As far back as its origins in World War II, support to National Resilience and Resistance Operations has long been a core competency of Special Operations Forces (SOF). As expansionist authoritarian powers threaten U.S. partners who resolve to push back against subversion and aggression, SOF must be prepared to support partner resilience initiatives. Furthermore, in the event of armed aggression, Joint SOF must be prepared to transition from support to resilience to support to resistance operations. Such operations will likely be carried out in denied or contested environments and require support from the services and collaboration with joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational partners.


This Forum will provide a platform in which to consider, debate, and explore bold and innovative joint SOF-supported trans-regional approaches to resilience and resistance in the context of compound threats, most especially at key geostrategic locations that are consequential for the preservation of the liberal international order.

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Brian Petit
Brian Petit

Brian S. Petit is an adjunct lecturer for the Joint Special Operations University. He teaches JSOU’s National Resistance Course for US and international partners. Brian is a former US Army Special Forces Colonel (retired in 2017) with command tours in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, The Philippines, Europe, and Africa. In 2013, Colonel Petit published Going Big by Getting Small: The Application of Operational Art by Special Operations in Phase Zero. His book was on the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Commanding General’s 2015 recommended reading list and is in use in both military and academic curricula. He has published in Special Warfare, Military Review, Small Wars Journal, and War on the Rocks. He is married with three adult sons. The Petits live in Salida, Colorado.

Charlie Black
Charlie Black

Charlie Black is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Xundis Global, LLC a niche trans-disciplinary consultancy focused on helping individuals and organizations successfully navigate complexity and change. He is a retired Marine Corps Officer with over 30 years of diverse experience in and out of uniform with conventional, special operations, interagency and international organizations. He currently serves as a Non-Resident Fellow at Joint Special Operations University teaching and conducting research on the future of SOF. As a professional member of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, he provides asymmetric capabilities and innovation expertise to national priority projects. He also serves as a board advisor to several private sector corporations.

 

Chris Marsh
Chris Marsh

Dr. Marsh is director of the department of research & analysis in the Institute of SOF Strategic Studies at the Joint Special Operations University, USSOCOM. He conducts research on global special operations forces with a particular focus on Russian SOF, including strategy and foreign policy.  He also serves as editor of Special Operations Journal, published by Routledge. Prior to joining JSOU, Marsh was a Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies at the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). Dr. Marsh holds the Ph.D. in political science from the University of Connecticut, in addition to having completed graduate study at Moscow State University. He conducted much of his dissertation research at the Russian Academy of Science, and later was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. Dr. Marsh was also a visiting fellow at Tsinghua University (Beijing) in 2001, where he conducted research on political and social change in China. Dr. Marsh is the author of five books, including Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors, and Sectors, co-authored with Nikolas Gvosdev of the Naval War College. Dr. Marsh has also published more than 70 journal articles and chapters in edited collections.

Dave Ellis
Dave Ellis

Dr. David C. Ellis is a Resident Senior Fellow at JSOU (government contractor employed by METIS Solutions). He holds a doctorate in international relations and comparative politics from the University of Florida. Dr. Ellis’s research on democratization and development in identity conflict spans over two decades. His interests in peacekeeping, conflict resolution, development, and atrocity in ethnic conflict focused his doctoral research on identity, social movements, organization and social learning theory, and economic growth theory. Dr. Ellis served as an intelligence analyst in the USSOCOM J2, deployed to Afghanistan in support of Special Operations Forces from 2010–2011, and joined JSOU in 2016. His current research focuses on the intersection of complexity, organizational learning within the special operations community, and integrated campaigning.

Duncan Depledge
Duncan Depledge

Dr. Duncan Depledge is a lecturer in Geopolitics and Security at Loughborough University. He is the author of Britain and the Arctic (Palgrave, 2018) and more than a dozen academic articles and book chapters on the changing geopolitics of the Far North. He was the first director of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Polar Regions (2015−19). From 2017−18, he served as special adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee during its inquiry on ‘Defence in the Arctic’. He has also served as a consultant to the UK Ministry of Defence. He is an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in London.

Evan Ellis
Evan Ellis

Dr. Evan Ellis is a research professor of Latin American Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, with a focus on the region’s relationships with China and other non-Western Hemisphere actors, as well as transnational organized crime and populism in the region.

Dr. Ellis has published over 300 works, including the 2009 book China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores, the 2013 book The Strategic Dimension of Chinese Engagement with Latin America, the 2014 book, China on the Ground in Latin America, and the 2018 book, Transnational Organized Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is currently under contract for his 5th book, China Engages Latin America: Distorting Development and Democracy?


