Truman National Security Project

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Michael Breen

  • National Security
  • Foreign Policy
  • Military Operations
  • Middle East & North Africa


Michael Breen is Executive Director of the Truman National Security Project and its partner organization, the Center for National Policy.

Breen is a decorated former Army officer, whose service included combat leadership assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the military, he clerked in the Office of White House Counsel, where he focused on national security matters and assisted with the confirmation of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Breen co-founded the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, a groundbreaking legal and policy advocacy organization working to establish and enforce a system of legal and human rights for refugees, and has worked with refugees at high risk on the ground in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. He now serves on IRAP’s Board, as well as the Board of Yellow Ribbons United, a foundation that leverages the platform of professional football to serve the military community.

Breen has testified before Congress, and his writing and commentary has been featured in national print and broadcast media, including CNN’s The Situation Room and Erin Burnett OutFront, FOX’s FOX & Friends, ABC’s Good Morning America, MSNBC’s The Cycle, BBC World News, NPR, Time Magazine, Foreign Policy, National Journal, Politico, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

He holds a BA from Dartmouth College and a JD from Yale Law School, having studied in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. An avid outdoorsman and former ice climbing instructor, Mike is a proud New Hampshire native and a member of the NH Bar Association. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter.

Click to see clips featuring Michael Breen on FOX News, WSJ Live, and MSNBC (Part 2, Part 3).


Doug Wilson

  • National Security
  • Foreign Policy Issues
  • Veterans Issues

doug wilsonDoug Wilson is Senior Fellow in Residence at the Truman Project and the Center for National Policy and Chairman of the Truman Project National Advisory Board.

Wilson most recently served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs – the Pentagon’s senior spokesman and communications strategist He worked closely with the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior Pentagon military and civilian leadership, as well as with the National Security Council, on all major national security issues including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, China, Egypt,  Israel,  Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, India, Russia, NATO, the “Arab Spring”, cyber security, Wikileaks and counterterrorism, including communications in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden.  He has three times been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Pentagon’s highest civilian honor.  Wilson played a major role in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  He helped raise sexual assault and military family issues to Pentagon leadership attention, and continues to devote his time to issues involving military families, wounded warriors and the reintegration of returning veterans.

Wilson is the former National Political Director of the Democratic Leadership Council.  In 1996, he  coordinated the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort in his home state of Arizona, leading the Arizona team that achieved the only democratic Presidential win in that state since Harry Truman.

Wilson is former Congressional Affairs Director of the US Information Agency, founding Chair of the Harvard Public Diplomacy Collaborative and co-founder of the US-Muslim Engagement Initiative. He has been a strategic communications consultant for Boeing and Microsoft, and a Vice President for private sector companies, including The Cohen Group, and the non-profit Business Executives for National Security (BENS).

Wilson has appeared on CBS, Fox News, CNN, HuffPost Live and  His op-eds have appeared in international, national and regional publications, including The International Herald Tribune, The Des Moines Register, The Dallas Morning News, The Arizona Republic,, and DefenseOne.   He is a native of Tucson, Arizona and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University and of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Click to see clips featuring Doug Wilson on MSNBC, PostTV, and CNN.


Scott Bates

  • Asia
  • National Security

experts-batesScott Bates is the President of the Center for National Policy. Throughout his career, he has held state, national, and international leadership positions in policy development and government, including serving as Chief of Staff to Congressman Nick Lampson, Counsel to Congressman Jim Turner, and Senior Advisor to Congressman Maurice Hinchey. As Secretary of State and Legislative Director to Governor Douglas Wilder, Bates pursued ethics reforms and the governor’s legislative agenda, leading an unprecedented expansion in appointments of women and minorities to state boards and commissions.

Bates has worked with leaders and activists to build democracy and good governance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and the Persian Gulf. He has advised the Premier of South Australia and taught at the University of Pristina in Kosovo.

Bates has taught at National Defense University, the University of Indiana School of Law, and Connecticut College. He has been featured in media outlets on five continents, including The New York Times, The Gulf Times, The Australian, The Taipei Times, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Russia Today.

Bates holds a JD from the University Of Virginia School Of Law and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He graduated magna cum laude in History and Political Science from the University of Dayton.

Click to see clips featuring Scott Bates on FOX-9 and Biz Asia America.



Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld

  • Democracy & Human Rights
  • National Security

experts-kleinfeldDr. Rachel Kleinfeld is the founding President of the Truman National Security Project.  Kleinfeld  is a Board Member for Caerus Analytics, and has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Blue Fund, a progressive mutual fund, and the Rhodes Scholarship. Rachel is the author of Advancing the Rule of Law Abroad: Next Generation Reform, and she is the co-author of Let There Be Light: A Market-Based Solution to Electrifying the Developing world

Named one of the Top 40 under 40 political leaders in the country by Time Magazine, Kleinfeld’s passion lies in improving opportunity, dignity, and human flourishing for all of the world’s inhabitants. Rachel was selected by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, the 25-person advisory body to the U.S. Department of State.  Kleinfeld consults for multiple government agencies, private organizations, and international bodies such as the World Bank and the EU.  She has worked in human rights and economic development in India, Israel, and Eastern Europe, has served as an elections monitor in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and is non-resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment. Previously, Rachel worked as a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and as a consultant to CSIS.

Kleinfeld also appears regularly on national radio and television, from Fox News and CNN to the Montel Williams Show. Her commentary has been published in multiple magazines and newspapers, and she has served as a regular blogger for the National Journal’s Security Experts blog and the New York Times during the 2008 campaign.

A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar, She received her B.A. from Yale University and her M. Phil and D. Phil in International Relations from St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Kleinfeld was born and raised in a log house on a dirt road in her beloved Fairbanks, Alaska.

Click here to see a clip featuring Rachel Kleinfeld on the Huffington Post.


Dr. Mark Jacobson

  • National Security
  • Foreign Policy

Jacobson Head Shot August 2014Dr. Mark R. Jacobson is a Senior Advisor to the Truman National Security Project and an adjunct professor at The George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. Jacobson has spent a career in government service, most recently in Kabul, Afghanistan where served as a strategic advisor to General Stanley McChrystal and as the first Deputy NATO Senior Civilian Representative, Afghanistan (DSCR). In this capacity Jacobson was also a principal foreign policy advisor to General David Petraeus. Jacobson previously served on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of Chairman Carl Levin’s investigations and oversight team and at the Department of Defense between 1998-2003.

Jacobson has been a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Visiting Scholar for International Security and Public Policy at The Mershon Center, and is a life-member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Jacobson’s 20 years of military service began in the U.S. Army Reserve and he currently holds a commission in the U.S. Navy Reserves. He has served on active-duty in both Bosnia and Afghanistan where he participated in a variety of U.S. and NATO Special Operations missions.

Jacobson has testified before Congress and his commentary has appeared in national and international print and broadcast media including CNN’s Crossfire, and The Situation Room, MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Up with Steve Kornacki, and Hardball, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, FOX’s The Kelly File and The O’Reilly Factor, BBC World News, Al Jazeera Inside Story, NPR, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, and The Chicago Tribune. He holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan an M.A. from King’s College, London and his Ph.D. in Military History and Strategic Studies from The Ohio State University.

Click to see clips featuring Dr. Mark Jacobson on Fox News and MSNBC.


Capt. Glenn Sulmasy

  • Homeland Security

experts-sulmasyCaptain Glenn Sulmasy is a Fellow at the Center for National Policy and the Chairman of the Humanities Department at the United States Coast Guard Academy. He is a professor of law, judge advocate and a member of the Academy’s Permanent Commissioned Teaching Staff (PCTS). He coordinates and teaches international law and constitutional law and is a Fellow for Homeland and National Security Law at the Center for National Policy.

Previous military tours have included USCGC GALLATIN (WHEC-721), USS Dwight D. EISENHOWER (CVN-69) Battle Group during the Persian Gulf War, executive officer of USCGC MORRO BAY (WTGB-106), Office of the Judge Advocate General, USCG Headquarters, Deputy University Counsel at USCGA, Special Assistant US Attorney (D. Ct.), National Security Fellow/Aide to former Congressman Rob Simmons, Assistant Professor of Law and Governmental Affairs Officer at USCGA, Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and Professor of International Law at US Naval War College. He served on the adjunct faculty of Roger Williams University School of Law from 2000-2005 where he taught courses in Military Law and Homeland Security Law. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Center of International and Comparative Law (Balt., Md) and on the Executive Committee for the National Security and International Law Practice Group for the Federalist Society. In 2005, he was appointed to the Northeast Regional Ocean’s Council by Governor M. Jodi Rell and also served on the Governor’s Military Staff from 2004-2009. CAPT Sulmasy has advised various members of Congress, as well as key members of the Executive branch on myriad matters involving national security.

Captain Sulmasy has been a National Security and Human Rights Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. He has written and lectured widely on national security and constitutional law and frequently is a guest on National Public Radio and other national radio and television outlets. His articles have appeared in numerous law journals as well as the LA Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post, Hartford Courant and the Boston Globe among others. He is co-editor of International Law Challenges: Homeland Security and Combating Terrorism and the author of The National Security Court System – A Natural Evolution of Justice in an Age of Terror (Oxford University Press 2009).

