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, Ms 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. Prime Minister Kallas has been awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania (2021), the CEPA Transatlantic Leadership Award, the 2022 Grotius Prize, the Hayek International Prize, the European Prize for Political Culture, 2nd Class Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (Ukraine, 2023), and the Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star (Sweden, 2023).
Federal Minister of Defence of Germany
Boris Pistorius has been the German Federal Minister of Defence since 19 January 2023. In his capacity as Minister of Defence, he is the highest-ranking superior of all soldiers as well as the commander in chief of the armed forces in peacetime. He is the head of the Bundeswehr administration and thus also responsible for the entire civilian staff of the Bundeswehr and the ministry. Before his appointment, from 2013 on, he was Minister of the Interior and Sport in the state government of Lower Saxony. From 2006 until 2013, he was Lord Mayor of Osnabrück city. Prior to that role, he had been serving the city of Osnabrück as a councillor, with a particular political emphasis on finance, economic development, and urban development. Before his public service career, he studied law at the Osnabrück and Münster universities and completed his military service.
Minister of Defence of Estonia
Hanno Pevkur assumed office as the Minister of Defence of Estonia in 2022. Prior to that, he was a member of the 13th and 14th Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) in 2016-22. He held several ministerial positions: Minister of the Interior (2014-16), Minister of Justice (2012-14), and Minister of Social Affairs (responsible for the fields of work, health, and social protection). Having started his career in law, he went on to serve in the Nõmme District Administration in Tallinn in 2000-05, first as an administrative secretary and later as city district elder. In 2005-07, he was a member of the Tallinn City Council, chairman of the Nõmme District Administrative Board, and an advisor to the Minister of Justice. In 2007-09, he was a member of the 11th Riigikogu.
Gen Darryl A. WILLIAMS
Commander of USAREUR-AF and NATO Allied Land Command, United States Army
General Darryl A. Williams assumed command of US Army Europe and Africa and NATO’s Allied Land Command in 2022. Gen Williams graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1983, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the US Army. A career Field Artillery officer, Gen Williams has commanded at all levels, including Division Artillery, 1st Armored Division; US Army Warrior Transition Command; US Army Africa; NATO Allied Land Command; and most recently, as USMA’s 60th Superintendent. He has also served in key leadership positions at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels to include Deputy Commanding General (Support), 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea; Deputy Chief of Staff (G3/5/7), US Army Europe; and Deputy Director for Soldier Comprehensive Fitness, Department of the Army G3/5/7. He has deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm as a Battery Commander; Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Division Fire and Effects Coordinator; and Operation United Assistance as USARAF commander, fighting against the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. His military education includes the Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies, and the United States Naval War College. He holds master’s degrees in leadership development, military art and science, and national security and strategic studies. His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, the Parachutist Badge, Presidential Service Badge, and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
Lt Gen Ralph WOODDISSE
KBE CBE MC, Commander Field Army, British Army
Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Wooddisse joined the British Army in 1991 after completing a degree at University College London. His first posting was to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, an armoured infantry battalion based in Germany. His first staff job was as the Military Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, a post which included a tour to Kabul as part of HQ ISAF. He assumed command of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in March 2009, first in Germany, and then in Cyprus, from where he commanded the Theatre Reserve Battalion. After completing the Higher Command and Staff Course, he served in the Ministry of Defence where he was responsible for military planning for a variety of operations and contingencies. He commanded the 38 (Irish) Brigade between 2013-15 before completing two years as the Assistant Chief of Staff J3 at PJHQ. He assumed command of the 1st (United Kingdom) Division in May 2017 and was appointed as Assistant Chief of the General Staff in November 2018. Lieutenant General Wooddisse has served as Commander Field Army since 2021.
Speakers and moderators
(in alphabetical order)
Research Analyst, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)
Dr Ian Anthony is currently an analyst working in the Security Policy Section of the Department of Defence Policy Analysis, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), where his primary focus is on nuclear weapon-related issues. He previously was the Programme Director for European Security at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), focusing on specific challenges facing Europe. His work includes the project New Foundations for Conventional Arms Control in Europe, which examines the role of military-to-military contacts, the experience with subregional CSBMs in Northern Europe, and technical risk reduction measures such as incidents at sea agreements. Recent publications by Dr Anthony in the field of European security include “European Security after the INF Treaty” and “Closing Sweden’s Military Security Deficit: The National Debate on NATO Membership.” Dr Anthony has a doctorate in war studies awarded by the University of London.
