Speakers and Panelists

Keynote Speakers

VADM Timothy Szymanski, USN (Ret.)

VADM Timothy Szymanski, USN (Ret.), served as deputy commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCM), and is the former commander of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. He also served as assistant commanding general to Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he also completed a Master of Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy at the Joint Advanced Warfghting School. VADM Szymanski’s previous operational assignments include squadron commander, operations officer, and deputy commanding officer at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He commanded Special Boat Unit 26, SEAL Team 2, and also served as deputy commanding general, for sustainment, to Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan. VADM Szymanski also served on the Joint Staff, in the J3 directorate for Special Operations, as the Global War on Terror (GWOT) branch chief, and as chief of staff of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell. 

RDML Sean Regan, USCG

RDML Sean Regan, USCG is the Deputy J3 at U.S. Northern Command, (USNORTHCOM), and until recently acting NORTHCOM J7. A graduate of Mass Maritime Academy, USMC Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Naval War College, RDML Regan has served in a wide variety of operational assignments from marine accident investigations, merchant vessel inspections, hazardous material cargo management, and waterways management in major seaports. He was Deputy Sector Commander, Southeast New England, and the first Executive Officer of the Coast Guard’s anti-terrorism team on the east coast, as well as Commanding Officer of Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST), New Orleans – conducting homeland security missions including critical support in the wake of the hurricane KATRINA, and across 12 states and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has also served as Director, Maritime Security Policy and Director, Arctic Region Policy on the National Security Staff (NSS), on issues such as piracy, Arctic oil drilling, mass migration, the Fukashima nuclear release, and other maritime security policies. In addition, he has served as operations officer and the Chief of Staff, for a 3-Star operational command, coordinating operational and policy over five subordinate District Commands, and 49 operational Coast Guard units. 

Moderators and Panelists

Dr. David Auerswald

David Auerswald is Professor of Security Studies at the U.S. National War College, where he has held numerous positions as Acting Dean of Faculty, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, and as Course Director for major portions of National’s curriculum. Dr. Auerswald has published five books, and dozens of articles and book chapters on a variety of national security and foreign policy topics. His most recent work has focused on the geopolitics of the Arctic, as well as civil-military relations. Dr. Auerswald holds advanced degrees from the University of California, San Diego, and has also worked as a congressional staff member on several occasions. 

Dr. Curtis Bell

Curtis Bell is an Associate Professor of Maritime Security and Governance and the Director of the Maritime Security and Governance Staff Course at the U.S. Naval War College. Professor Bell is also the founder of Stable Seas, a transnational, nongovernmental organization that produces innovative maritime security research and collaborates with global partners to improve maritime governance. He has worked on five continents and has presented to audiences including the African Union, International Maritime Organization, and United Nations. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, several leading academic journals, and one United Nations Security Council resolution. Over the course of his career, he has made significant scholarly contributions on topics as diverse as military coups, leader survival in dictatorships, quantitative forecasting and early warning systems, environmental security, maritime security, civil-military relations in democracies, and political stability in oil-rich states.

RADM Matthew T. Bell Jr., USCG (Ret.)

RADM Matthew T. Bell Jr., USCG (Ret.), joined the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies as Dean in April 2022. He is responsible for the executive education program designed with the end goals of protecting the U.S. homeland, maintaining a favorable balance of power in the region, and promoting a shared approach to regional security and respect for the existing rules-based order. His 36 year Coast Guard career includes operational tours in Alaska, including two command afloat assignments in Kodiak and most recently as the Commander, 17th Coast Guard District where he was responsible for operations throughout Alaska, the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. He entered the Coast Guard in 1985 through Recruit Training Center Cape May and received his commission in 1986 upon graduation from OCS. He holds a Master of Science in Chemistry awarded by NAU in 1993 and is a graduate of Harvard University, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.

Dr. Walter Berbrick

Walter Berbrick is running to represent the people of Rhode Island’s First District. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Walter followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and enlisted in the Navy. He then earned a commission as an intelligence officer mostly focused on countering violent extremism. As a civil servant at the U.S. Naval War College, Walter worked for the last 15 years educating and bringing together leaders across our government to identify threats to our country. His collaborative approach to helping our country’s leaders prevent war and adapt to climate change led him to national security roles at the State Department and Pentagon. As a community volunteer leader with the American Red Cross, Walter has helped Rhode Islanders prepare for and recover from emergencies and disasters. In 2012, Walter graduated with his doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University. Walter lives in Middletown with his wife, Laurie, and their two children.

Dr. Lawson W. Brigham

Lawson W. Brigham is a Global Fellow in the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute. He is a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Fellow at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Center for Arctic Study & Policy. Captain Brigham was a career Coast Guard officer and commanded four cutters including the icebreaker Polar Sea on Arctic & Antarctic expe-ditions. During 2004-09 he was chair of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University, is a member of both the National Academies Polar Research Board and the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Brigham is a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College He is an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research. He authored CIWAG’s Maritime Case Study titled The Russian Maritime Arctic: Region of Great Change in the 21st Century. 

