Benjamin Friedman is Policy Director at Defense Priorities, a realist think tank that is small and hopefully growing. His expertise is in Defense Policy and risk perception, and he has written a large number of academic and popular articles on those topics. He’s co-edited three books, ‘US Military Innovation Since the Cold War: Creation without Destruction‘ (Routledge 2008), ‘Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy is Failing and How to Fix It‘ (Cato 2013), and U.S. Grand Strategy in the 21st Century the Case for Restraint‘ (Routledge 2017). He needs to finish a Ph.D. Thesis on Threat Exaggeration in U.S. foreign policy.
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Alex Renner is an Associate at The Asia Group (“TAG”) where he supports the firm’s clients on issues relating to China, technology policy, financial services, and international trade. He holds an M.A. in Security Policy Studies from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and dual bachelor’s degrees in Asian Languages and Literatures and Global Studies from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Prior to joining TAG, Alex held several internships in Washington, D.C. including at The Atlantic Council, Albright Stonebridge Group, and Signal Group where he covered everything from U.S. power sector reform to China’s indigenous innovation drive, and the food-water-energy nexus. Alex spent three years studying in mainland China and has working level proficiency in Mandarin.
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Chris Estep is in his second year as a master’s candidate in the Elliott School’s Security Policy Studies program, concentrating in U.S. National Security. In 2018, he graduated with a degree in history and religion from Eastern Nazarene College (ENC), where his primary research focused on American diplomatic efforts toward the Vatican during the beginning of the Cold War. His research interests at the Elliott School revolve around the role of congressional oversight in shaping U.S. national security policy. He currently serves as the Digital Communications Specialist at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), an independent, bipartisan national security think tank in Washington, D.C.
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Rhea Siers is a veteran of over thirty years at the National Security Agency (NSA) where she served in senior operational, policy and legal capacities including Deputy Associate Director for Policy. Ms. Siers is an attorney, cybersecurity consultant and Senior Policy & Legal Fellow at the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection (I3P) at George Washington University. She teaches courses at GW on cybersecurity, terrorism counterterrorism, and intelligence. Ms. Siers was also named a “Cybersecurity Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal.
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The M.A. in Security Policy Studies (SPS) is a policy-oriented master’s degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on 21st-century security challenges and how to respond to them. These include intensifying transnational challenges stemming from organized terrorist and criminal networks, human security problems stemming from fragile states, instability from technological developments including weapons proliferation and cyber threats, as well as climate change and health pandemics. Familiar challenges like major power rivalry and regional conflicts also require fresh strategic thinking to remain ahead of changing threat curves. The SPS curriculum provides a strong grounding in the national security policy-making process, and our graduates build specialized knowledge that gives them an advantage in career development.
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Raquel Esther Jorge Ricart is a Fulbright grantee who will start her Master’s program in Security Policy Studies at the Elliott School this fall, concentrating in transnational security. She recently graduated with a Master’s in African Studies and International Relations after double majoring in Sociology and Political Science, both in Spain. She is interested in bridging the security gap between public policies and on-the-ground reality, and in the improvement of risk scenarios forecasting for better crisis management. She has professional experience in consulting services in the United Kingdom, where she analyzed humanitarian/security risk scenarios in Sub-Saharan Africa through quantitative data. She also interned at the Spanish Ministry of Defense, working closely with high-level military members as an analyst on organized crime and maritime security in Northern Africa. She was also an intern at Elcano Royal Institute, a Spanish think tank on international affairs, in the areas of private security and energy security. She enjoys going to art galleries and bookstores.
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Alexander Werman is a researcher with Control Risks, a specialist global risk consultancy, currently based out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In this role, he analyzes the political, security, and socioeconomic environment in the Middle East and North Africa for businesses, NGOs, and governments that have interests in the region. He completed a bachelors in business administration from Emory University and a Masters in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School at George Washington University. He completed internships with the Department of State, Atlantic Council, and Search for Common Ground. Prior to joining Control Risks in Dubai, he lived and studied Arabic in Jordan for 9 months.
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