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2024 Speakers

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Who's Sharing Ideas
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Hon. Franklin R. Parker

19th United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Franklin R. Parker was sworn in as the 19th Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs on January 18, 2023.  He is responsible for the oversight of manpower and reserve component affairs of the DON, including the full spectrum of policy and programs for military (active duty, reserve, retired), their families and the civilian workforce.
Before his 2023 appointment, Mr. Parker served as Senior Counsel, Intelligence Solutions, for BAE Systems’ Intelligence & Security Sector, providing full scope legal support. Previously, he also served as BAE’s Director and Senior Counsel, International Trade and Compliance, for the Platforms & Services Sector.  
Mr. Parker joined MARAD in 2012 following his appointment to the Department of the Navy, where he served as the Special Assistant to the General Counsel beginning in August 2009.
Prior to joining the Department of the Navy, Mr. Parker practiced law for several years at major national law firms in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Washington DC. Mr. Parker is a graduate of Yale University, Stanford Law School, and Harvard University. He is the recipient of the Department of the Navy’s Meritorious and Distinguished Public Service Awards.

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ADM (ret.) John M. Richardson

31st Chief of Naval Operations

Admiral John Richardson graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982. He holds master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and National Security Strategy from the National War College.

Richardson has served as commodore of Submarine Development Squadron (DEVRON) 12; commander, Submarine Group 8; commander, Submarine Allied Naval Forces South; deputy commander, and director of Naval Reactors.

Some of his staff assignments include duty in the attack submarine division on the Chief of Naval Operations staff and naval aide to the President.

Richardson served on teams that have been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy Unit Commendation, and the Navy “E” Ribbon. He was awarded the Vice Admiral Stockdale Award for his time in command of USS Honolulu.

Richardson began serving as the 31st Chief of Naval Operations September 18, 2015

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ADM (ret.) Phil S. Davidson

25th commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command

Admiral Phil Davidson is the former 25th Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) responsible for all U.S. military activities in the Indo-Pacific, covering 36 nations, 14 time zones, and more than 50 percent of the world’s population.
He has previously served as the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command/Naval Forces U.S. Northern Command, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and the commander, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Davidson is a 1982 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He is a surface warfare officer who has deployed across the globe in frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. 
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” a Superior Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State, and other personal, service, unit, and campaign awards.

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James "Jimmy" Hatch

Senior Chief Petty Officer (ret.),  Yale College '24

Veteran, Citizen and aspiring scholar, James Hatch served 25+ years in the US Navy, 22 in the SEAL Teams. James was seriously wounded on his last mission and now shares his story of struggles, redemption and kindness to help others find their way through this life.

He is the author of Touching the Dragon: And Other Techniques for Surviving Life's Wars and is the founder of Spike's K9 Fund, a nonprofit which works to enhance the training, care, and preservation of working dogs.

2024 Panels

Panel 1: The History of NATO and Its Importance Today

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Micheal Brenes, Yale University

Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and Lecturer in History

Michael Brenes is Interim Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and Lecturer in History. His research interests include 20th-century United States foreign policy, political history, and political economy. He is the author of For Might and Right: Cold War Defense Spending and the Remaking of American Democracy.

His work has been published in The New York Times, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Politico, Dissent, The Baffler, Boston Review, The Nation, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

He is at work on several projects. He is writing a history of the War and Terror from the presidency of Bill Clinton to the present. In addition to his project on the War on Terror, he is co-writing a book with Van Jackson titled The Rivalry Peril: How Great-Power Competition Threatens Peace and Weakens Democracy. He is also co-editing two volumes with Daniel Bessner, one on the relationship between domestic politics and U.S. foreign policy, and the other on the history of Cold War liberalism.

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Arne Westad, Yale University

Elihu Professor of History

Odd Arne Westad is a scholar of modern international and global history, with a specialization in the history of eastern Asia since the 18th century. Westad has published 16 books, most of which deal with twentieth century Asian and global history.

Today Westad is mainly interested in researching histories of empire and imperialism, first and foremost in Asia, but also world-wide. He is also trying to figure out how China’s late twentieth century economic reforms came into being and how their outcomes changed the global economy.

Westad joined the faculty at Yale after teaching at the London School of Economics (LSE), where he was School Professor of International History, and at Harvard University, where he was the S.T. Lee Professor of US-Asia Relations. At Yale, he teaches in the History Department and at the Jackson School of Global Affairs, is an adviser at Davenport College, and serves as director of International Security Studies and the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy

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Timothy Snyder, Yale University

Richard Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs

Timothy Snyder is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. At Yale, he teaches in the History Department and at the Jackson School of Global Affairs. He speaks five and reads ten European languages. His eight chief books cover an extensive range of topics, including nationalism and Eastern Europe.  Snyder's work has appeared in forty languages and has received a number of prizes, including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Václav Havel Foundation prize, the Foundation for Polish Science prize in the social sciences, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee award, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. Snyder was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, and has received the Carnegie and Guggenheim fellowships, and holds state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. He has appeared in documentaries, on network television, and in major films. His books have inspired posters, sculpture, punk rock, rap, film, theater, and opera. His words are quoted in political demonstrations around the world. He is currently researching a family history of nationalism and writing a philosophical book about freedom.