BG Christopher M. Burns, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Brig. Gen. Chris Burns, U.S. Army (Ret.), served in numerous assignments within special operations throughout his 30-year career including working at operational detachment, company, battalion, and brigade level, as well as numerous theater special operations commands, Joint Special Operations Task Force, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Joint Staff. He previously deployed in staff and command positions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Brig. Gen. Burns most recently served as the Assistant Commanding General, Special Operations Command Central, from August 2014 to July 2016. He previously served as the Assistant to Vice Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command from January 2014 to August 2014. Brig. Gen. Burns completed 36 years of services culminating as the Commander, Special Operations Command North, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Master’s degree in Strategic Studies U.S. Army War College, Master’s degree in Business Administration Western Connecticut University, Bachelor’s degree in Economics/Political from the University of Connecticut.

CAPT John Driscoll

CAPT John Driscoll currently serves as Chief, Office of Cutter Forces, Coast Guard Headquarters, where he is responsible for establishing cutter acquisition requirements, and setting policies and doctrine for navigation, training, and operation of the Coast Guard’s fleet of 251 cutters. At sea, he commanded four ships, as well as Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, Bahrain. As Commanding Officer in USCGC BERTHOLF (WMSL) he deployed to the Western Pacific in 2019, including frequent interaction with PLA(N) and China Coast Guard vessels. He has enforced U.S. drug, migration, and fisheries laws, as well as executed UN Security Council Resolutions against Bosnia, Iraq, Lybia, and North Korea. 

Scott Edwards

Scott Edwards is a research fellow at the Yokosuka Council on Asia Pacific Studies. His empirical research interests center on processes of region-building in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on regional efforts combatting novel security issues. This has primarily been applied to Southeast Asia’s maritime security governance, but has since broadened out to consider the Indo-Pacific. Scott received his PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2019 (supervised by Nicholas Wheeler), and was formerly a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Bristol, where he worked on maritime crime and responses to it in the Indo-Pacific, and University of Leeds. 

Jada Fraser

Jada Fraser is an MA student in Asian Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs. Jada is currently working as a Fellow at USINDOPACOM focusing on U.S.-China strategic competition. She is a member of the Young Leaders Program and a U.S.-Japan Next Generation Fellow with Pacific Forum. She has worked as a policy research fellow at the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and as a research assistant for the Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her work has been published by Asia Policy, Nikkei Asia, the Lowy Institute, and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg

Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg is Senior Research Scientist in the Russia Studies Program at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization, where he has worked since 2000. Dr. Gorenburg is also an associate at the Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and previously served as Executive Director of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). His research interests include the Russian military, Russian foreign policy, and security issues in the former Soviet Union. Dr. Gorenburg is author of Nationalism for the Masses: Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and has been published in journals such as World Politics and Post-Soviet Affairs. He is the editor of Problems of Post-Communism and was previously editor of Russian Politics and Law. Dr. Gorenburg received a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

James Holmes, Ph.D.

James Holmes is a professor of strategy, the inaugural holder of the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy, and a two-time visiting professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College. He is a recipient of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal honoring his research and writing. He previously served on the faculty of the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs, where he remains a nonresident fellow. He is a nonresident fellow at the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation & Future Warfare, Marine Corps University. A former U.S. Navy surface-warfare officer, he served as a weapons and engineering officer in the battleship Wisconsin, engineering course director at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command, and military professor of strategy at the Naval War College. General Jim Mattis calls him “troublesome.”

Doug Jackson

Doug Jackson is an analyst and project director within the Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs division of CNA. His work has focused on maritime security cooperation, including a strategic evaluation of maritime security cooperation in Southeast Asia for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (OSD-P) in 2019, and several studies supporting the Maritime Security Initiative. Doug earned an M.A. in South Asian area studies from SOAS (University of London), and a B.A. in history from Connecticut College. 

CAPT Dave Markle, USN

CAPT Dave Markle, USN, Deputy Commander Naval Special Warfare, graduated from Cornell University in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an NROTC commission. His first assignment was as a student in Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL training Class 209. He has served tours at SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team TWO, SEAL Team EIGHT, SEAL Team TWO, and SEAL Team TEN with deployments to Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Captain Markle served as the Commanding Officer of SEAL Team TEN and recently completed a tour as Commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group TEN. He is currently serving as the Deputy Commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command. His staff assignments have included Naval Special Warfare Unit FOUR, JSOC, Naval Special Warfare Development Group and OPNAV. He earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Captain Markle and his wife Kristin have two sons – Jonathan, and Andrew. 