Graham Shellenberger
Graham Shellenberger

            Graham Shellenberger leads the Global Team at Miburo, a strategic analysis and consulting company specializing in the detection, analysis, and countering of foreign malign influence worldwide.

His work focuses on foreign influence, social media manipulation, and conspiracy theories. During the 2020 U.S. Election, Graham’s team at Miburo tracked and modeled influence operations from Russia, China, and Iran. As a consultant, Graham advises the Department of Defense and members of the Intelligence community on identifying and countering foreign malign influence worldwide.


Before his work in the private sector, Graham served as a U.S. Army infantry officer and as a psychological operations officer, supporting Special Operation Command-Europe and U.S. Cyber Command. 



Greg Collins
Greg Collins

Dr. Greg Collins is Associate Vice President for Resilience and International Development and Research Professor at the University of Arizona.  Dr. Collins previously served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator (Senior Executive Service) at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where he led the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. In that role he provided strategic vision and oversight for the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative and USAID’s efforts to build resilience in areas of recurrent crises.  Greg also served as USAID’s first Resilience Coordinator and, previously, the founding Director of USAID’s Center for Resilience.  He is a globally recognized thought leader on resilience and played a lead role elevating resilience in USAID and international development.

Prior to USAID in 2010, Greg spent over a decade as a analyst and strategic advisor for a variety United Nations agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations, including the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, UN World Food Programme, UNICEF, and CARE International.  He has extensive experience living and working throughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean.  He earned his PhD in Economic Sociology from the UC Davis, his MPH from Tulane University, and his BA in Anthropology from the UC Davis.

Isaiah Wilson
Isaiah Wilson

Dr. Isaiah (Ike) Wilson III, PhD is the President of the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU). He is a master strategist and a leading advocate for change in America’s concepts of and approaches to security and defense policy, and affairs of war and peace. A decorated combat veteran, former army aviator, and strategist, he most recently served as Director (Chief), Commander’s Initiatives Group, for the Commander, U.S. Central Command. A full professor of political science, Dr. Wilson formerly served as a professor and academic program director at West Point, where he also founded the West Point Grand Strategy Program. He has also taught extensively at the undergraduate and graduate levels at a number of prestigious colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Yale University, George Washington University, and the National War College. Prior to his appointment with U.S. Special Operations Command, Dr. Wilson was the Director of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) and USAWC Press. Dr. Wilson has numerous publications to his credit, including, Thinking Beyond War: Civil-Military Relations and Why America Fails to Win the Peace. Dr. Wilson is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an International Affairs Fellow with New America.  He also serves as a professor of practice with the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University. 

Janno Mark
Janno Mark

Born in Lihula, a small town on the west coast of Estonia, LTC Janno Mark joined the Estonian Defense Forces in 1995 as an infantry officer. He commanded operations at the squadron level in Iraq (OIF), as part of the 2-12 CAV (US Army) in 2004. LTC Mark earned a Master’s Degree from the Estonian National Defense Academy, followed by deployment to Afghanistan as the Estonian Contingent Commander. In 2009, he assumed command of the Viru Infantry Battalion, North-East Defense Region. After completion of Battalion Command, he was appointed as MA to the CHOD prior to selection for CGSC and SAMS. Subsequently, he served as Commander of the Northern Defense District. He has also graduated from the Estonian Business School with a Master of Business Administration degree. More recently, he studied at the Baltic Defense College at Higher Command Studies Course. Upon graduation, he was appointed to his current position as chief of G5 at the Defense League HQ. LTC Mark is married to Marit who is a doctor of internal medicine and they have four children Johann, Sandra, Carmen and Robert.

Jaroslaw Jablonski
Jaroslaw Jablonski

Colonel Jaroslaw Jablonski has been a member of the Polish Special Forces since 2002. COL Jablonski received his MA in defense analysis from the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in 2009 and a PhD in information and knowledge management in 2012. COL Jablonski has a combined more than 40 months of deployment time to Balkans, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Afghanistan in support of the ISAF. At present he serves as POLSOF Exchange Officer in USSOCOM.

Katie Crombe
Katie Crombe

Lt Col Katie Crombe has served in a variety of strategy and planning roles across the Middle East and currently serves at U.S. Special Operations Command Central as the Director of Strategy and Plans. Prior to this assignment, Katie served at U.S. Central Command, where she led a planning team charged with the D-ISIS campaign plan within the strategy and plans directorate prior to being selected as the CENTCOM commander’s aide-de-camp. Katie also spent three years working at the U.S Embassy in Amman, Jordan overseeing bilateral, coalition, and interagency plans, culminating with serving as the planning adviser to the Jordanian Chief of Defense for the Syria crisis and initial operations to combat ISIS along the Jordanian border.  Katie also served as an exchange officer in the United Kingdom’s Operational Headquarters, leading the team in development of a new U.K. theater strategy for the Middle East.

