Ian Bradbury has over 20 years’ experiences in the security and defense sectors. He currently leads Veterans for Smart Energy Resource Transition (VSERT), a global policy development think-tank at the 1st NAEF (a global non-profit specialising in stability operations, peace support, and aid in conflict, near-conflict, and disaster zones). He is also a member of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS).
For more information: www.1naef.org/vsert
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, Michael Chertoff led the country in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders or implementing their plans if they were already in the country. He also transformed FEMA into an effective organization following Hurricane Katrina. His greatest successes have earned few headlines – because the important news is what didn’t happen. At Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government leaders on a broad range of security issues, from risk identification and prevention to preparedness, response and recovery. “Risk management has become the CEO’s concern,” he says. “We help our clients develop comprehensive strategies to manage risk without building barriers that get in the way of carrying on their business.” Before heading up the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Chertoff served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Earlier, during more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, he investigated and prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, corporate fraud and terrorism – including the investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Mr. Chertoff is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1975) and Harvard Law School (1978). From 1979-1980 he served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr. In addition to his role at Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff is also senior of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group.
Former Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration Patty Cogswell joined Guidehouse in September 2020 as a senior strategic advisor, working in the areas of innovation, organization and mission transformation and redesign across the national security sector. Ms. Cogswell is a homeland and national security executive with 24 years of experience;13 years as a senior executive. She has led programs at the White House, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice, in transportation, intelligence, policy, border security, screening, and information sharing initiatives. She possesses substantive expertise in: aviation, maritime, and surface transportation security, US government and foreign partner screening and vetting programs, counter terrorism, transnational organized crime, intelligence, information sharing and associated technology architectures, and immigration and border processes. She has led multiple organizations through strategy, policy, technology execution, and operations in support of national security missions, as well as how to construct and implement both business and technical architectures. She led complex initiatives across the federal government and with international partners. She negotiated international agreements. Prior to her arrival, she served in a number of roles within the Department of Homeland Security, including as the Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, Assistant Director for Intelligence at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Acting Undersecretary within the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy Integration and Implementation, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination. She previously served at the National Security Council as Acting Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and as Special Assistant to the President for Transborder Security. During her time in government, Ms. Cogswell received the DHS Outstanding Service Medal, the DHS Secretary’s Award, and the DHS Thought Leadership Award. Ms. Cogswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania with a minor in Economics and a Juris Doctor degree from the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law.
Brock Long is the former Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Confirmed in June 2017 by the U.S. Senate with strong bipartisan support (95-4), Brock served as the nation’s principal advisor to the president responsible for coordinating the entire array of federal government resources down through 50 states, 573 tribal governments, and 16 island territories to assist them with executing disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Brock is the 10th Administrator and the youngest to hold the office. While serving as Administrator, Brock coordinated the federal government’s response to over 144 presidentially declared disasters and 112 wildfires, including three of the nation’s most devastating hurricanes and five of the worst wildfires ever experienced. During this time, nearly $44 billion of disaster activity occurred under the various federal recovery programs. As the FEMA Administrator, Brock led major initiatives that will have long-lasting impacts on the emergency management community. He rapidly transformed the agency’s business enterprise by implementing innovative Community Lifeline and FEMA Integration Team concepts to strengthen public-private partnerships and permanently embed full-time staff within the offices of state and tribal governments to better meet constituent needs. Further, as the result of his effective advocacy and eight influential congressional testimonies, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) became law in October 2018, making pre-disaster mitigation a national priority with the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program. The DRRA also provided meaningful changes to the FEMA workforce and bolstered state and local emergency management capabilities. From 2008-2011, Brock served as Director of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) under Governor Bob Riley. As Director, he served as the State Coordinating Officer for 14 disasters, including eight presidentially declared events. Brock also served as an on-scene State Incident Commander for the Alabama Unified Command during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Ajit Maan, Ph.D. writes the Narrative & National Security column for Homeland Security Today featuring her original work and work by guest experts in narrative strategy focused on identifying active narratives, who is behind them, and what strategies they are deploying to manipulate and muddy facts to the detriment of America.
She is founder and CEO of the award-winning think-and-do-tank, Narrative Strategies LLC, affiliate faculty of the Center for Narrative Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, Professor, Global Security, Future of War, and member of the Brain Trust of the Weaponized Narrative Initiative at Arizona State University. She is also author of seven books including Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self, Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies, Narrative Warfare, and the forthcoming Plato’s Fear.
