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.
Appointed CENSA Executive Director in November 2017, Matt Ryan previously served for over 5 years in the United States Army as both an Infantry Officer and an Intelligence Officer. Mr. Ryan has led large and small organizations throughout the U.S. Army, and has served in South Korea, South America, and Afghanistan. Mr. Ryan holds a B.S. in Engineering Psychology from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
William J. Denn
Major William J. Denn is a U.S. Army officer currently serving as a planner for the 82nd Airborne Division. Denn is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and previously commanded a military intelligence company at the National Security Agency. He holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, a M.P.P. from Harvard University, a M.M.A.S. in strategic studies from the US Army Command and General Staff College, and a M.M.A.S. in theater operations from the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies. He is a recipient of the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award and was recognized as the distinguished honor graduate at the Command And General Staff College. He has written for the Washington Post, Boston Herald, Military Review, and other academic and military journals on national security and interagency cooperation issues.
Olivia Zetter currently serves on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Chairman’s Action Group. Previously she served as an advisor in the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS at the US Department of State. At the State Department she served as the Iraq Desk Officer in the Office of Near East Affairs. Prior to work with the Department of State she was a Program Associate at Creative Associates International in Washington DC. She holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelors of Arts from American University.
Chris Mcguire serves as a Foreign Affairs Officer at the State Department. Prior to his tenure at the State Department Chris served as a special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a quantitative analyst with McKinsey & Company, and in the office of multilateral nuclear and security affairs at the State Department. He has earned a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelors of Arts from Pomona College.
Armen Melikian works at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the Air and Missile Defense Sector as a combat systems engineering analyst for the AEGIS Combat System and the Ship Self-Defense System. Armen’s interests revolve around the union of technology and national security/defense policy, and how developments in one drive changes in the other. His additional interests include missile defense, nuclear weapons security, and asymmetric conflicts/hybrid warfare. Armen’s professional experience has primarily been in the defense and national security sectors, entirely with nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations. He holds a master of science degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia and bachelors from Johns Hopkins University.
Dina Shahrokhi is a Presidential Management Fellow at the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration, where she overseas assistance and engages in diplomacy on humanitarian affairs in the Middle East. Ms. Shahrokhi received her Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2015. Prior to graduate school, Ms. Shahrokhi worked for the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) in Damascus, Syria from 2011 – 2012 during the first year of the war. In the states, she worked at the Belfer Center at Harvard, the Baker Institute at Rice University, and most recently oversaw a team of 10 analysts and 25 interns conducting military analysis on crises in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Russia, Ukraine, and related to the Islamic State at the Institute for the Study of War. Ms. Shahrokhi has spent nearly two years in the Middle East, including over one year in Syria, three months in Morocco and the UAE, and visits to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, and the West Bank. She is working proficient in Arabic and conversations in the Levantine dialect. Ms. Shahrokhi graduated summa cum laude in 2011 from The University of Texas at Dallas.
Josh Stiefel serves as Cyber Policy Advisor at the Department of the Treasury where his role puts him at the nexus of national security, cyber policy, and economic security. Prior to his tenure at the Department of the Treasury, Josh served with distinction at the U.S. Department of Defense as a political-military analyst supporting senior policymakers from across the Executive Branch and Congress. In addition to his analytic work, he held assignments in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Military Command Center. Outside of his responsibilities at the Treasury Department, Josh serves as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy Reserve. He has earned a Masters of Public Policy from Harvard University and a Bachelors of Arts with Honors from Lehigh University.