Kelly Hicks
Kelly Hicks

LTC (Ret) Kelly Hicks received a commission upon graduation from college and subsequently served as an Officer in US Army Special Forces. His service of 21 years included assignments as a company commander in Korea; and as an A-Team leader operating in Latin America, Korea, Okinawa Japan, Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong. Following completion of Chinese language studies at the MOD-UK language school in Hong Kong, and a Master’s degree in China-US relations at Harvard University, LTC (Ret) Hicks taught a graduate level course in Asia Regional Studies, then commanded the Special Operations Language School, Special Warfare Training Center at Fort Bragg. Following Command and Staff College he served as Operations Officer for 1st Special Forces Group, coordinating counter-narcotics operations in Asia and at the US Southern Border, with DEA and others, until his selection for the Defense Attaché System in 1995. From 1995 to 2000, LTC (Ret) Hicks served as the Assistant Army Attaché and Army Attaché in Hong Kong, during the period prior and subse­quent to Hong Kong’s return to Chinese Sovereignty. Upon retirement from the Army, LTC (Ret) Hicks worked for 18 years as an Executive Director in Security, Crisis Management and Business Continuity, first for Goldman Sachs Hong Kong, then Deutsche Bank on Wall Street, then Verizon (internationally) through 2018. LTC (Ret) Hicks now resides in the Tampa, Florida area, teaching a seminar course on China as a global competitor at the Joint Special Operations University, Tampa; as well as consulting in the areas of anti-fraud, cyber security and physical security for China/Asia and Latin America.

Liam Collins
Liam Collins

Liam Collins is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces colonel who conducted operational deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, South America, the Horn of Africa, and Bosnia. He was the founding director of the Modern War Institute at West Point, former director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, a fellow at New America, and a permanent member with the Council on Foreign Relations. Collins’ work has been cited by the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, the White House press secretary, the New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, ABC News, Fox News, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of U.S Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare Operations and holds a PhD from Princeton University.

Marius Kristiansen
Marius Kristiansen

LTC Marius Kristiansen is currently serving as the Norwegian Exchange Officer at USSOCOM J3-International Division.

LTC Marius Kristiansen is a graduate of the Norwegian Military Academy (Bachelor-degree in Land Warfare and Leadership), University of St. Andrews (Advanced Certificate Program in Terrorism Studies), Naval Postgraduate School (MSc in Defence Analysis – Irregular Warfare) and United States Marine Corps Command and General staffcollege.


His military service began in the Norwegian Navy before he transitioned to the Norwegian Army and FSK/NORSOC. Throughout the last 18 years he has served at every level within the NORSOC-organization, and he has several combat deployments in south-east Asia, Sahel and the Middle-East. LTC Kristiansen has throughout his service also been involved in enhancing security-cooperation on behalf of Norway and other allies and partners. Also, he has been working with issues like diversity in the military, foreign fighters, military ethics and how technological change might affect the security environment in an overall competitive environment. 


Peter Cloutier
Peter Cloutier

Peter Cloutier is the new Joint Special Operations University Professor for Development and Human Security.  He is a career Foreign Service Officer in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) having served as Office Director for programs in Afghanistan, Mozambique, Angola and Timor-Leste (East Timor). He has devoted much of his Foreign Service career to developing innovative strategies and advancing interagency partnerships in a range of technical fields. He is a successful and skilled negotiator with host country governments, in sector coordination bodies, and within the interagency. He has a track record for leading teams to achieve ambitious results in multiple technical areas. He is an accomplished writer and presenter, as evidenced by authoring a USAID country strategy and presenting numerous interagency proposals and presentations to senior USG decision makers. With 15 years overseas with USAID, he has demonstrated consistent leadership, accountability and impact. USAID has recognized his sustained performance with three Superior Honor Awards as a result.

Russ Howard
Russ Howard

Brigadier General (retired) Russell Howard is a rancher and the president of Howard’s Consulting Services. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University. He currently consults for Audia Corporation in Washington, Pennsylvania and has served as an advisor to several organizations including Laser Shot, in Houston, Texas; Development Alternatives Incorporated in Bethesda, Maryland; and the Home Team Academy in Singapore.

