Research Fellow at Chatham House
Ms Alice Billon-Galland was selected by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as one of the 14 NATO Young Leaders to advise the NATO 2030 process. Her research is focused on issues linked to European security – including transatlantic relations, the European Union, NATO, and with particular focus on French and British foreign and defence policies, as well as European involvement in Indo-Pacific security. Prior to joining Chatham House in 2019, she led the European defence programme at the European Leadership Network (ELN).
Special Representative for Nordic and Baltic Security Policy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway
Øystein Bø has served as the first secretary in the Norwegian Embassy in Tallinn, legal advisor to the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo, and first secretary to the Norwegian Permanent Delegation to NATO. He was the National Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe from 2000 to 2002 and the Chef de Cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2006. From 2010 to 2013, he served as Head of International Department and Permanent Secretary of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Stortinget. From 2013 to 2017, he was acting as State Secretary/Deputy Defence Minister of Norway. From 2018 to 2022, he was the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Norway on the North Atlantic Council.
Lieutenant General, Chief Joint Operations of the Swedish Armed Forces
Michael Claesson started his military career in 1984 and commanded the Norrbotten Armoured Battalion and served as Deputy Brigade Commander of the Norrbotten Mechanized Brigade. He commanded the Armed Forces Land Warfare Centre in Skövde, and worked as Military Advisor within the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs. He also served as Deputy Military Representative in the Swedish Mission to NATO in Brussels. From 2012 to 2013, he commanded the Swedish Contingent to ISAF Regional Command North and served as an operations planner in the early phases of the KFOR Mission in Kosovo. He also held the position as Head of the Policy and Strategic Plans Department of the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters in Stockholm.
Major General, Land Component Commander of the Polish Armed Forces
Stanisław Czosnek has served as Commander of Land Operations Centre – Land Component Command since November 2021. He started his military service in 1982 as a Cadet of the Tadeusz Kościuszko Mechanized Infantry Officer School in Wrocław. During his career, he has occupied a number of responsible positions in Polish land force structures such as Commander of the 1st Armoured Brigade, Commander of 11th Armoured Cavalry Division, and Deputy Commander of General Command of the Polish Armed Forces. He received education in the French Staff School, Polish National Defence University, and accomplished postgraduate studies in defence policy at the National Defence University in Beijing (China). He was also deployed on a mission to Afghanistan.
Director of Research at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)
Dr Robert Dalsjö is a senior specialist in European politico-military affairs. His recent unclassified texts include a reassessment of Russian military capabilities in light of the war in Ukraine, thoughts on the war’s geopolitical consequences, and a critical assessment of Russian A2/AD-capabilities. He previously served as Senior Advisor to Sweden’s Ministry of Defence and as Defence Advisor for the Swedish delegation to NATO. He holds a Ph.D. from King’s College London and a M.S.F.S. from Georgetown University. He is also an active reserve officer.
Head of Foreign Desk at Focus Magazine
Gudrun Dometeit has led the Foreign Desk of the German news journal Focus since January 2022. Previously, she was head of the Political and Economical Department of the magazine. She has covered foreign and security policy for many years, including the Balkan wars and eastern Europe. After 2000 she focused especially on China. She has also worked as a foreign correspondent at the Moscow office of the German news agency GPA/DPA after studying Political Science, Law and Slavic languages. She is the co-author of books about war and crisis reporting, and female diplomacy.
Secretary of Defense Representative in Europe and the Defense Advisor for the US Mission to NATO
Ms Rachel Ellehuus assumed duties as Defense Advisor at the US Mission to NATO in February 2022. Prior to joining the US Mission, Ms Ellehuus served as Senior Fellow and Deputy Director with the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior assignments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Department of Defense includes Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Principal Director for European and NATO Policy, and Director for South and Central Europe. Ms Ellehuus was also assigned to the Strategy Unit in the UK Ministry of Defense.
Director General for International Relations and Strategy of the Ministry for the Armed Forces of France
Ms Alice Guitton served as the Secretary at the French Embassy in the United Kingdom and then, from 2007 to 2009, became advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 2009, Alice served as the Director for Democratic Governance, Directorate-General for Globalization, Development and Partnerships at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In 2010, she joined the Cabinet of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Vice-President of the EU Commission) before becoming advisor to the Secretary General of EEAS in Brussels. She also served as Deputy Permanent Representative of France to NATO and Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence of Germany
Thomas Hitschler has been Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defence since December 2021. He has been a Member of the German Bundestag since 2013. His primary responsibilities at the Ministry of Defence include equipment and international armaments policy, military planning, the defence budget and Bundeswehr real-estate management. After completing his master’s degree in political science, public law and economic and social history at the University of Mannheim, Thomas Hitschler initially worked as a senior assistant to the Mayor of Landau, followed by a position as personal assistant to the director of the approving authority Struktur- und Genehmigungsdirektion Süd and head of the Single Point of Contact for Rhineland-Palatinate.
