The leaders of CENSA - both the board of directors and collective group of project heads - reflect the drive and diversity of the membership. The team that will lead CENSA from its current stage to that of being a regular contributor to the security dialogue is well versed in strategic management and has substantive expertise across the national security spectrum. Moreover, the collective ties the board has with national security leaders and influencers across the security, nonprofit and private sectors ensure that CENSA is well positioned to penetrate the security dialogue - not simply echo it.


Michael Fenzel

Founder and Chairman

Michael Fenzel is an active duty U.S. Army colonel selected to command a heavy brigade combat team in the 1st Armored Division. In addition, he is a Ph.D. student at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Previously, from 2006 to 2008, Mr. Fenzel served as an airborne battalion commander including a 15-month tour as a task force commander in the border region of Afghanistan, and as the deputy commander for the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division from 2005 to 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Fenzel served in various capacities: Director for Transnational Threats at the National Security Council, where he oversaw the coordination and implementation of U.S. counter-terrorism policy; strategist and policy analyst for the Army Chief of Staff at the Pentagon; and a field grade officer, where he served a one year tour in Iraq after taking part in a parachute assault into the country in March 2003. As an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, Mr. Fenzel has led soldiers through Operation Desert Storm; served as a battalion logistics officer in Bosnia in 1995; commanded two paratrooper companies in Italy (through the defense of the U.S. Embassy and evacuation of 1,400 people during Operation Assured Response in Liberia in 1996); and served as an airborne battalion executive officer in Iraq. Mr. Fenzel was a Term Member with the Council on Foreign Relations and is a former White House Fellow. Mr. Fenzel received his B.A. degree in economics from The Johns Hopkins University in 1989, and holds masters’ degrees from Harvard University and the U.S. Naval War College, both with an emphasis on international security.


James Kirkhope

Executive Director

Appointed CENSA Executive Director in March 2008, Mr. Kirkhope possesses over 20 years of experience delivering a broad array of consulting and research projects on international affairs and homeland security. A CENSA member since 2004, Mr. Kirkhope joined its Board of Directors in 2006. Since 1989, he has published widely in academic journals and books and has appeared in the domestic and international media on political violence and domestic security issues. Recently he has served as contributing editor, Counterterrorism: Bridging Operations and Theory (forthcoming 2010); co-editor, Crossroads Africa: Perspectives on US-China-Africa Security Affairs (CENSA, 2009); author, Countering Insurgency and Promoting Democracy (CENSA, 2007); and contributing editor, Faces of Intelligence Reform: Perspectives on Direction and Form (CENSA, 2005).

James Kirkhope is currently a U.S. Department of Defense civilian focusing on terrorism and transportation security within U.S. Pacific Command for the U.S. Transportation Command. Prior to that he served as Vice President - Research for the Terrorism Research Center, Research Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and Chief Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council in Pretoria, South Africa. In 2002, he founded the Terrorism Studies Group in Washington, DC, which manages the global Terrorism Studies Network ( Additionally, he has served since its founding in 2006 on the editorial board of the international Journal of Business Continuity and Emergency Planning published in London. Mr. Kirkhope holds a B.A. in history and psychology from Bowling Green State University, and has two master’s degrees, one in international affairs from The George Washington University, and another in political science from Columbia University.


Peter Clark

Peter Clark is managing director of Cannon House Partners LLC., where he directs investments in emerging and frontier economies with a primary focus on Asia. Previously, Mr. Clark was with the Seattle offices of the Monaco-based investment group HAL Holding N.V., where he specialized in real estate acquisitions and development. In addition, he has served as a principal with Landstar Inc., a privately held real estate investment firm. After receiving his master’s degree in security policy studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, Mr. Clark worked as an analyst with the Program on Transitions to Democracy, focusing on post-cold war peace settlements and economic reform in Eastern Europe. His M.B.A. in finance is from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, and his B.A. in economics and political science is from The Johns Hopkins University.


Bryan Cummings

Bryan Cummings is an investment banker focusing on the industrial technology and aerospace/defense sectors with broad experience across M&A advisory, financing and capital structure. Prior to joining RBC Capital Markets, Bryan was most recently with J.P.Morgan and Bear Stearns covering technology and defense clients.