Research Fellow for European Security, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Ed Arnold is a Research Fellow for European Security within the International Security Studies Department at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). His experience covers defence, intelligence, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency. His primary research focuses on British defence, security, and foreign policy, specifically relating to the European security architecture and transatlantic cooperation. He joined RUSI from the private sector, where he was a strategy consultant within the defence and security industry. In his previous professional life, Mr Arnold was an infantry officer within the British Army, spending his military career primarily overseas, including deployments to Afghanistan and East Africa and a posting at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) during the Ukraine crisis. Mr Arnold holds an MA in war studies from King’s College London.
Ambassador for Special Assignments, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
Ambassador Baiba Braže just completed her term as Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Public Diplomacy. In that role, she advised the NATO Secretary General, oversaw the coordination of all strategic communications activities across all NATO civilian and military bodies and commands, and directed all public diplomacy activities. She led work on elaborating NATO’s approach to engagement in the Indo-Pacific, specifically on understanding and counterattacking hostile actors’ hybrid and influence activities in the Alliance. In her diplomatic career, Ambassador Braže has served as Latvia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Netherlands, OPCW, as the Director General of Security Policy and International Organisations, DG Communications, Europe Director, as the Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, and held numerous other posts since joining the Foreign Ministry in August 1993, both at home (Legal Department, International Organisations Department) and abroad (UN, New York). She holds two master’s degrees from the University of Latvia, in law (1990) and in communication science (2002), and has studied Southeast Asian Studies and Thai Buddhism at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. In addition to Latvian, Ambassador Braže is fluent in English and Russian and has proficiency in Dutch.
Director of Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Programme, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Max Bergmann is the Director of the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Programme and the Stuart Center in Euro-Atlantic and Northern European Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to joining CSIS, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focused on Europe, Russia, and US security cooperation. From 2011 to 2017, he served in the US Department of State in several positions, including as a member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff, where he focused on political-military affairs and non-proliferation; special assistant to the undersecretary for arms control and international security; speechwriter to then Secretary of State John Kerry; and senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. Mr Bergmann holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Research Fellow, Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (BPTI)
Andrius Bivainis is a Research Fellow at the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology (BPTI), the defence R&D institute in Lithuania. His portfolio of research comprises the modern changes in warfare, multi-domain operational developments, and possible applications of AI/ML solutions. Additionally, Mr Bivainis has more than 15 years of active-duty military officer experience and is a PhD candidate in the field of political science.
Assistant Director of the Defence and Security Research Division, RAND Europe
James Black is the Assistant Director of the Defence and Security Research Division at RAND Europe, the European arm of the RAND Corporation, the world’s largest non-profit policy research organisation. In this capacity, he leads RAND’s Defence Strategy, Policy, and Capability portfolio of research and wargaming for European MoDs and militaries, as well as EU and NATO institutions. He also recently served as a non-resident NATO 2030 Fellow and previously worked in the UK Parliament and at Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme.
Senior Research Fellow for Airpower and Technology, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Professor Justin Bronk is the Senior Research Fellow for Airpower and Technology in the military sciences team at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the editor of the RUSI Defence Systems online journal. His areas of expertise include the modern combat air environment, Russian and Chinese ground-based air defences and fast jet capabilities, the air war during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, uncrewed combat aerial vehicles, and novel weapons technology. Dr Bronk has written extensively for RUSI and a variety of external publications and has appeared regularly in the international media. He also holds a Professor II position at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy and is a member of the editorial board of the scientific and technical journal Weapons and Equipment at the Central Scientific Research Institute of Arms and Military Equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Chief National Security Advisor to the President of Lithuania
Kęstutis Budrys is the Chief National Security Adviser to the President of Lithuania and Head of the National Security Group. He is also the Secretary of the State Defence Council and Chairman of the Intelligence Coordination Group. Mr Budrys took up his duties at the beginning of 2022. Before his current position, he served for six years as Deputy Director of the State Security Department, the civilian intelligence and security service. He was responsible for technological intelligence disciplines, intelligence analysis, and threat prevention. From 2009 to 2015, Mr Budrys was an adviser to the President of Lithuania on intelligence and defence policy. Until 2009, he held leading positions in the field of intelligence analysis.