Andrew Injoo Park

Andrew Injoo Park is a Senior Analyst for the Navy League’s Center for Maritime Strategy, specializing in Indo-Pacific research. He holds additional positions as a non-resident James A. Kelly Fellow at the Pacific Forum, an Associate Research Analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, and an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves. Andrew has contributed to various projects, including collaborations with the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council. His career includes prior roles at The Asia Group, Lockheed Martin, and the Council on Foreign Relations, along with translation services for the US-ROK Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, Andrew’s expertise is grounded in a strong academic foundation.

Steve Sacks

Steve Sacks is a risk and security consultant and reserve Marine Corps intelligence officer. Prior to leaving active duty in 2022, Steve served in the Pentagon as the lead for the U.S. Marine Corps’ China Research Group, as well as the lead for CI/HUMINT plans, policies and strategies within the office of the Director of Intelligence. Prior to the Pentagon, Steve led the Service’s strategic CI/HUMINT team out of Quanitco protecting critical assets and informing decision makers within the Service’s force development enterprise. Prior to Quanito, Steve spent three years in Camp Lejeune, NC where he served in multiple positions to include as the intelligence operations officer for a crisis response unit covering the U.S. Africa Command region. Steve is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program and completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University in government and near eastern studies.

Dr. David R. Stone

Professor David R. Stone, the William E. Odom Professor of Russian Studies, joined the Strategy and Policy Department of the Naval War College in 2015. He received a B.A. from Wabash College and a Ph.D. in history from Yale. He previously taught at Kansas State University. His book “Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union” (2000) won the Shulman Prize of ASEEES and the Best First Book Prize of the Historical Society. He has also published “A Military History of Russia” (2006) and “The Russian Army in the Great War: The Eastern Front, 1914-1917” (2015). He edited “The Soviet Union at War, 1941-1945” (2010). He is the author of several dozen articles on Russian military history and foreign policy.

RADM Lars Saunes, Royal Norwegian Navy (Ret.)

Lars Saunes, RADM (Ret), was born in Alesund, Norway. He retired from the Navy from the position as Chief of Royal Norwegian Navy August 2017 and is now CNO Distinguished international fellow at the USNWC. He is a Submariner by trade and has held different command position on Kobben and Ula class submarines. He has been the commander of the Norwegian task group, Chief Naval operations at joint HQ, Commander submarine operating authority, Commandant and commander of the Norwegian Coast guard as well as Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy. He has served as the head naval section of the Norwegian defense high command/join and the Norwegian defense research Institute. 

Geoffrey Till

Geoffrey Till is Emeritus Professor of Maritime Studies at King’s College London. Once Dean of Academic Studies at the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College, he is author of nearly 300 books, chapters and articles. Since 2009 he has been a Visiting Professor, Senior Research Fellow and Advisor at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore. He now holds the Dudley W. Knox Chair for Naval History and Strategy at the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. His Understanding Victory: Naval Operations from Trafalgar to the Falklands was published by ABC-Clio in 2014 and he has recently completed a fourth edition of his Seapower: A Guide for the 21st Century (2018) and an edited version of Bo Hu’s Chinese Maritime Power in the 21st Century (2019). His How to Grow a Navy: The Development of Maritime Power was published by Routledge in 2022. 


Dr. Elizabeth Wishnick

Elizabeth Wishnick is an expert on Sino-Russian relations, Chinese foreign policy and Arctic strategy. At CNA, Dr. Wishnick contributes her dual regional expertise on China and Russia, including professional proficiency in both languages, to research and analysis of Xi Jinping’s Risk-Taking, Sino-Russian Military Cooperation, Chinese and Russian Disinformation, and China’s Arctic policy. Wishnick also is a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute. She is the author of China’s Risk China’s Risk: Oil, Water, Food and Regional Security, forthcoming Columbia University Press, and Mending Fences: Moscow’s China Policy from Brezhnev to Yeltsin (University of Washington Press, 2001, 2014), three monographs for the US Army War College, and more than sixty academic and policy articles, as well as a policy blog www.chinasresourcerisks.com. She received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University, an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University, and a B.A. from Barnard College.

Brig Gen Peter Zwack, USA (Ret.)

Peter Zwack, Brig. Gen. USA (Ret.), served as the United States Senior Defense Official and Attache to the Russian Federation. His personal interactions with Russian defense, security, academia, policy, veterans, and private citizens has encompassed the recent strife in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. BG Zwack served 34 years as a Military Intelligence and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer serving in West Germany, South Korea, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Russia. He has also served as the Senior Russia-Eurasia Fellow at the Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, and as an Adjunct Fellow at the Pell Center, Salve Regina University. the Joint Chief’s of Staff “Action Officer of the Year” in 1999 and proudly wears the Ranger Tab and Airborne Wings. Retired in 2015, he served as the Senior Russia-Eurasia Fellow at the Institute of National Strategic Studies, National Defense University and is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Pell Center, Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. As such, he regularly consults, writes and lectures. 


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