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Thomas Pickering


Ambassador Thomas Pickering is the vice chairman at Hills and Co., an international consulting firm. Ambassador Pickering’s diplomatic career has spanned five decades, encompassing service as ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He represented the United States as ambassador and representative to the United Nations in New York and holds the personal rank of career ambassador, the highest in the US Foreign Service. He was senior vice president of international relations of the Boeing Company from January 2001 until July 2006.

Ambassador Pickering’s work with the US government began in 1956 with the US Navy and was followed by positions with the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He has served as a political adviser in Geneva to the US delegation to the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Conference; consul in Zanzibar; deputy chief of mission in Tanzania; deputy director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs; executive secretary of the State Department and special assistant to Secretaries William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger; assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs; undersecretary of state for political affairs. He was also president of the Eurasia Foundation 1996-97.

Ambassador Pickering received a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the University of Melbourne in Australia. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Bowdoin College and fourteen other universities and is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rand Beers


Rand Beers served as deputy assistant to the president for homeland security on the National Security Council (NSC) Staff from January 2014 to March 2015. Before that, he was the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from September to December 2013. He also served as acting deputy secretary from May 2013 until September 2013. In June 2009, Beers was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the US Senate to serve as the under-secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at the DHS where he has led NPPD’s integrated efforts to reduce risks to physical, cyber and communications infrastructures. Throughout his service at DHS prior to becoming acting secretary, Beers was a trusted advisor to the secretary of homeland security, providing invaluable counsel and guidance on a wide spectrum of homeland security issues, from counterterrorism efforts to cybersecurity.

During his tenure at DHS before becoming the acting secretary, Beers concurrently served as the department’s counterterrorism coordinator, overseeing departmental operational and policy functions to prevent, respond to, and mitigate threats to US national security from acts of terrorism. Before serving in DHS, he was the co- chair of the DHS Transition Team for the incoming Obama administration.

Prior to the Obama administration, Beers was the president of the National Security Network, a network of experts seeking to foster discussion of progressive national security ideas around the country, and an adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Before his most recent NSC tour, Beers served on the National Security Council Staff under four presidents as director for Counter-terrorism and Counter-narcotics (1988-1992), director for Peacekeeping (1993-1995), special assistant to the president and senior director for Intelligence Programs (1995-1998), and special assistant to the president and senior director for combating terrorism (2002-2003). He resigned from the NSC Staff in March 2003 and retired from government service in April 2003. Following his departure, he served as national security advisor for the Kerry campaign (2003-2004).

Beers began his professional career as a Marine Corps officer and rifle company commander in Vietnam (1964-1968). He entered the Foreign Service in 1971 and transferred to the Civil Service in 1983. He served most of his career in the Department of State, including as deputy assistant secretary of state for regional affairs in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, focusing on the Middle East and Persian Gulf (1992-1993). He was assistant secretary of state for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (1998-2002).

Beers earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan.

David Miller


Ambassador David C. Miller, Jr. is a partner and founding investor of Torch Hill Capital, LLC, a private equity firm. In his private sector career, he worked for a decade in international positions for the Westinghouse Electric Corp. In addition, he provided international business advisory services to several major US corporations and has managed investments for high-net-worth individuals in privately held companies.


Ambassador Miller was special assistant to the president for national security affairs on the National Security Council staff at the White House from January 23, 1989, to December 31, 1990. His NSC accounts included Africa as well as counterterrorism, counter-narcotics, and hostage rescue. He served as the United States ambassador to Tanzania from 1981 to 1984 and to Zimbabwe from 1984 to 1986. During his Zimbabwe tour, he was asked to run the South Africa Working Group in addition to his bilateral responsibilities in Harare.

Following a year in Vietnam working on projects primarily for the Advanced Research Projects Agency, he was selected as a White House fellow for 1968 to 1969. He served as a fellow with the attorney general and the following year became his confidential assistant. In 1970–1971, he was the director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellows while also working with the counsel to the president.

He founded and serves as chairman emeritus of the Special Operations Fund, which provides scholarships for the widows and children of deceased members of special operations military units. He has lectured and written on foreign policy management, including chapters in three volumes on low-intensity conflict: Low-Intensity Conflict: Old Threats in a New World; Gray Area Phenomena: Confronting the New World Disorder; and Managing Contemporary Conflict: Pillars of Success. Ambassador Miller also co-authored, with David Gordon and Howard Wolpe, The United States and Africa: A Post-Cold War Perspective, an American Assembly book published by W. W. Norton & Co.


Ambassador Miller graduated with honors from Harvard College, received a JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and an honorary Doctor of Law from Lewis and Clark. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the District of Columbia Bar. 

