for the 2018 NPR. Prior to this position she was a Special Assistant to the DoD White House Liaison as well as a Senior Research Analyst for the Republican National Committee. Bryn has held internships with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. House of Representatives among others. Bryn holds a M.P.P. in International Security and Economic Policy and a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland.