All FSI News News August 18, 2021

CISAC names 2021-22 fellows and researchers

The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) is pleased to welcome the fellows and researchers who will be joining us for the 2021-22 academic year. These scholars will spend the academic year generating new knowledge across a range of topics that can help all of us build a safer world.
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Meet our incoming Pre-Doctoral Fellows:

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Frances Butcher

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I am a Ph.D. candidate at University of Oxford’s Ethox Centre and the Welcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, and am supported by a Welcome Trust Fellowship for Health Professionals in Humanities and Social Science. My research, which utilizes empirical ethics methodologies and explores ethical dimensions of global health security, looks at the definition and limits of what should be included in the global health security regime, and how this might affect good practice.

I am also a Specialty Registrar (doctor) in Public Health undertaking dual clinical-research training. During my training in the UK, I have worked in various roles including in clinical medicine and in a local government public health team for the University of Oxford, Public Health England, and NHS England. I have a medical degree from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, an MA in Bioethics and Society from King’s College London, and an MSc in Global Health Science from the University of Oxford. I was a 2019 Fellow on the Johns Hopkins Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Program.


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Frederick R. Chen

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I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. My research interests focus on the intersection of economics and security as well as the interactions between domestic politics and international relations. Topics on which I have published or am currently working on include international conflict, foreign policy, trade, foreign investment, and public opinion. My work has appeared in the Journal of Politics and Conflict Management & Peace Science. I received the David A. Lake Award for the best paper at the 2019 International Political Economy Society (IPES) Conference and the Genevieve Gorst Herfurth Award for the best research by a graduate student in the social sciences at the University of Wisconsin in 2019–20.

Previously, I was a teaching assistant for several courses at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, both at the undergraduate level and graduate level. I was a visiting graduate student in the Department of Political Science at Yale University and at the University of Alberta.


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Lauren Sukin

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I am a Ph.D. candidate in Stanford University’s Department of Political Science, and a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow. My research examines issues of international security, focusing primarily on the role of nuclear weapons in international politics. My research leverages multi-method approaches, including survey experiments, case studies, causal analysis, and machine learning. My dissertation studies the effects of credibility in the context of U.S. extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, arguing that highly credible nuclear security guarantees can backfire. My work has appeared in publications such as Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace and Conflict, Nonproliferation Review, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy.

Previously, I have assisted with several courses at Stanford University, including Introduction to International Relations, War and Peace in American Foreign Policy, and International Security in a Changing World.


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Alicia Wanless

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I am a Ph.D. candidate in War Studies at King’s College, London. Past discussions of information ecology consist of two types: those attempting to bring an understanding of information into physical ecology; and those applying the term ecology to information management as a metaphor. There is a gap in drawing conceptual parallels from physical ecology to apply to the study of the information environment. My research hypothesizes that similar forms of observation and categorization used in physical ecology, the study of environments, can be adapted to understand the information environment, “the virtual and physical space, in which information is received, processed and conveyed.”

My work has included researching how the information environment has changed in a Digital Age, directing strategic communications campaigns in Syria, Vietnam and the former Soviet space, and advising tech companies, governments and militaries on operations and policy related to influence operations. My current role, Director of the Partnership for Countering Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is one I created, developed and fundraised for. This multi-stakeholder initiative bridges industry, academia, civil society and government, among others, to tackle threats related to influence operations. I was attracted to academic research to apply this practical experience to contribute to theoretical development of the information environment, in particular, filling a gap in explaining what the information environment is and how it works.


Meet our incoming Post-Doctoral Fellows:

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Gil Baram

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I received my Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University’s School of Political Science, Government and International Relations, and was the recipient of the Fulbright postdoctoral fellowship. My postdoctoral research at CISAC focuses on national decision-making during cyber conflict. I explore the shift in the longstanding convention of silence on cyber conflict as a covert practice. I study the reasons state actors are increasingly addressing cyber intrusions publicly despite their covert nature, and use new data and combined methods to investigate when and under what circumstances they are likely to decide various attribution strategies.

Previously, I have held fellow positions with the Centre of Excellence for National Security at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, and served as Head of Research at the Israeli think tank Yuval Ne'eman workshop for Science, Technology and Security. I hold an M.A. (Magna Cum Laude) in Security Studies from Tel Aviv University.


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Kathryn Brink

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I received my Ph.D. in Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology from Rice University in 2021. During my PhD, I studied bacterial two-component systems (TCSs), signal transduction pathways that bacteria use to sense and respond to changes in their environment. TCSs play important roles in host-pathogen interactions and can be engineered for medical and environmental biosensing applications. I developed engineering and screening approaches to discover and characterize the stimuli that activate these pathways.