Policy Officer, Directorate for Defence Industry and Space, European Commission
Jonas Cederlöf, policy officer in the in the directorate for defence industry at the general directorate for Defence Industry and Space in the European Commission, is the coordinator for the cyber defence category in the European Defence Fund. He carries additional responsibilities in the areas of countering hybrid threats, digital development, support to defence innovation and other R&D categories with solutions using autonomous features. His earlier positions include project and programme management tasks in multinational defence capability development, as well as defence research and innovation. Mr Cederlöf holds master’s degrees in engineering, cognitive-, and military science.
Undersecretary for Defence Policy, Ministry of Defence of Estonia
Tuuli Duneton assumed the position of Undersecretary for Defence Policy at the Estonian Ministry of Defence in February 2022. In this role, she is responsible for shaping and planning Estonia’s defence policy and coordinating international defence cooperation, including within NATO and the European Union. Prior to this current position, she served as the Director of the Policy Planning Department (2017-22). Ms Duneton joined the Estonian Ministry of Defence in 2005 and has held various defence policy positions, including the Director of NATO and EU Department (2010-12) and the Director of Defence Section and Defence Counsellor at the Estonian Permanent Representation to NATO (2012-2015). In addition, Ms Duneton has worked as a member of the International Staff at NATO Headquarters, where she served as Estonia’s national expert in the Defence Policy and Planning Department.
CEO of Generalship AB and Senior Advisor, Stockholm School of Economics, former Commander of the Swedish Army
Major General (ret) Karl Engelbrektson is a consultant in leadership and strategy and a senior advisor at the Stockholm School of Economics House of Governance and Public Policy. From 2016 to 2023, he served as the Commander of the Swedish Army, overseeing one of the largest shifts in the Swedish Army’s recent history. Before that, Maj Gen Engelbrektson was head of force generation, training, and education of the Swedish Armed Forces HQ. He was chairman of the NATO Connecting Forces Initiative, Task Force, successfully negotiating new partnerships on behalf of seven nations in view of the NATO summit in Wales. He started his career as a conscript in 1981. Having graduated from the Swedish National Defence College in 1996, he went into the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST). He soon transferred to the Ministry of Defence, where he worked on the issues of military cooperation within the European Union. In 2004, Maj Gen Engelbrektson became Acting Commander for the Swedish battalion in Kosovo and was appointed co-ordinator at the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters in 2005. He served as the Force Commander for the Nordic Battlegroup, Military Advisor to European Union and NATO Policy, and Military Representative to the European Union and NATO. He is a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences, a senior fellow of New Westminster College (Canada), and a member of the Swedish Institute of Foreign Affairs. Maj Gen Engelbrektson is a co-author of In Business and Battle: Strategic Leadership in the Civilian & Military Spheres.
Director for Europe, North Africa, and Multilateral Action, Ministry of the Armed Forces of France
Alexandre Escorcia assumed the position of the Head of Service for Europe, North Africa, and Multilateral Action in the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, Directorate-General for International Relations and Strategy, in September 2023. Prior to this assignment, he served as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the French Permanent Representation to NATO, beginning in September 2019. Other roles Mr Escorcia has assumed as a state administrator have been in the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs as the Deputy Director of the Centre of Analysis and Advisor to the Minister’s Office, as well as the French Embassy in Germany as the First Secretary, in the Ministry of the Armed Forces as a Diplomatic Advisor, and in the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs as a Case Manager on European Defence and NATO. Mr Escorcia is an alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure and the Institut D’Etudes Politiques de Paris and has a master’s of history from the Université Paris IV – Sorbonne.
Deputy Director, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW)
Justyna Gotkowska is the Deputy Director and Head of the Security and Defence Department at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in Warsaw, Poland. She focuses on the security and defence policy of Germany, the Nordic and Baltic states, NATO and the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy from regional perspectives, as well as on military cooperation in Central and Northern Europe. She writes about Polish security and defence policy in NATO, in the EU, and vis-à-vis the United States. Having graduated from the Institute of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw and of European Studies at the RWTH Aachen University, Ms Gotkowska is a visiting scholar at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and the University of the Bundeswehr Munich. She is a regular participant in multinational research projects, including at Think Visegrad, Estonia’s ICDS, and Germany’s DGAP.