Panel 2: Strengthening Partnerships and Security - The AUKUS Agreement

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RADM Heidi Berg, U.S. Navy

Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy, N3/N5B, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Rear Admiral Berg is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate with a Master’s degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic from Oxford University, UK. She's proficient in Russian and Arabic, having studied at the Defense Language Institute and the Kalimat Institute in Cairo, Egypt.

Her extensive operational experience includes flying over 1000 hours as a communications intercept evaluator onboard EP-3E aircraft during Operations Provide Promise/Sharp Guard. She's served aboard various vessels and commanded units providing intelligence support to operations like Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.​

In staff roles, she's held positions at OPNAV, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. TENTH Fleet, the National Intelligence Council, and Navy Personnel Command, among others. As a flag officer, she's served as the director of Intelligence at U.S. Africa Command and as the director of Strategy, Plans and Policy at U.S. Cyber Command.

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RAdm Tim Woods, Royal Navy

Defense Attaché to the United States of America, United Kingdom

Rear Admiral Tim Woods serves as Defense Attaché at the British Embassy Washington. He leads the UK’s extensive military engagement and partnerships across all branches of the United States military.

Rear Admiral Woods joins the team in Washington from Kyiv, Ukraine where he was the British Defense Attaché – at the frontline of the UK’s support to the Ukrainian military. In Kyiv he also served as Head of the British Defesce Staff in Eastern Europe, commanding all Defense Attaches across Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine at a defining moment in European security.

He brings more than three decades’ experience both on land and at sea. Previous roles have included active duty in Afghanistan, deployments to the Far East, submarine patrols, secondments to NATO, the UK Ministry of Defense and the National Security Secretariat.

Rear Admiral Woods joined the Royal Navy in 1988 after training at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, south west England, and at sea. He is a graduate of the prestigious Royal College of Defense Studies, where he was awarded the Wellington Prize for Strategic Analysis.

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RADM Ian Murray AM, Royal Australian Navy

Defense Attaché to the United States of America, Australia

Rear Admiral Ian Murray was appointed as the Australian Defence Attaché to the United States of America and Head of the Australian Defence Staff – Washington in January 2023.

Rear Admiral Ian Murray joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1986 and graduated in the first Australian Defence Force Academy class. He has served at sea as a Maritime Logistics Officer in His Majesty’s Australian Ships Flinders, Anzac and Newcastle. Ashore he has served in logistics roles, graduated from the Army Command & Staff College at Fort Queenscliff, worked as the Fleet’s Human Resource Manager (N1) and undertaken an exchange with the Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom.

Rear Admiral Murray is the Chairperson of Australian Defence Force Rugby Union, a recent Director of Defence Bank Ltd and a previous Chairperson of Navy Canteens. He is a Certified Professional of the Australian Human Resources Institute, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2022.

Panel 3: Inter-Service Cooperation & Interoperability

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RADM Heidi Berg, U.S. Navy

Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy, N3/N5B, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Rear Admiral Berg is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate with a Master’s degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic from Oxford University, UK. She's proficient in Russian and Arabic, having studied at the Defense Language Institute and the Kalimat Institute in Cairo, Egypt.

Her extensive operational experience includes flying over 1000 hours as a communications intercept evaluator onboard EP-3E aircraft during Operations Provide Promise/Sharp Guard. She's served aboard various vessels and commanded units providing intelligence support to operations like Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.​

In staff roles, she's held positions at OPNAV, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. TENTH Fleet, the National Intelligence Council, and Navy Personnel Command, among others. As a flag officer, she's served as the director of Intelligence at U.S. Africa Command and as the director of Strategy, Plans and Policy at U.S. Cyber Command.

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Lt Col Edward W. Seibert, U.S. Air Force

Military Professor, Joint Military Operations Department, Naval War College

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Seibert is a military professor for the Joint Military Operations Department. As a career intelligence officer, he has completed numerous assignments throughout Europe and Asia with deployments to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar and NATO HQ Resolute Support, Kabul, Afghanistan. In addition to these and other intelligence assignments, he taught at Squadron Officer College, Air Education and Training Command at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He began his military career in 1992 as an enlisted Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Specialist. He received a M.A. from Hawaii Pacific University.

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COL Aaron D. Bright, U.S. Army

Military Professor, Joint Military Operations Department, Naval War College

Colonel Bright is an Army artilleryman who joined the Joint Military Operation faculty in 2021. His overseas assignments include three combat tours in Iraq, one three-year exchange instructor position with the British Army and one three-year posting in Korea where he commanded an MLRS battalion. He specializes in both cannon and rocket artillery as well as today’s hypersonics, age-of-sail naval guns and World War I history. He holds a master’s in history from Louisiana State University, as well as both a master’s and a graduate certificate in maritime history from NWC. He has published articles in both The Journal of the Royal Artillery and the Field Artillery journal.

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CAPT Fred S. Bertsch, U.S. Coast Guard

Military Professor, Joint Military Operations Department, Naval War College

Captain Bertsch currently serves as the U.S. Coast Guard senior adviser and a military professor in joint military operations at the Naval War College. Capt. Bertsch, a permanent Cutterman with over 11 years of afloat experience, most recently commanded the USCGC Vigilant (WMEC-617). Capt. Bertsch's staff tours include service on the Joint Staff and as an executive assistant for the Assistant Commandant for Capability. A U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate, he earned a master’s degree from Purdue University, a master’s degree and JPME 1 from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a doctorate from Northcentral University. He also completed a fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University.

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