Chester Crocker

Vice President

Ambassador Chester Crocker is the James R. Schlesinger professor of strategic studies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and serves on the board of its Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Ambassador Crocker’s teaching and research focus on international security and conflict management.

From 1981 to 1989, Ambassador Crocker served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs. He developed the strategy and led the diplomacy that produced the treaties signed by Angola, Cuba, and South Africa in New York in December 1988. These agreements resulted in Namibia’s independence (March 1990) and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Namibia and Angola. President Ronald Reagan granted him the Presidential Citizens Medal, the country’s second-highest civilian award. Previous government experience included service on Henry A. Kissinger’s National Security Council staff (1970– 1972) where he worked on Middle East, Indian Ocean, and African issues.

Ambassador Crocker chaired the board of the United States Institute of Peace (1992–2004) and continued to serve as a director through 2011 of this independent, nonpartisan institution created and funded by Congress to strengthen knowledge and practice in international conflict. He serves on the boards of Universal Corporation, Inc., a leading independent trading company in tobacco and agricultural products and the Good Governance Group Ltd, an independent strategic advisory firm. He is a founding member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an international NGO that offers confidential peer-to-peer advice to leaders facing governance and conflict challenges; and also serves on the board of the International Peace and Security Institute, the Ngena Foundation, and the international advisory board of International Affairs (London).

Ambassador Crocker consults as an advisor on strategy and negotiation to many US and European firms. Ambassador Crocker first joined Georgetown University as director of its Master of Science in Foreign Service program, serving concurrently as associate professor of international relations (1972– 1980). Since returning to the university in the 1990s, he has authored or edited nine books and numerous articles on conflict management and mediation and the role of diplomatic engagement in US foreign policy. A graduate of Ohio State University, he received his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Johns Hopkins University.

Thomas Sheehy


Tom Sheehy is a distinguished fellow in USIP’s Africa Center. Sheehy examines the role of China in Africa and supports USIP’s work to strengthen the Sudd Institute, a research organization in South Sudan that promotes national reconciliation. Previously, Sheehy served on the USIP senior study group that produced the report “China’s Impact on Conflict Dynamics in the Red Sea Arena.” He is a member of the International Advisory Council of Afrobarometer, the leading survey organization focused on gauging African attitudes toward democracy, governance, and society.


Prior to joining USIP, Sheehy held several positions on the Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, including most recently as staff director, responsible for its overall operations, and as staff director of its Africa subcommittee, which focused on conflict resolution, economic development, and natural resource conservation, among other issues. The subcommittee actively pressed for the successful apprehension and trial of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor and promoted peace and stability in war-devastated Liberia and Sierra Leone.

With the committee, Sheehy worked on several pieces of legislation that have defined U.S. policy toward Africa, including the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Electrify Africa Act, the BUILD Act, and the Global Fragility Act. He served as an international election observer for national elections in Kenya and Nigeria. Sheehy served as an Africa policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation before working in Congress. At the think tank, he co-developed the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual survey of national economies worldwide now in its 25th edition. He frequently appeared in national media and testified before several congressional committees. He holds a bachelor’s in political science from Trinity College (Hartford) and a master’s in international relations from the University of Virginia

Glenn Corn


Glenn A Corn is a 34-year veteran of the U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Affairs communities and founding member of the Company "Varyag" Strategic Advisory and Consulting .  He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of World Politics and during his career in the U.S. Government served for over 20 years overseas, including assignments in Russia, Turkey, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.  He served as the Chief of Station/Director of National Intelligence Representative in three Eurasian countries and one Middle Eastern Country and held leadership positions in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counter Terrorism Center, South Asia Division and one of the Agency’s most important Mission Centers.  He is a graduate of a number of CIA sponsored specialized training programs in Intelligence Collection, Counter Intelligence, Security, Analysis, Denial and Deception and Executive Leadership. He is an Expert contributor to the “Cipher Brief”, member of the Board of Advisors of the Non-Profit organization “Intelligence for Good” and the Special Advisor to the President of the Diplomatic Studies Foundation. He has a master’s degree in Russian Language and Literature from American University and a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies from Hofstra University, and he is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Russian Institute and speaks fluent Russian, Turkish and also speaks Arabic.  

Nate Prussian


Nate is a Director at Pallas Advisors where he advises dual-use tech companies.  Prior to this Nate was a two time COO, first in the nonprofit space and then at a manufacturing conglomerate.  He served 26 years in the US Army, retiring as a Colonel after commanding 3rd Special Forces Group.  Although the majority of his time was spent in the nation’s premier counterterrorism unit, Nate also served as a policy analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy from National Defense University.

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