Director of Arms Control Division for NATO and Transatlantic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Arti Hilpus has been the Director of the Arms Control Division in the Department for NATO and Transatlantic Relations at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since August 2022. Previously, he served as Ambassador of Estonia to Latvia (2018-22), to the Russian Federation (2015-18), and to Norway and Iceland (2009-12). His earlier diplomatic assignments include First Secretary in Berlin (2001-04) and non-resident Ambassador for Western Balkans countries (2012-2015). In the Foreign Ministry, Mr Hilpus has been Director of the Security Policy Division and Acting Director General of Department (2006-2008), Director of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy Division, and Head of the Personnel Division. He joined the foreign service in 1996. He has a degree in history from the University of Tartu (1995) and is a graduate of the International Training Course at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (1999).
Research Fellow, International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS)
Tõnis Idarand joined the ICDS in September 2020 as a Research Fellow, specialising in arms control and the Arctic region. Previously, Mr Idarand worked at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1993, dealing mainly with political and security policy issues. He has also served at the Estonian embassies in the Netherlands and Finland. From 2003-06 he was the Estonian Representative to the Political and Security Committee of the EU.
Senior Advisor to Accenture EU AI and Data Lab
Giedrimas Jeglinskas is a Senior Advisor to Accenture EU AI and Data Lab and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and a Climate Fellow at the Emerson Collective. Until November 2022, Mr Jeglinskas served as NATO’s Assistant Secretary-General for Executive Management, where he held overall responsibility for the management of the NATO headquarters and was the Secretary General’s primary advisor for NATO-wide management issues. Before his role at NATO, Mr Jeglinskas served as Vice Minister of National Defence of Lithuania, where he oversaw capability development and defence acquisition, industry, and technology partnerships. From 2010 to 2017, Mr Jeglinskas worked as Vice President of Corporate Banking at Citigroup. Having graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, Mr Jeglinskas also holds an MA in national security studies from Georgetown University and an MBA in strategy and finance from Columbia Business School.
George P. KENT
US Ambassador to Estonia
US Ambassador to Estonia George P. Kent presented his credentials to the President of Estonia on February 21, 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counsellor, he most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the US Department of State. He has also been the Deputy Chief of Mission in Kyiv, Ukraine, the Senior Anti-Corruption Coordinator in the State Department’s European Bureau, and the Director for Europe and Asia in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. Since joining the Foreign Service in 1992, he has served in US diplomatic missions in Uzbekistan; Poland; Thailand (twice), and Ukraine (twice). Ambassador Kent holds a BA from Harvard in Russian History and Literature, an MA from Johns Hopkins’ SAIS, and an MSc from the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School. He speaks Ukrainian, Russian, and Thai, and some Estonian, Polish, German, and Italian.
Associate Fellow, Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA)
Ambassador Imants Lieģis is an Associate Fellow at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) and a former Latvian diplomat with governmental and parliamentary experience. He left the diplomatic service in July 2020 after serving as Ambassador to France. He worked as a career diplomat since 1992, with ambassadorial postings in Hungary, Spain, Belgium, NATO, and the EU Political and Security Committee. Until 1992, he worked as a lawyer in England, where he was born and educated. From March 2009 to November 2010, Mr Lieģis served in government as Minister of Defence (and Acting Minister of Justice from May 2010). Following that, he was elected to Latvia’s Parliament, working as chairman of the European Affairs Committee and head of the delegation to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly. Currently, Mr Lieģis is on the advisory board of the European Leadership Network. His main research focus is on foreign affairs and defence and security matters.
Professor of International Relations, University of Copenhagen
Professor Maria Mälksoo is a Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, where her current research focus is on NATO-Russia deterrence dynamics in the post-Cold War era. She is the principal investigator of the European research council consolidator grant RITUAL DETERRENCE (2022-27) and of the Volkswagen Foundation-funded consortium project MEMOCRACY (2021-24). She is the author of The Politics of Becoming European: A Study of Polish and Baltic Post-Cold War Security Imaginaries (Routledge, 2010); a co-author of Remembering Katyn (Polity, 2012); an editor of The Handbook on the Politics of Memory (Edward Elgar, 2023) and of the special issue on the uses of eastern Europe in international studies in the Journal of International Relations and Development (2022).