Maan's breakthrough theory of internarrative identity came in 1997; she published a book by the same name in 1999 which was released in its second edition in 2010 (with the addition of the subtitle Placing the Self). Internarrative identity deals with one’s sense of identity as expressed in personal narrative, connecting the formation of identity with one’s life experiences. Maan’s theories are influenced by Paul Ricoeur’s writings in narrative identity theory, and she cites several of his works in her book (Maan, Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self 90). The connection between the interpretation of personal narrative in relation to the larger social group seems to be a key factor in the work of both Maan and Ricoeur. She states that “Following Ricoeur, I’ve argued that who one is and what one will do will be determined by the story one sees oneself as a part of. Going further than Ricoeur, I have suggested that a genuinely imaginative theory of narrative identity would be inclusive of alternatively structured narratives” (Maan, Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self 71-72). This seems to indicate that Maan believes in the role of identity in behavior, but she also recognizes that one can be constrained by society to accept a self-narrative that fits within existing cultural norms. Maan is also influenced by Jacques Derrida as well as Michel Foucault, as referenced in her article “Post-Colonial Practices and Narrative Nomads: Thinking Sikhism Beyond Metaphysics” (227).
After establishing herself through her work on internarrative identity, Maan has now turned her attention to the analysis of narrative as a means of understanding (and combating) terrorist recruitment tactics. Her 2014 book, Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies, examines the scripts perpetuated by a wide range of terrorist organizations while also making important interdisciplinary connections between studies in the humanities and current world events (a workbook companion to the text was published in 2018). She collaborated with the late Brigadier General Amar Cheema on the edited volume titled Soft Power on Hard Problems: Strategic Influence in Irregular Warfare, published in 2016. Maan's 2018 book, titled Narrative Warfare, is a collection of articles examining the topic of weaponized narrative; her 2020 book, Plato's Fear, further examines the role of narrative and power. Her work was also the focus of Representations of Internarrative Identity, a 2014 scholarly monograph dedicated to the exploration of internarrative identity through diverse fields of study and from international perspectives.
In addition to her contributions to academia, Maan has also been active in sharing her knowledge with a wider audience. In September of 2015, Maan began work on Narrative Strategies, an online blog dedicated to the application of strategic narrative to international affairs. That project formed the basis for a consultancy group of the same name, uniting military and academic experts in the cause of eradicating violent extremism around the world.
Erin Mohres is a Director of Safety and Security at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization located in the greater Washington, DC area. She has been working for or supporting state and local emergency management and homeland security programs since 2004. She started with Miami-Dade County as Logistics Chief and Community Preparedness Manager. She then served as Director of the City of Fort Lauderdale Emergency Management program. Since then, she has supported at least 50 state and local jurisdictions across the United States. Her focus areas include critical infrastructure and risk analysis, logistics, strategic and operational planning, training and outreach, and grants management. She has an M.A from the University of Miami and a B.A from the University of Illinois.
Special Agent (SA) Thomas O’Connor entered on duty with the FBI in 1997. SA O’Connor was assigned to work in the Washington Field Office on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. During this time SA O’Connor worked both International and Domestic Terrorism cases. Prior to entering on duty with the FBI, SA O’Connor was a Police Officer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. SA O’Connor worked for 15 years as a Municipal Officer leaving for the FBI at the rank of Detective Sergeant. As a Police Officer, SA O’Connor specialized in narcotics and violent gang investigations.
During a 23-year career with the FBI, SA O’Connor coordinated investigations related to violent criminal actions by Domestic Extremist. SA O’Connor specialized in white supremacist threats and violence. SA O’Connor was the case Agent for numerous incidents including the shootings at the US Pentagon security entrance and the Family Research Council in Washington DC. SA O’Connor became a subject matter expert related to Domestic Extremist threats and traveled extensively training law enforcement and civic groups on these emerging threats.
SA O’Connor served as a Team Leader on the Washington Field Office, Evidence Response Team (WFO ERT). In this capacity, SA O’Connor led forensic teams to multiple terrorist attacks around the globe. These deployments include the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing, 2 deployments to Kosovo in 1999 for war crimes investigations, 2000 USS Cole attack in Aden Yemen, SA O’Connor was a coordinator for evidence collection at the 9-11 attack on the US Pentagon, the 2002 N17 bombing in Athens Greece, 2006 attack on the US Consulate in Karachi Pakistan, 6 deployments to Iraq and 3 deployments to Afghanistan. SA O’Connor led the crime scene and evidence recovery for the “Blackwater shooting” in Baghdad Iraq. SA O’Connor worked at the crime scenes of both the 2018 Tree of life Synagogue shooting and the 2019 Virginia Beach government building shootings. During his career on the WFO ERT SA O’Connor specialized in Post Blast Investigation and shooting reconstruction evidence recovery.