Bryan currently serves on the Board of Governors and is VP Finance of the Princeton Club of New York, a private member club and hotel in midtown Manhattan serving 7,000. Prior to his finance career, Bryan served as an officer in the U.S. Army with tours in South Korea, New York, and Texas. He has lived in the Middle East, Northeast Asia, and Europe, and is a former US Presidential Scholar, a national award conferred on 141 high school seniors annually by the White House. Bryan received an A.B. in Politics and Near East Studies from Princeton University and a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University's John F.Kennedy School of Government, with a concentration in international security and finance. He resides in New York City.


Scott FitzGerald

Scott FitzGerald is the managing partner of the Boston office of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, and a managing director of Fragomen Global Immigration Services, LLC, with specific responsibility for the firm’s India operations.

Previously, Mr. FitzGerald served as the managing partner of the firm’s Washington, DC and Vienna, Virginia offices, and was an associate in the firm’s New York office. He is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Washington D.C., and is a member of the Labor Relations Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. India Business Council. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Immigration Law at Boston College School of Law.Mr. FitzGerald lectures and writes frequently on business immigration issues. He received his B.A. in international studies from The Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.


Bill Lynn

Bill Lynn is a Co-founder and Vice President of Veritas Bellator, LLC (VBI-INTL), a full service global security consulting company. He holds a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University and is a retired FBI Agent with more than 45 years of experience having specialized in international criminal investigations, special operations, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism. He served in New York City as the FBI’s Chief of Special Operations and in Ottawa, Canada as the FBI’s Legal Attaché at the US Embassy. Since his retirement from the FBI in 2007 he has been assisting the U. S. Military and NATO in counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. He spent more than 42 months in Afghanistan embedded as a special staff officer advising infantry commanders on how to enhance intelligence processes by incorporating civilian criminal investigative principles into military planning and operations. He pioneered ways to counter the illicit corrupt practices of Afghan criminal patronage networks that undermines Afghan progress toward legitimate democratic governance. He is a subject matter expert on all aspects of Afghan government, law and culture. His extensive professional investigative experience and time on the ground in the South-Central Asia region has provided him unique insights into the threat from the militant Islamic State and how to apply practical countermeasures.


Bill Natter

Bill currently sits on both corporate and non-profit Boards and is a Principal at Crayford Prime LLC, a national security consulting firm based out of Annapolis, Maryland. Bill's current responsibilities and consulting services are a natural extension of the experience and expertise he gained over the course of 20 years in federal service, a career during which he, as a senior congressional staffer, helped expand the scope of the Small Business Innovation Research program and prompted several legislative efforts to improve the focus on terrorism, special operations forces (SOF), homeland defense, intelligence reform, and interagency coordination. While serving as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee from 1998 until 2009, Bill's focus on these subjects intensified even as his duties expanded to include Navy research and development programs, defense science and technology accounts, cyber-related matters, and counter-proliferation initiatives. With his 2009 appointment to the position of Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (DUSN), Bill's work in these areas continued and his government career climaxed in several notable respects. As DUSN, his duties involved overseeing, managing, and coordinating all Navy and Marine Corps policy matters, intelligence and special access programs, SOF-related coordination issues, various technological innovation and prototyping initiatives, as well as Department-wide efforts related to the promotion of maritime domain awareness. Bill's attention to and involvement in these topics continues today, albeit through the perspective and from the vantage point of a private sector consultant. He currently serves as a strategic adviser to the Virginia Tech Applied Research Center, or VT-ARC, and furnishes several government and industry clients with advice on a variety of classified or unclassified matters. Meanwhile, non-profit endeavors continue to occupy an important amount of his time and energy, as evidenced by the management and editing support he contributed to help complete Hybrid Warfare and American Strategy and Purpose, CENSA's two most recent publications. Furthermore, he sits on the Board of NSWKids, a 501(c) organization formed to provide educational assistance to children of those serving within the naval special warfare community. Bill earned a B.A. in Political Science/International Affairs from the Colorado College and has studied at both the Joint Military Intelligence College (now the National Intelligence University) and the U.S. Naval War College. Given his affinity for the sea, Bill is a proud owner of the sailing vessel Artemis and is as an active member of the Annapolis Yacht Club.