Senior Analyst, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI)
Tomas Malmlöf serves as a Senior Analyst in the Division for Defence Analysis at the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI). His main research areas are related to Russia’s defence industry and military procurement, as well as Russian economic interests in Sweden. Previously, he has also focused on energy security in the Baltic Sea Region as well as Nordic defence cooperation. He holds an MSc in political science and a BSc in economics from Luleå University of Technology.
Senior Fellow, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)
Meia Nouwens is a Senior Fellow for Chinese security and defence policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London (UK). In her role, Ms Nouwens leads cross-departmental research on China across the Institute’s five offices. She leads IISS research on China’s Digital Silk Road and Belt and Road Initiative. Her expertise lies in Chinese security and defence analysis, innovation, and China’s regional strategic affairs and international relations. Prior to commencing at the IISS, Ms Nouwens worked for the European External Action Service. She previously worked in private-sector consulting firms and international organisations on topics of foreign policy, security, and defence. She holds an MA in international relations and diplomacy from Leiden University and an MPhil in modern Chinese studies from the University of Oxford in conjunction with Peking University.
Professor Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, and Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Dr Liselotte Odgaard is a Professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. Her work focuses on US-China-Europe relations, Chinese security and defence policy, the geopolitics of the Arctic region, and Indo-Pacific security. Dr Odgaard regularly participates in policy dialogues such as the Arctic Circle Assembly (Iceland) and the Xiangshan Forum (Beijing). She received her master’s degree and PhD in political science from Aarhus University in Denmark, as well as a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Warwick (UK). Dr Odgaard’s recent publications include “Russia’s Arctic Designs and NATO,” “Home versus Abroad: China’s Differing Sovereignty Concepts in the South China Sea and the Arctic,” and “NATO’s China Role: Defending Cyber and Outer Space.”
Director of Defence R&D, Milrem Robotics
Jüri Pajuste works as the Director of Defence Research and Development at Milrem Robotics, predominantly focusing on military product development, which includes detailing end-user needs and requirements, product design, and concept development. As one of the senior and long-serving members at Milrem Robotics, Mr Pajuste has extensive knowledge and experience of unmanned systems and their potential on the battlefield. He has led Milrem’s unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) project in Ukraine—providing vehicles and training in unmanned systems and incorporating best practices for UGV utilisation—and he also led the Estonian Defence Forces’ THeMIS UGV deployment, which was part of Operation Barkhane in Mali. Mr Pajuste currently serves as a reserve officer (OF-2) in the Estonian Defence Forces. During his 15 years of active service, he commanded a combat operation platoon in 2008 and 2012 in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan and worked at the battalion HQ as a signals (S6) officer and at the Infantry Brigade HQ as an intelligence officer (S2). He has also served in the Estonian Special Forces (EST SOF) unit for 6 years, where he focused on planning and conducting operations in urban environments. Prior to his service, he studied at the Estonian Military Academy and received his degree in Military Leadership.
Deputy Director, International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS)
Dr Kristi Raik is the Deputy Director and Head of the Foreign Policy Programme of the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) as of 1 January 2023. She is also an Adjunct Professor of International Relations at the University of Turku. From 2018 to 2022, she was the Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS, and prior to that served as a Senior Research Fellow and Acting Programme Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki and an official at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. Dr Raik has published, lectured, and commented widely on European security and EU foreign policy, including the EU’s relations with Russia, Ukraine, and other Eastern neighbours. She is also an expert of the foreign and security policies of the Baltic states and Finland and has a PhD from the University of Turku.
International Defence Researcher, RAND Corporation
Clint Reach is an International Defence Researcher at RAND Corporation. With his primary research focus on European security, he is the lead author of seven RAND studies on the Russian military. Prior to joining RAND, Mr Reach served for nine years as a Russian linguist in the US Navy, first at the National Security Agency and followed by a four-year tour at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. In the latter position, he travelled to Russia as an interpreter and inspector on New Start Treaty inspections. During his time in active duty, he also deployed to Baghdad during the Iraqi “Surge,” and to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to defuse a situation involving a Russian-speaking detainee. In 2014, Clint received the Navy Language Professional of the Year award. Mr Reach holds master’s degrees in political science and international public policy with a focus on Russian and Eurasian studies.