Previously BG Howard was the Director of the Jebsen Center for Counterterrorism studies at the Fletcher School in Medford, Massachusetts. BG Howard retired from the Army as Head of the Department of Social Sciences and the founding director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. His previous positions include Deputy Department Head of the Department of Social Sciences, Army Chief of Staff Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, and Commander of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis, Washington. Other past assignments include Assistant to the Special Representative to the Secretary General during UNOSOM II in Somalia, Deputy Chief of Staff for I Corps, and Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander for the Combined Joint Task Force Haiti/Haitian Advisory Group. Previously, General Howard was Commander of 3d Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He also served as the Administrative Assistant to Admiral Stansfield Turner and as a Special Assistant to General Max Thurman, the Commander of SOUTHCOM.

As a newly commissioned officer, General Howard served as an “A” Detachment Commander in the 7th Special Forces Group from 1970 to 1972. He left the active component and then served in the U. S. Army Reserve from 1972 to 1980. During this period he served as an Overseas Manager, American International Underwriters, Melbourne, Australia, and China Tour Manager for Canadian Pacific Airlines. He was recalled to active duty in 1980, and served initially in Korea as an Infantry Company Commander. Subsequent assignments included Classified Project Officer, U.S. Army 1st Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, and Operations Officer and Company Commander, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, Japan.

General Howard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from San Jose State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from the University of Maryland, a Master of Arts degree in International Management from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Harvard University. General Howard was a Senior Service College Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He also did graduate and language studies at Taiwan’s National Chengchi (Political and Economic) University in Taipei, Taiwan. General Howard speaks Chinese (Mandarin) and German.

Samuel Bendett
Samuel Bendett

Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. His work involves research on the Russian defense and technology developments, unmanned and autonomous military systems and Artificial Intelligence, as well as Russian military capabilities and decision-making during crises. He is a Member of CNA’s Center for Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence, and an honorary “Mad Scientist” with the USARMY TRADOC’s Mad Scientist Initiative. He is also a Russian military autonomy and AI SME for the DOD’s Defense Systems Information Analysis Center.

Prior to joining CNA, Mr. Bendett worked at the National Defense University on emerging and disruptive technologies for the Department of Defense response in domestic and international crisis situations. His previous experience includes working for US Congress, private sector and non-profit organizations on foreign policy, international conflict resolution, defense and security issues. 

Mr. Bendett’s analyses, views and commentary on Russian military robotics, unmanned systems and Artificial Intelligence capabilities appear in the Forbes, C4ISRnet, DefenseOne, War on the Rocks, Breaking Defense, The National Interest and The Strategy Bridge. Between 2008 and 2016, he was a foreign policy and international affairs contributor to the RealClearWorld.com blog. Samuel Bendett received his M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University and B.A. in Politics and English from Brandeis University. He has native fluency in Russian.


Scott Smitson
Scott Smitson

Dr. Scott Smitson, is a retired Army Strategist who most recently served in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) J5 as the Strategy Branch Chief. He previously served in the Joint Staff J8, responsible for overseeing numerous efforts related to Global Integration, and was the Director of the Chairman’s Net Assessment on Iran. From 2014-2016 he was a member of the US CENTCOM Commander’s Action Group (CAG), where he served as a Strategic Advisor for key theater-strategic issues and initiatives. His operational experiences include deployments in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom, service as the UN Commander’s representative for Armistice issues in the Korean DMZ, and Company Command in 2nd Infantry Division. From 2013-2014, he was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow (CFR IAF) where he served as a US-UK Strategic Planner in the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.

Dr. Smitson served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy from 2010-2013, and was an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. He has also taught at the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the Ohio State University. Dr. Smitson earned a Joint PhD in Political Science and Public Policy from Indiana University’s School of Environmental and Public Affairs (SPEA) as well as a MA in Political Science. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate at the Ohio State University. His publications include The Road to Good Intentions: British Nation-Building in Aden,  “An American in Her Majesty’s Ministry of Defence” (War on the Rocks), “Solving America's Gray-Zone Puzzle” (Parameters), “After Mosul: Enlarging the Context of the Syria-Iraq Conflict(s)” (New America), and “The Compound Security Dilemma: Threats at the Nexus of War and Peace” (Parameters).

Stephanie Pezard
Stephanie Pezard

Dr. Stephanie Pezard is a Senior Political Scientist and Associate Director of the Defense and Political Science Department at the RAND Corporation, where her research focuses on Arctic security and governance; European defense and security issues; NATO and transatlantic relations; deterrence and escalation; security cooperation; gray zone threats; and military interventions and nation-building. Prior to joining RAND, Dr. Pezard was a Researcher with the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, focusing on security issues in post-conflict settings. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, New York and a Transatlantic Post-Doctoral Fellow for International Relations and Security (TAPIR) at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS/Johns Hopkins University and the RAND Corporation. She holds an MA in Contemporary History from the French Institute of Political Science (Sciences-Po) in Paris and a Ph.D. in International Relations (Political Science) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.