Dave Buffaloe

Dave Buffaloe is the founder, Principal, and CEO of Buffaloe Global Development Corps., a strategic implementation firm that brings together key stakeholders to design comprehensive plans to create Peace Economies in post-war countries, reducing risk for corporate partners and investors.  BGDC partners with major Fortune 100 companies in the peacebuilding process in post-war countries—companies that can help a country capitalize on its natural resource wealth and companies that can better the lives of the people through technology and development.   BGDC’s subsidiaries include the Buffaloe Strategy Group (Strategy Consulting), Buffaloe Global Security, LLC which provides training and capacity building to African armies and police, the Last Kilometer Solar Villages providing renewable energy and clean water to remote villages in Africa, and Cardinal Signature Diamonds, LLC that only buys diamonds from protected artisanal village collectives – people who suffered the most under conflict diamonds and who are offered the least protections under the Kimberly process – and provides the only fair-trade farm-to-table model in the jewelry industry.  Dave retired after a very distinguished 21-year military career.  After commanding U.S. Army Paratroopers and indigenous militia forces in both Afghanistan in 2003 and Iraq in 2004, he became a top-tier strategist routinely hand-picked to solve the world’s most pressing international security issues.  In 2009, he drafted General McChrystal’s multi-year campaign design in Afghanistan focusing on security, governance, development, securing the borders, and reducing both corruption and the Opium trade.  He most recently served as the Military Advisor for Peacekeeping Operations at the Department of State, where he authored numerous UN Security Council Resolutions and UNSC floor speeches on Africa and the Middle East.  In 2013, he developed the African Union and the United Nations’ comprehensive strategy for Somalia to defeat al-Shabaab and secure governance and democracy.  In each case, he achieved unity of effort from the military, government, and the international community.  Now, he and his team work relentlessly to make the private sector the cement of the peacebuilding architecture in post-war countries.


Robert Tomes

Dr. Robert Tomes is the president of Liminal Leadership, LLC, an adjunct professor of security policy studies at The George Washington University, and a Director of Anna Sobol Levy Foundation. He has consulted for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the World Bank, several intelligence agencies, the Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security. His research and expertise includes exploring the utility of identity preservation models from social science as a guide to the history of the modern Middle East; re-examining American strategic culture; and developing a socio-political approach to leadership that is informed by cultural anthropology.

Previously, from 2003 to 2007, Dr. Tomes was a senior manager at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he championed GEOINT innovation activities. Further, he has worked for RAND, Booz Allen & Hamilton, ANSER, and the World Bank on a diverse range of national security and international affairs issues. In addition to many book chapters and scholarly articles in an array of national security journals, Dr. Tomes is the author of US Defense Strategy from Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom (Routledge, 2007), the contributing lead editor of Crossroads Africa: Perspectives on US-China-Africa Security Affairs (CENSA, 2009), and author of the forthcoming Collaboration Myths and Realities: Insights on Creating Cultures of Collaboration (IBM, 2010). He holds a Ph.D. in national security and international relations from the University of Maryland College Park; a master’s degree in political science from Iowa State University; and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from University of Iowa.


Paul Brister

Major Paul Brister is a Special Tactics Officer in the United States Air Force with eleven years' experience. Major Brister is currently a Security Studies doctoral candidate at the Naval Postgraduate School and his dissertation focuses upon domestic right-wing terrorist organizations. With a BS from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a MS in Defense Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School, Major Brister has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and multiple locations throughout South America.


Amy Zalman

Amy Zalman is the Department of Defense Information Integration Chair at the National War College. Previously, from 2007 – 2012, Dr. Zalman worked at SAIC, a Washington DC based science and technology firm, where she developed new market strategies and basic research projects in the government strategic communications sector. Dr. Zalman frequently briefs foreign policy stakeholders and general audiences on the roles of information and communication in global problem solving, and she is regularly cited on these topics in national and international publications. Her articles and essays in a wide variety of periodicals, including The Globalist, Ethics and International Affairs, Huffington Post, IO Journal, Middle East Report, Tablet Magazine, the World Policy Journal, the Singapore Straits Times, Providence Journal and elsewhere.

She is the founder of Strategic Narrative (, which helps governments and the private sector use insights from storytelling to inform communications, stakeholder engagement and policy. In addition to CENSA, Dr. Zalman serves on Influence Advisory Panel and the Senior Information Operations Advisory Council. Dr. Zalman holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University, a Masters Degree of Fine Arts from Cornell University and a Bachelors Degree from Columbia University. She is proficient in Arabic and Hebrew.

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