Director General for NATO and Transatlantic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Martin Roger has been the Director General for NATO and Transatlantic Relations of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since August 2022. Previously, he served as Ambassador of Estonia to Poland (2018-22) and as Director for Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia (2014-18) of the Estonian MFA. His earlier tours abroad include as Deputy Chief of Mission of the Estonian Embassy in Paris and Political and Legal Officer at the Estonian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. He has also been on a secondment to the Office of President of the UN General Assembly (2007-08), working on legal and counter-terrorism files as well to the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as Director for European and International Cooperation. Mr Roger is a graduate of the University of Tartu Law Faculty and holds an LLM in International Law from the University of Amsterdam.
Director General, Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service
Kaupo Rosin was appointed as the new Director General of the Foreign Intelligence Service in 2022. Until then, Colonel Rosin was the Commander of Cyber Command of the Estonian Defence Forces. From 2018 to 2022, he served as the Deputy Director of the analysis unit of the Joint Intelligence and Security Division at NATO Headquarters, and before that he served as Commander of the Military Intelligence Centre of the Estonian Defence Forces from 2012 to 2018.
Senior Strategic Advisor, Russia Strategic Initiative, US European Command
Dr Michael Rouland is a Senior Strategic Advisor and Director of Research at the Russia Strategic Initiative, US European Command. He previously served as senior historian and special advisor for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of Staff of the Army, specialising in research on Russia, China, Central Asia, global integration of the joint force, and recent US operations from Syria to Afghanistan. In addition to his work in government, Dr Rouland leads courses on the Russian military at Georgetown University, and he previously taught modern Russian and Central Asian history at Miami and Stanford Universities. He has published extensively on Russian, Soviet, and Central Asian history and culture.
Pentagon Correspondent, The Washington Post
Missy Ryan is a reporter for The Washington Post who writes about national security, defence, and foreign policy. In 2023, she was named the Post’s Pentagon correspondent, following her stretch covering the State Department around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the US exit from Afghanistan. Before joining The Post in 2014, Ms Ryan was a Washington-based reporter for Reuters, covering military affairs and US foreign policy with a special focus on the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. She also worked as a foreign correspondent with Reuters in the Middle East and Latin America, reporting from Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Chile. Ms Ryan, who speaks Spanish and Arabic, earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence of Estonia
Kusti Salm has served as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Estonia since May 2021, having previously held the position of Director General of the Estonian Centre of Defence Investment (starting in 2019). Mr 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 (2011-15) and Director of Defence Investments Department (2016-19). In 2017, Mr Salm was the Chief Negotiator and Chairman of the EU working group dealing with the European Defence Industrial Development Programme.
Lt Gen Jürgen-Joachim von SANDRART
Commander, NATO Multinational Corps Northeast
Lieutenant General Jürgen-Joachim von Sandrart has served as the Commander of NATO’s Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin, Poland, since November 2021. In this position, he is expected to prepare the Corps to carry out the full range of military operations through the northeastern area of responsibility and beyond. Throughout his military career—which spans more than thirty years—he has served in various capacities for both the German Bundeswehr and within the NATO force structure. Beginning his career within the Panzerbataillons, he commanded the Panzerlehrbataillon 93 in Munster before gaining international and policy experience as the Assistant Chief of Military Policy of the Armed Forces Staff. Following that assignment, he completed various postings with the Federal Ministry of Defence (FMoD), to include a tour in Afghanistan. After being promoted to a general officer, Lt Gen von Sandrart has commanded and led multiple units, to include the Armoured Infantry Brigade 41, a deputy role in the DEU SHAPE detachment, being the FMoD Head of Office of the Chief of Defence, and the 1st Armoured Division. He holds a degree in economics from Hamburg Armed Forces University.
Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Defence Policy and Planning, NATO
Major General Jörg See has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning (DASG DPP) at NATO HQ since May 2019. He first gained international experience as chief of operations and missions section in the German Military Representation to NATO/EU, and operational experience in Kosovo where he served as military assistant to the Commander KFOR and as CJ 35 SO Plans for the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Kabul. In 2010, he served as deputy senior military assistant to the Federal Minister of Defence in Berlin, before being appointed chief of branch of military personnel development in FMoD Bonn. Other appointments include, inter alia, Commander of Armoured Brigade 12, and Chief of NATO Policy at the Directorate General for Security and Defence Policy in FMoD Berlin. He holds a master’s degree in political sciences from Hamburg University, and has completed a General Staff Officer Course in Hamburg as well as an advanced Command and Staff Course in the UK.