Prime Minister of Estonia
Kaja Kallas has been the Prime Minister of Estonia since January 2021. She has been the leader of the Reform Party since 2018, and a Member of Parliament from 2019 to 2021, and previously from 2011 to 2014. Between the two terms at the Estonian Parliament, from 2014 to 2018, Kallas served as a Member of the European Parliament (representing the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), where her primary focus was on the Digital Single Market strategy, and energy and consumer policies. Before entering politics, she was an attorney-at-law, specialising in European and Estonian competition law, and a partner in two law firms. She has been awarded the 2022 Grotius prize, the Hayek International Prize and the European Prize for Political Culture for her work in defending democratic values and supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression.
Angus Lapsley CMG
NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning
Within NATO’s International Staff, Angus Lapsley CMG leads the team responsible for the Alliance’s capability and force planning, posture, plans, and a range of defence policy questions, including nuclear issues. He served as a diplomat for the UK for 30 years. He also served as Director General Strategy and International in the Ministry of Defence from 2018 to 2021 and the Director of Defence, International Security and South East Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2017 to 2019. He served as Ambassador to the EU’s Political and Security Committee from 2015 to 2017 and Director (Americas) in the FCO before moving to the Cabinet Office as Director in the European and Global Issues Secretariat in 2012.
Major General, Deputy Chief of Defence of Estonia
Veiko-Vello Palm started his military career as a conscript in 1992. From 2009 to 2011, he served in the NATO Multinational Corps Northeast Headquarters as a staff officer and from 2012 to 2015, he was the Director of Defence Planning Department in the Estonian Ministry of Defence. He has been deployed to Afghanistan twice – to Headquarters ISAF in 2007 and Headquarters IJC in 2010. From 2015 to 2018, he served as the Commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade. From 2018 to 2021, he was the Chief of Staff of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces. He has been decorated with the Estonian State Decoration “The Order of the Cross of the Eagle (III class)”.
Leading Researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA)
Dr Matti Pesu earned his PhD in International Relations from Tampere University in 2019. His expertise is in Finnish foreign, security, and defence policy, as well as Euro-Atlantic security, Northern European security, and foreign policy analysis. Dr Pesu’s projects include “The EU as a Security Community: citizens’ views and values”, “New Challenges for Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century”, and “Northern Europe in Russia’s Foreign and Security Policy”. Currently, he is leading FIIA’s research project on Finland’s evolving role in Euro-Atlantic Security. He worked as the managing editor for The Ulkopolitist from 2016 to 2018 and, in 2015, served as the secretary for the Nordic International Studies Association.
Minister of Defence of Estonia
Prior to becoming the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Estonia on 18 July, 2022, he was a member of the 13th and 14th Riigikogu from 2016 to 2022. He has held several ministerial positions – Minister of the Interior (2014-2016), Minister of Justice (2012-2014), and Minister of Social Affairs (responsible for the fields of work, health, and social protection). Having started his working career in law, he served in the Nõmme District Administration in Tallinn (2000-2005). From 2005 to 2007, he was a member of the Tallinn City Council, Chairman of the Nõmme District Administrative Board, and an advisor to the Minister of Justice. From 2007 to 2009, he was a member of the 11th Riigikogu.
Minister of Defence of Ukraine
In 2020, Oleksii Reznikov served as a member of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, was the first deputy of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group, and was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine. Since 2015, he served as the Deputy Chairman of the Mayor of the Anti-Corruption Council and was a member of the Reformation Team for the Decentralization, Local Government and Regional Policy of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, and Communal Services of Ukraine. During his career, he also co-founded the brokerage company “Galicia Securities” and established the firm “Pravis” (now referred to as “Magisters”).
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Estonia
Mr Kusti Salm has served as the from May 2021, having previously held the position of Director General of the Estonian Centre of Defence Investment (starting from 2019). Salm joined the Ministry of Defence of Estonia in 2007, working as an Advisor for EU defence policy, and moving on to other positions including Armaments Cooperation Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Estonia to NATO (2011-2015) and Director of Defence Investments Department (2016-2019). In 2017, Salm was the Chief Negotiator and Chairman of the EU working group dealing with the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
Brigadier General, Head of General Directorate of Military Cooperation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
Hennadii Shapovalov served as the Chief of the Training Department, Operational Command “South” from 2021 to 2022. He was assigned as Commander of a Motorized Infantry Brigade from 2019 to 2021 and the Chief of Staff – First Deputy Commander of a Mechanized Brigade/Motorized Infantry Brigade from 2015 to 2018. He served as the Deputy Chief of Information and Analytical Section, Command Centre of the Army Corps Headquarters from 2012 to 2015 and the Senior Officer, Operational Training Group, Army Corps Headquarters in 2008. From 2000 to 2008, he served as Tank Platoon/Tank Company/Separate Infantry Company Commander.