My research focuses on risk management and assessment in biological science and engineering, with the goals of improving the governance of biological research and reducing the risk of its misuse. I investigate factors associated with attention to risk among scientists and engineers, and I study and prototype risk assessment processes for biological research projects.


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Stephen Buono

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I received my Ph.D. in History from Indiana University. My research and teaching interests are diverse, but cluster together at the convergence of science and technology, modern cultural and political history, and the story of what scholars now call "America in the world." My first book project, The Province of All Mankind, narrates the emergence of outer space as a discrete realm of U.S. foreign policy and international law during the 1950s and 1960s, particularly efforts to preserve the cosmos as a "sanctuary" from the Cold War. In addition to the American Historical Association (AHA) and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), my work has benefited from the support of the Carnegie Corporation, the Eisenhower Foundation, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. My recent articles have appeared in Diplomatic History, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Perspectives on History, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Before arriving at CISAC, I was an AHA-NASA Aerospace History Fellow (2019-2020) and an Assistant Editor for Diplomatic History, the journal of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (2016-2019.


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Debak Das

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I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the Department of Government at Cornell University in 2021. My research explores how states develop the means of nuclear delivery. Using historical and archival sources, I examine the different trajectories states have taken in developing their nuclear forces and how the global nuclear non-proliferation regime has enabled this process. I have conducted this research in France, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. My research lies at the intersection of International Relations, nuclear strategy, diplomacy, statecraft, and Cold War international history.

Previously, I was a MacArthur Nuclear Security Predoctoral Fellow at CISAC in 2019-20. Before Cornell, I completed my M.Phil in Diplomacy and Disarmament, and M.A. in Politics and International Relations at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. I have formerly held research positions at Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation, New Delhi. My prior work includes organizing extensive Track II Dialogues between India and Pakistan specifically on nuclear and other related security issues.


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Melissa Carlson

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I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in international relations, comparative politics, and methodology. My primary research examines the factors that influence the variation and intensity of partnerships between governments and foreign militant groups with a focus on the recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria. My book-style dissertation project finds that, when foreign militant groups and state armed forces share similar organizational characteristics, they are more likely to deploy forces to conduct joint combat operations and provide each other with advanced weapons systems. In other research, I examine the factors that influence informal and secret security cooperation between states and how misinformation and rumors influence refugees' relationships with host governments, service providers, and smugglers. My research has been published in the American Political Science Review, the Review of International Organizations, and International Studies Quarterly, among other outlets. Outside of academia, I have worked as a consultant for the International Organization for Migration's Iraq and Jordan Missions.


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Jeffrey Ding

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I received my Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Oxford, where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar. My research interests include the effects of technological revolutions on the rise and fall of great powers, U.S.-China competition over strategic technologies, and assessments of national scientific and technological capabilities. My work has been published in Foreign Affairs, Security Studies, and other outlets. I have also worked as a researcher for Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology and Oxford's Centre for the Governance of AI.


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Vael Gates

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I received my Ph.D. in Neuroscience (Computational Cognitive Science) from UC Berkeley in 2021. During my Ph.D., I worked on formalizing and testing computational cognitive models of social collaboration. My Ph.D. advisor was Tom Griffiths at Princeton University, and I also completed research affiliated with the Center for Human-Compatible AI (CHAI) at UC Berkeley.

I'm excited to work on an ethnography of AI researchers. I'm aiming to gain a sense of AI researchers’ understanding of the AI risk landscape, including technical directions and the milieu of the field. At the moment of writing this (June 2021), I'm still determining the scope for this project, and welcome feedback and potential interviewees.

Hobbies/Interesting Facts: I'm happy to talk to students interested in existential risks (contact info on vaelgates.com)! Additionally, I'm currently thinking about how social science methods can be effectively applied to existential risk questions, and like having conversations about mental health / how to orient towards life given one's goals.


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Josh A. Goldstein

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I am a PhD (DPhil) Candidate and Clarendon Scholar in International Relations at the University of Oxford. For the 2021-2022 academic year, I will be a postdoctoral fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory. In 2020-2021, I held a predoctoral fellowship with the Stanford Internet Observatory and was part of the inaugural class of non-resident Hans J. Morgenthau Fellows at the Notre Dame International Security Center. My 3-paper dissertation takes a multi-method approach to explore the challenges that democracies face from influence operations. My broader research interests lie in international security, political psychology, and foreign policy decision-making. Before beginning the DPhil, I completed an MPhil in International Relations at Oxford with Distinction and a BA in Government from Harvard College, summa cum laude. I have assisted with research and writing related to international security at institutions including the Belfer Center, Brookings Institution, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Department of Defense.