Benedikta von SEHERR-THOß
Managing Director for Peace, Security and Defence, European External Action Service (EEAS)
Dr Benedikta von Seherr-Thoß is the Managing Director for Peace, Security, and Defence at the European External Action Service (EEAS). Until October 2022, she served as Security Policy Director of the German Federal Ministry of Defence (FMoD). From 2017, she was the EU Representative of the German FMoD and Head of the EU Division in the Department for Security Policy. She had the ministerial lead on Germany’s EU Council Presidency in 2020. Prior to that, she worked as a political advisor to Federal Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen. From 2013-15, she was the first civilian to participate in the National General Staff Officer Course of the Bundeswehr. Before that, she worked as a Senior Political Advisor and then Deputy Director to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative at ISAF HQ in Afghanistan. From 2007-11, she was a Deputy Head of the NATO Division for the German FMoD. She started her career at NATO HQ (PASP) in 2004. Dr von Seherr-Thoß studied modern history at the University of Oxford, from where she graduated with a master’s and a PhD.
COO, Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA)
Kadi Silde is the Chief Operating Officer of the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), NATO’s new deep tech agency to support the development of dual-use solutions. She was previously Head of the Transition Team for DIANA. Before that, she served as Undersecretary for Defence Policy at the Estonian Ministry of Defence in 2019-22. Ms Silde joined the Ministry of Defence in 2008, holding various positions, including the Director of Policy Planning. She joined Estonia’s EU Council Presidency team in 2017 and was subsequently seconded to the European Commission.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee, Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia)
Kalev Stoicescu is currently the Chairman of the Estonian Parliament’s National Defence Committee. He is a former Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence official. He worked at the ICDS from 2014 till 2023 before being elected to the Parliament of Estonia. Among other fields, he specialises in issues related to Russian foreign and domestic policy, as well as developments in the field of NATO’s defence and security. He served at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1991-2000, including as Ambassador to the OSCE and Ambassador to the US and Canada. He was a member of the Estonian delegation in border negotiations with Russia and Latvia. He worked for the Ministry of Defence from 2002-14, first as civilian-military cooperation department head and then, from 2007, as a counsellor on defence policy at the Estonian Embassy in Paris.
Senior Research Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA)
Dr Iro Särkkä is a Senior Research Fellow for Finnish foreign policy, Northern European Security, and NATO at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA). Her areas of expertise include Finnish, Nordic, French, and European foreign and security policy, NATO and the EU, and questions of political behaviour. Dr Särkkä has previously worked as a Senior Advisor of the Doctoral School for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, as a researcher and special adviser in the Finnish Defence Forces, a visiting lecturer at the National Defence University in Finland, as well as a politics teacher at the University College London, UK. She holds both a PhD and master’s degree in political science from the University of Helsinki and is a graduate of University College London (UCL) and Science Po Lille. Her doctoral thesis, “Rhetoric of NATO in Finland’s Security Policy Debate,” focused on studying changes in Finland’s security policy and NATO during the post-Cold War period.
CEO and President, DefSecIntel Solutions
Jaanus Tamm is a technology enthusiast with long-term experience in the tech and defence industry. He is a co-founder of many ICT, security, and defence companies (e.g. Defendec, DefSecIntel, Marduk) in the field of defence-AI, surveillance technology, and counter-UAV. He is an accepted expert on defence and security technology and tactics in Europe. Over the past few years, Mr Tamm has been sharing experiences with more than forty border guard and military organisations around the world (including Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, West-Balkan, Central Asia, US, Jordan, and Germany) and Frontex to develop the technology in the field. He has been honoured with the highest badge of merit of the Estonian Police and Border Guard for developing surveillance technology for the Estonian-Russian border (EU and NATO external border). He is a member of the innovation prototype fund committee, Prototron, provided by Swedbank and TalTech, and one of the co-founders of Cyberdefence AI Accelerator in Estonia in cooperation with Estonian Defence and Space Industry Association (EDIA) and Estonian MoD. He is a supervisory board member of the Estonian Defence Industry Cluster and the EDIA.
VP of Sales and Business Development for Defence Technologies, Cybernetica
Brigadier General (ret) Jaak Tarien has recently begun a new career with Estonia’s established technology company Cybernetica, where he leads the development of the European Secure Digital Military Mobility System (SDMMS). The SDMMS project is a consortium of 11 partners from 10 nations and will develop a secure, ICT-based solution that will facilitate a direct and secure exchange of information between nations requesting and approving any military movement. Prior to his recent retirement, he had a distinguished 28-year military career, and amongst other positions, he has served as the Commander of the Estonian Air Force (2012-18) and as the Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) (2018-22). He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1998. Later in his career, he also added two Master of Science degrees— from USAF Air University Air Command and Staff College in 2005 and National Defense University’s Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in 2018.