In 2005 SA O’Connor was assigned to a forward operating based in Iraq to investigate hostage takings. During this deployment SA O’Connor was involved in the rescue of US Citizen Roy Hallums who had been held by extremists for 311 days.
SA O’Connor has provided instruction on both Domestic and International Terrorism issues across the United States and overseas. In 2004, SA O’Connor was awarded the Department of Justice “Instructor of the Year” award and was named as an FBI “Master Police Instructor” in 2010. SA O’Connor was certified as an Adjunct Faculty member for the FBI Academy.
SA O’Connor is a 2011 graduate of the George C. Marshall, European Center for Security Studies, Program on Terrorism and Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany where he continues to instruct as an adjunct professor.
SA O’Connor was elected by his peers to the serve on the FBI Agents Associations (FBIAA) National Executive Board for three years, as the Vice President for seven years and President for 3 years, retiring from the FBI on September 11, 2019. This date was chosen to honor the FBI Agents who had passed due to the 9-11 attack and the illnesses related to that terrorist attack.
SA O’Connor is currently the Principal Consultant at FedSquared Consulting, providing instruction and consultation on a variety of Counterterrorism topics to both Government and private sector clients.
SA O’Connor’s Law Enforcement career has been chronicled in numerous books including Tracy Kidders 1997 “Home Town”, Patrick Creed and Richard Newman’s “Firefight, the battle to save the Pentagon on 9-11”, Kirk Lippold’s “Front Burner” the story of the attack on the USS Cole, Roy Hallums’s “Buried Alive” the story of a hostage rescue after 311 days of captivity, and David Rohde’s “In Deep: The FBI, the CIA and the Truth about America’s Deep State”.
Randolph H. Pherson
Randolph H. Pherson is CEO, Globalytica, LLC; President, Pherson Associates, LLC; and a Founding Director of the non-profit Forum Foundation for Analytic Excellence. He teaches advanced analytic techniques and critical thinking skills to analysts in most of the 17 US Intelligence Community agencies, in ten of the Fortune 100 companies, and in many countries around the world including the UK, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong.
Mr. Pherson has authored, co-authored, or edited eleven books. He is best known for two books many analysts encounter in their training: Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis and Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence.
Mr. Pherson was a career CIA intelligence analyst and manager, last serving as National Intelligence Officer for Latin America. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal for his service as NIO and the CIA’s Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. He received his AB from Dartmouth College and MA in International Relations from Yale University.
David Reichenbaugh's passion for law enforcement started at a very early age which led him to seek a degree in criminal justice. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of North Western University Traffic Institute School of Police Staff and Command. David retired after 23 years service with the Maryland State Police as a Lieutenant and Barrack Commander in Cumberland Maryland. David's career started as a road Trooper and continued on as a criminal investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, major violators supervisor, homicide and high profile case investigator, and assisted in the development of the intelligence unit of the MSP post 9/11. He is the author of "In Pursuit: The Hunt for the Beltway Snipers."
Christopher Allan Smith
An Emmy-Award Winning documentarian, Christopher Allan Smith lived in Paradise, California, with his family until the Camp Fire consumed his home in November 2018. Since then, he has been conducting interviews and research into the history of the fire as well as the lessons taken by first responders, civilians, government officials and private disaster planners, with an eye toward producing multiple projects based on those lessons. He also acted as a Field Producer for Ron Howard’s REBUILDING PARADISE as well as the writer/director of the PBS broadcast documentary A HIGH AND AWFUL PRICE: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE CAMP FIRE. He is the owner and founder of RocketSpots.tv, a video production company that produces a wide range of documentary, promotional and online projects.
Sandra L. Stosz
Vice Admiral Stosz, a Homeland Security Today editorial board member, started out in the U.S. Coast Guard as an ensign serving on polar icebreakers, conducting national security missions from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Her 40-year career is filled with leadership lessons gleaned while breaking ice and breaking glass as the first woman to command an icebreaker on the Great Lakes and to lead a U.S. armed forces service academy. She finished her career as the first woman assigned as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, directing one of the Coast Guard’s largest enterprises. She has lectured widely on leadership, and has been featured on CSPAN and other media outlets. In 2012, Newsweek’s “The Daily Beast” named Vice Admiral Stosz to their list of 150 Women who Shake the World. Proceeds from “Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters” will be donated to the US Coast Guard Academy James M. Loy Institute for Leadership.