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Daniel Greene

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I have a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. I work with Dr. Megan Palmer on strategies for risk governance in biotechnology. I use computational social science methods to identify factors that influence the decisions of biology labs to engage in potentially risky research. I have previously worked with Prof. Carol Dweck to develop and test social-psychological interventions to improve student motivation at scale. My dissertation identified and influenced novel psychological constructs for motivating unemployed and underemployed adults to pursue job-skill training. My work has been supported by the Open Philanthropy Project, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Gates Foundation, the Stanford Digital Learning Forum, and an Amir Lopatin Fellowship.

Previously, I worked for five years as a data scientist and product developer at the Project for Education Research That Scales, a nonprofit that develops resources and infrastructure for disseminating best practices from education research. I also hold a BA in Cognitive Science (Honors) from Rutgers University.


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Sigrid Lupieri

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I received my Ph.D. from the Center of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. I also hold an MPhil in Modern European History from the University of Cambridge and an M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University. My primary research investigates how security concerns, foreign policy agendas, and diplomacy shape the priorities of refugee responses. In my current book project, based on the case study of the Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East, I find that security and diplomatic interests have wide-ranging effects on humanitarian health spending, including a disproportionate focus on infectious diseases and the inequitable distribution of resources. In other research, I explore the impact of refugee movements on the healthcare systems of host countries, and the intended and unintended effects of international aid on refugee welfare. Outside of academia, I have worked for several years as a journalist in Armenia, Georgia, and Germany, and as a UN officer in New York and New Delhi.


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Ryan A. Musto

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I am currently completing a book manuscript on the international history of regional denuclearization. With my work, I seek to better understand the geopolitical and geostrategic dynamics that lead to proposals for regional denuclearization and determine their outcome. I also look to further situate nuclear weapons within our understanding of the global north-south divide. Ultimately, I aim to produce works of “applied history” that can inform contemporary efforts towards the completion of denuclearized zones and nuclear arms control more broadly.

Previously, I have served as a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and as a Nuclear Security Fellow with the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in São Paulo, Brazil. My work has been published in Diplomatic History, Cold War History, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Polar Record, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Arms Control Today, and Americas Quarterly, amongst other outlets. I am also a frequent contributor to the Wilson Center’s Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP). I hold a Ph.D. in history from The George Washington University, master’s degrees in international and world history from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and a B.A. (hons.) in history from New York University (NYU).


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Karen Nershi

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I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. My dissertation examines cross-national anti-money laundering enforcement using data on cryptocurrency transactions. My research interests include understanding the impact of new technologies on international relations, politics, and society and using new technology to study traditional questions in political science. At CISAC, my research will focus on the societal impact of recent developments in cryptocurrency.


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Ronald E Robertson

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I received my Ph.D. in Network Science from Northeastern University in 2021. I was advised by Christo Wilson, a computer scientist, and David Lazer, a political scientist. For my research, I use computational tools, behavioral experiments, and qualitative user studies to measure user activity, algorithmic personalization, and choice architecture in online platforms. By rooting my questions in findings and frameworks from the social, behavioral, and network sciences, my goal is to foster a deeper and more widespread understanding of how humans and algorithms interact in digital spaces.

Prior to Northeastern, I obtained a BA in Psychology from the University of California San Diego and worked with research psychologist Robert Epstein at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.


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J. Luis Rodriguez

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I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the Johns Hopkins University in 2021. My research centers on how developing countries build and maintain limits on the use of force in international law. I focus on the origins of the nuclear order primarily from a Latin American perspective. My work reconstructs the attempts of the Brazilian and Mexican governments to delegitimize the threat and use of nuclear force while securing access to peaceful nuclear technologies. By analyzing the Latin American participation in the crafting of nuclear weapon nonproliferation treaties, I aim to understand how developing countries react when technological advancements challenge existing limits on the use of force.

Previously, I served as a Nuclear Security Fellow with the Fundação Getulio Vargas in São Paulo, Brazil. Before joining the Ph.D. program at Hopkins, I was a junior advisor to the Mexican Vice-Minister for Latin American Affairs, working on international security cooperation in the region.