Captain Sulmasy received his BS in government from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy in 1988, earned his JD cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law (on full academic scholarship), his LL.M in national security law from Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) and attended the Harvard Kennedy School.

Click here to see a clip featuring Capt. Glenn Sulmasy on FOX.


Rebecca Abou-Chedid

  • Middle East, North Africa
  • Nuclear & Iran

experts-abou-chedidRebecca Abou-Chedid is a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project and a project finance associate in the Washington, DC office of Chadbourne & Parke LLP.  Rebecca’s practice focuses on the representation of public and private entities in domestic and international project finance and energy projects.

Rebecca is co-chair of the Board of Directors of Just Vision, an organization dedicated to increasing media coverage and support for Palestinian and Israeli efforts to end the occupation and the conflict without arms.  Just Vision has produced two award-winning documentaries, Encounter Point and Budrus.

Rebecca is the former Director of Outreach at the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force and National Political Director at the Arab American Institute.  During the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, she worked as a field organizer with Obama for America.  Rebecca has been published in Foreign Policy, The Boston Globe, The Daily Star and An Nahar and has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera, and Al Arabiyah among others.

Rebecca received her B.A. in Economics and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Click here to see clips featuring Rebecca Abou-Chedid on MSNBC and the Thom Hartmann Show. 



  • Cybersecurity

experts-rhoadesMatt Rhoades is the Director of the Cyberspace & Security Program at the Truman Project and Center for National Policy.

Matt previously served as the Director of Legislative Affairs at the Truman National Security Project. Before that, Matt was the Congressional Liaison with the Truman Project’s Operation Free campaign, working to help Capitol Hill understand the connections between energy, climate change, and national security before becoming the Director of Legislative Affairs.

Prior to joining the Truman Project, Matt interned with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, where he assisted federal lobbyists in properly reporting their lobbying activity to ensure public transparency. Matt serves as principal author of the Truman Security Briefing Book and has been published in outlets including Politico, The Hill, and Christian Science Monitor.

Matt earned a B.A. in anthropology at the University of Kansas and an M.A. in Political Science at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While in school, Matt served for four years as a Student Manager with the University of Kansas football team and for five seasons as a Clubhouse Assistant with the Kansas City Royals Baseball Club. Matt hails from St. Louis, MO.

Click to listen to a clip featuring Matt Rhoades on Federal News Radio. 

Dr. Joshua Walker

  • Foreign Policy
  • MENA

experts-walkerJoshua W. Walker is a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. He is also the Director of Global Programs, APCO Worldwide in the Office of the CEO and non-resident Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC, specializing in foreign policy, international affairs and public-private partnerships. Before the private sector Dr. Walker was most recently a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow and served at the U.S. Department of State in Secretary Kerry’s Office of the Chief Economist in 2013.  Prior to this appointment in 2012 he served in Secretary Clinton’s Global Partnership Initiative as the Senior Advisor on the Middle East and North Africa.

Prior to the State Department, Dr. Walker as a Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States responsible for the Turkey program and Japan portfolio of the Asia team. Dr. Walker co-founded the Yale Journal of International Affairs, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in New York, and the Project on Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations at Princeton along with being a Foreign Policy Initiative Future Leader. He has worked for the U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey Desk at the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

Dr. Walker has been affiliated and taught at Brandeis University, George Mason University, Harvard Kennedy School, Middle East Technical University, Istanbul Sehir Merkez, Tokyo University, Transatlantic Academy, Princeton University, University of Richmond, and Yale University.  Most recently, Dr. Walker has been featured on the BBC, Al Jazeera, and the Wall Street Journal Radio.
Dr. Walker earned his Ph.D. in Politics and Public Policy with a specialization on international relations and security studies at Princeton University. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Yale University, a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and speaks both Japanese and Turkish fluently.

Click to see a clip of Dr. Joshua Walker on Rudaw and on Wall Street Journal Live.

Kayla Williams

  • Veterans Affairs & Issues

experts-williamsKayla Williams is a Fellow at the Truman National Security Project and a former sergeant working as an Arabic linguist in a Military Intelligence company of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). During her deployment to Iraq, Williams was at the forefront of troops’ interaction with Iraqis will also navigating the challenges of being part of the 15% of the Army that is female.

Kayla is the author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, a memoir about her experiences negotiating the changing demands on today’s military.

Kayla graduated cum laude with a BA in English Literature from Bowling Green State University, and earned an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Middle East from American University. Kayla is a member of the Army Education Advisory Committee, and a former member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. She currently lives near Washington, D.C. with her husband, a combat-wounded veteran, and their two children.

Click to see clips featuring Kayla Williams on C-SPAN, and MSNBC.