Francis X. Taylor
Francis X. Taylor is former Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From 2014-2017, Taylor oversaw and carried out the mission of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, equipping the Homeland Security Enterprise with the timely intelligence and information required to keep the homeland safe, secure, and resilient. Before his DHS appointment, Taylor served as Vice President and Chief Security Officer for the General Electric Company (GE) and was responsible for GE's security operations and emergency management processes. Taylor also had a distinguished career in public and military service, including serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and as the US Ambassador at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism for the Department of State from 2001-2002. During his 31-year military career, Taylor achieved the rank of Brigadier General and oversaw counterintelligence and security operations for the US Air Force.
Sergio A. Tinoco
Sergio A. Tinoco is the author of Proud American: The Migrant, Soldier, and Agent and has joined HSToday as a columnist to provide insights and facts about the conditions, challenges, and humanity of the situation on our southwest border. Tinoco started his journey to America as a poor migrant worker of Mexican descent, having to pick crops for a living from the age of 7. As a way to break from the family cycle of farm labor and depending on government welfare programs, he joined the United States Army and served 10 years on active duty. He deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina shortly after the Bosnian War only to find and deal with the aftermath of the genocide that took place there and be caught in the middle of several attacks. His experiences in Bosnia ultimately led to experiencing signs and symptoms related to PTSD.
After completing 10 years of military service, Sergio joined the U.S. Border Patrol. Being of Mexican descent and having family in South Texas and in Mexico introduced new issues of having to counter threats against his family and ill-willed opinions of him for arresting and deporting “his own kind.” He is currently serving as a Border Patrol agent, and all observations and columns are his own and not endorsed by CBP or the Border Patrol.
Sergio A. Tinoco was born and raised in Rio Grande Valley, commonly known to them as RGV. As a child, he had gone through many struggles. Having to come up with a big decision to leave his family behind at such a young age, Sergio began to live a dangerous life in the battlefield with the US Army. Between the Army and the DHS, he has worked in government service for over twenty years. He earned a master’s degree in organizational management. His wife, also a military veteran, works for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Together, they strive to provide greater opportunities and aspirations to their kids.
Jerri Williams served 26 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. During most of her Bureau career she worked major economic fraud investigations and was amazed at the schemes and deceptions con-artist and corrupt corporate and public officials would devise to steal other people’s money. She notes that with a gun, they can steal hundreds. But with a lie, they can steal millions. Jerri often jokes that she is reliving her glory days by writing about the FBI. Her prior professional encounters with scams and schemers will provide plot lines for many years.
During her FBI career, Jerri specialized in cases targeting major economic crime and corruption. Her investigation of a $350 million Ponzi scheme perpetrated against unsuspecting nonprofit organizations, high profiled philanthropists and beneficiary donors resulted in a 12-year prison sentence and multiple forfeitures; the international advance fee scam case she conducted resulted in a 14 year prison sentence and the forfeiture of the subject’s residence; and her major investigation of business-to-business telemarketing fraud, which included a long-term undercover operation, resulted in 16 search warrants, 25 convictions, and many multi-year prison terms. Jerri received numerous awards throughout her career, including four United States Attorney Awards for Distinguished Service, three of them for her work on the cases noted. Being interviewed and appearing on CNBC’s American Greed in the episode—Confessions of a Con Man—was a highlight of Jerri’s career.
Toward the end of her federal law enforcement career, Jerri was appointed as the spokesperson for the Philadelphia Division of the FBI, taking on the responsibility of educating and informing the media and public about the Bureau. Post-FBI retirement, Jerri served as the spokesperson and Director of Media Relations for SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transportation provider. Both positions often placed her in the spotlight in front of local and national news media.z
Jerri is currently using her federal law enforcement experience and communication and media experience to host and produce a popular true crime and history podcast—FBI Retired Case File Review—where she interviews retired FBI agents about their high-profile cases and careers, corrects clichés and misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies, and reviews crime fiction. The podcast can be accessed on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and other popular podcast apps.
In her new book, FBI Myths and Misconceptions: A Manual for Armchair Detectives, she presents her top 20 clichés about the FBI. Each cliché has its own chapter, where she provides a reality check while breaking down the facts. Throughout the book, she includes quotes from retired agents about how the FBI actually works and reviews popular films and fiction featuring FBI agent characters. The entertaining companion book, FBI Word Search Puzzles: Fun for Armchair Detectives is also available. Jerri is under contract as a technical consultant for major TV networks and production companies wanting to create authentic FBI dramas and characters. Her crime novels—Pay to Play and Greedy Givers—feature a female FBI agent assigned to a Public Corruption and Fraud Squad in Philadelphia. Actual true crime FBI cases inspired the plotlines of both stories.