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Melissa Salm

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I earned my Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology with an emphasis in science and technology studies from UC Davis. In support of my thesis, I conducted multi-sited fieldwork across Peru, examining how the 'One Health' model was incorporated into epidemiological field investigations of zoonoses and integrated into global health governance tools for systematizing global health security capacities across the Americas. My research was funded by the NIH-FIC, for which I conducted a qualitative study identifying the definitions, practices, and visions of 'global health' among PI's in Latin America and the Caribbean compared to those of PI's in North America.

In my research, I examine conceptualizations and operationalizations of risk in the biosciences and biosecurity management. My guiding questions are: in what concrete ways do controversial techniques for predicting viral risks, such as GOF/PPP, translate into effective pandemic preparedness and response measures? What tools must be invented and standardized to facilitate coordinated institutional responses to public health threats and to move pro-actively from a state of preparedness to response?

Hobbies/Interesting Facts: I press flowers and make needle felting art.


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Sanne Verschuren

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I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University. My doctoral research at Brown University has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and the Belgian American Education Foundation, among others. My research interests include the development of military technology, shifts in military strategy and tactics, and the role of ideas and norms therein. My book project examines why and how states decide to procure different weapon capabilities within similar military domains. More specifically, I seek to understand the politics behind the development and operationalization of air power (1920s–1930s), aircraft carriers (1950s–1960s), and missile defenses (1990s–today) in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and India. In addition, I work on questions around the global arms trade, trends in armament and disarmament, and the politics of deterrence. At CISAC, I will conduct research on the intersection between the study of conventional capabilities and nuclear weapons.

Before joining CISAC, I was a pre-doctoral research fellow with the International Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. I hold a LL.B. and LL.M. from Ghent University and received a M.Sc. in the Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice from the School of Oriental and African Studies, as well as M.A. in Political Science from Brown University.


Meet our incoming Visiting Scholars:

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Martin Durdovic

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I am senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Charles University in Prague. Within the Czech Academy of Sciences, I manage the work package Social Aspects of Nuclear Energy in the Systems for Nuclear Power Industry research program and I am a member of the Energy Commission. I serve on the Advisory Board of the Czech Radioactive Waste Repository Authority (SURAO). I am also member of the Steering Committee in the international SHARE platform (Social Sciences and Humanities in Ionizing Radiation Research).

I specialize in social theory and research into the relationship between society and energy, with an emphasis on nuclear energy. In 2020, my monograph Narrative and Dialogue: The Theory of Social Intersubjectivity received the biennial award of the Czech Sociological Association for the best sociological book. As a sociologist, I am actively involved in the siting process of a deep geological repository in the Czech Republic.


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Shuhei Kurizaki

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I am an associate professor in the School of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Before taking up this position, I was an assistant professor in the department of political science at Texas A&M University for several years and a Pre-Doctoral Fellow in National Security at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University. My research examines conflict resolution, national security, and the political implications of the global network of corporate ownership and control. My current research can be categorized in four clusters: (1) I develop and test formal models on when and how diplomacy works in international conflict; (2) working with my data-science collaborator at the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, Japan, I utilize big-data to examine political impacts and consequences of the shifting structure of the globalized networks of corporate ownership and control; (3) I am working on a book manuscript that assesses the strategic consequences of Japan’s changing defense policy and its implications for national security; and (4) I organize a research project that develops a set of new nuclear strategies.My work has appeared in the American Political Science Review and International Organization among others.


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Benny Miller

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I have received a Ph. D. from the University of California at Berkeley and have held Research Fellowships at Harvard University, MIT, Princeton University (Center for International Studies), McGill University and at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and also at Sciences Po. in Paris. I was a tenured member of the department of International Relations, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; I have also taught at Duke University, the University of Colorado, Boulder, Princeton University and Dartmouth College. I have also served for many years as the President of the Israeli Association for International Studies (IAIS). I was the Head of the International MA Program in Peace and Conflict when the Program started at the University of Haifa (it was the first international MA program at the University of Haifa). I’m now a Full Professor of International Relations at the School of Political Sciences, and the Head of National Security Center, The University of Haifa. I’m the Winner of the University of Haifa Provost’s Prize for a Distinguished Senior Researcher for 2020.