Member of Eduskunta (Parliament of Finland)
Major General (ret) Pekka Toveri is a Member of Eduskunta (Parliament of Finland). He served in the Finnish Defence Forces from 1985 to 2021, with his over 35-year-long career divided into three parts. For 13 years, he served in the armoured brigade as a platoon leader, tank company commander, tank battalion chief of staff, commander of armoured school, and commander of the brigade, as well as the commander of the Guards Jaeger Regiment. Then, he served for 10 years abroad, including two deployments in Bosnia and Afghanistan. He continued as the Finnish Liaison Officer to the US Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, as the Deputy Defence Attaché to Sweden, and as the Defence Attaché to the US and Canada. For 12 years, he served in staff positions, mainly in the Finnish Defence Command J3 and J5. Maj Gen Toveri´s last assignment was to the Director of the Finnish Defence Intelligence, from which he retired. After leaving active service, he worked as a researcher affiliated with the FIIA. He is particularly familiar with strategic planning, intelligence and security issues, and strategic issues in the Arctic.
Associate Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Dr Maryna Vorotnyuk is an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. Previously, she held the position of Research Fellow in the international security studies team at RUSI. Dr Vorotnyuk works on security developments in the Black Sea region, Russian, Ukrainian, and Turkish foreign policies, and the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Before joining RUSI in January 2021, she worked as a researcher for the Centre for European Neighbourhood Studies at the Central European University in Budapest (2017-20) and as a visiting lecturer at the Department of Political Sciences of Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia (2015-17). From 2006 to 2015, Dr Vorotnyuk was affiliated with the National Institute for Strategic Studies in Ukraine and the Centre for International Studies of Mechnikov Odesa National University.
Associate Fellow, Chatham House, and Non-Resident Research Fellow, International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS)
Peter Watkins joined the ICDS as a Non-Resident Research Fellow in 2023. He is also a Non-Executive Member of the Board of the UK Space Agency; a Member of the Council of Cranfield University; a Visiting Professor with King’s College London; a Visiting Senior Fellow with LSE IDEAS; and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House. He was the Director General Strategy & International (2017-18) and Director General Security Policy (2014-17) in the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). In these roles, he was responsible for strategic policy & planning; deterrence policy, including nuclear; defence relations with NATO, the EU and with key bilateral allies (US, France, Germany, Australia); and, latterly, defence industrial policy, including exports. Previous roles included Director General of the Defence Academy (2011-14); Director of Operational Policy, MOD (2008-11); and Director Typhoon (2007-08). Among earlier assignments, he was Private Secretary to the UK Defence Secretary (2001-03) and Counsellor (Defence Supply & Aerospace), British Embassy Bonn/Berlin (1996-2000). He also was a Visiting Fellow with Harvard University (2006-07).
Senior Research Fellow for Land Warfare, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
Dr Jack Watling is a Senior Research Fellow for Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Dr Watling works closely with the British military on the development of concepts of operation, assessments of the future operating environment, and operational analysis of contemporary conflicts. Having worked extensively on Ukraine, Iraq, Yemen, Mali, Rwanda, and further afield, Dr Watling currently is also a global fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Originally a journalist, he has contributed to Reuters, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, Jane’s Intelligence Review, Haaretz, and others. Dr Watling was shortlisted for the European Press Prize Distinguished Writing Award in 2016 and won the Breakaway Award at the International Media Awards in 2017.
Professor, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS)
Professor Tomonori (Tom) Yoshizaki has served as a Professor of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) since April 2023. He gives lectures and seminars on Japan’s national security policy, alliance management, and peace operations. Prior to joining TUFS, he had worked for the National Institute for Defence Studies (NIDS) of Japan MoD for thirty-six years. At NIDS, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs (2022-23), Director of Policy Simulation (2015-22), and Director of the Security Studies Department (2011-15). Prof Yoshizaki was a visiting fellow and lecturer at King’s College London, the Hudson Institute, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces Staff Colleges, Sophia University, Waseda University, and the National Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS).
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