My current book project—Grand Strategy From Truman to Trump -- focuses on explaining changes in US grand strategy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2020). My other book project focuses on explaining war and peace in the 21st century (under contract with Oxford University Press). Among my other publications: When Opponents Cooperate: Great Power Conflict and Collaboration in World Politics (Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 2nd ed., 2002); States, Nations and Great Powers: The Sources of Regional War and Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Regional Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution (Routledge, 2015; co-edited with Carmela Lutmar); and International and Regional Security: The Sources of War and Peace (Routledge, 2017). I have also published numerous articles on War and Peace, the Great Powers, the International System, Regional Conflicts, international conflict and collaboration, nationalism and conflict, populism and the international order, Grand Strategy, military interventions, civil war and failed states, regime change.

Hobbies/Interesting Facts: movies, TV series, literature, novels, my grandchildren, meeting and chatting with friends, food


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Karen Miller

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I am a nuclear engineer from Los Alamos National Laboratory with experience in both the technology and policy aspects of international security. From 2019 to 2021, I was detailed from Los Alamos to the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, where I worked on the formulation of U.S. foreign policy and implementation of diplomatic initiatives vis-à-vis the global nuclear nonproliferation regime. Prior to my assignment at the State Department, I spent over a decade developing monitoring and verification technologies for IAEA safeguards and other cooperative arrangements. Through this work, I gained extensive field experience from deploying measurement systems to nuclear facilities across Europe, Asia, and North America and have published widely on nondestructive assay techniques for verifying nuclear materials. Since 2020, I have served as the U.S. representative on the IAEA Director General’s Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation.

My primary interests include nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and emerging technologies. While at CISAC, my research will examine the prospects for international cooperation on reducing the risks of military competition involving emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and in new warfighting domains such as outer space and cyberspace.


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Gorakh Pawar

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I am a staff scientist in the Department of Material Science and Engineering at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's complex of national laboratories, and is the United States leading center for nuclear energy research and development. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science, and environment. My research interest is exclusively focused on the design, discovery, and optimization the functionality of critical materials and ensure their efficient utilization in emerging critical and clean energy technologies. The continuing depletion of valuable terrestrial resources—such as critical elements, minerals, and metals that are absolutely necessary for the development and sustainability of next-generation energy technologies—have enormously shifted the twenty-first century’s technological landscape. The rare earth elements (REEs) have been a focal point of the recent media discussions, including the multiple United States presidential executive orders and legislation. The REEs are critical in advancing the crucial clean energy technologies (e.g., energy generation and rechargeable energy storage systems), security systems (e.g., fighter jets, satellites), and numerous other commercially important sectors (e.g., semiconductors, catalysis). Presently, the REE global supply chain is highly distorted and poses a severe challenge to many developed and developing countries' technological, economic, and security prospects. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the current state-of-the-art and critical advances needed to balance the highly distorted global REE supply chain. My forward-looking work is aimed to critically investigate the key pillars (e.g., mining, separation, processing, alloying, and applications) of the REE supply chain with the objectives to understand the recent development in these vital component pillars, challenges that are limiting the advances of individual pillars, and a path forward. Such timely advances are crucial to understand a state-of-the-art of REEs and potentially help the relevant stakeholders (including governments, academia, and policymakers) to take appropriate actions and reduce the dependence on the highly distorted REE global supply chain.


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Lt Col Brandon R. Shroyer

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I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2004 with a B.S. in Legal Studies and a minor in Chinese. I earned a Masters in Business Administration from American Military University in 2011. In 2017, I was a Distinguished Graduate of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island where I was awarded a Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategy Studies and I was a graduate of the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School with a focus in the INDOPACOM region.

For my research, I plan to continue my focus on National Security matters in the INDOPACOM area of responsibility, specifically the continued rise and influence of China economically, diplomatically and militarily. Further, I plan to continue to focus on my leadership, communication and management skills.

Hobbies/Interesting Facts: I enjoy surfing, snowboarding and hanging out with my wife and 3 kids!


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COL Carol M. Stauffer

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I am a Distinguished Military Graduate from Oklahoma State University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (International Relations). My military education includes the Military Intelligence Officer Basic and Captain Career Courses, the Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence Course, and the Command and General Staff College. I hold a Masters of Military Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, KS. Upon graduating from both the U.S. Command and General Staff College and the U.S. School of Advanced Military Studies, I served as the Intelligence and Theater Security Cooperation Planner for the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, HI. I was then selected as the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) S2, and later the SBCT XO, for the 2nd SBCT, 25th Infantry Division. Following my tenure in Hawaii, I served as the Executive Officer for the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 in Washington, D.C. I then commanded the 109th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion from 2017-2019. I currently serve within the Immediate Office of the Secretary of Defense.