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National Defence University


Kristin Ven Bruusgaard, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at University of Oslo, where she is part of the Oslo Nuclear Project. Previously she was a Nuclear Security Postdoctoral and Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University and before that, a research fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and a defence analyst in the Norwegian Armed Forces. Her research covers Russian nuclear strategy, military doctrine, deterrence and crisis stability in Europe.  She is currently writing a book on Russian nuclear strategy after the Cold War. Her publications include  "Russia killed arms control. Why does it want to keep New START” (2020) in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “The myth of Russia’s lowered nuclear threshold” (2017) in War on the Rocks, and “Russian Strategic Deterrence” (2016) in Survival.  

Arash Heydarian Pashakhanlou, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in War Studies at the Swedish Defense University. Previously he was an Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations at Sheffield Hallam University. Pashakhanlou’s research interests include, for instance, International Relations theory and air power. His latest publications include “AI, autonomy, and airpower: the end of pilots?” in Defence Studies 19(4) 2019 and “Intelligence and Diplomacy in the Security Dilemma: Gauging Capabilities and Intentions” in International Politics 55(5) 2018.

Irina Bystrova is a Leading Researcher in the Institute of Russian History of Russian Academy of Sciences and a professor at Russian State University for the Humanities. Bystrova’s research focuses on the history of Second Wold War, Cold War and military-industrial complexes. Bystrova’s latest publications include Lend-Lease for the USSR: Economics, technics, people (1941-1945), Kuchkovo pole, Moscow 2019 (in Russian) and “The USSR and the USA: Cooperation on the Alaska–Siberia Airway (1941–1945)” in Humanitarian Sciences in Siberia 2016 23(1) (in Russian).

Anya Loukianova Fink, PhD, is a Research Analyst in the Russia Studies Program at CNA and a research associate at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. Previously she was a fellow in nuclear security policy in the U.S Senate. Loukianova Fink’s research focuses on Russian strategy and approaches to deterrence. Her latest publications include: “Rhinestone-Covered Icons at “Russia’s Los Alamos” in Texas National Security Review (2019) and “The Evolving Russian Concept of Strategic Deterrence: Risks and Responses” in Arms Control Association (2017).

Pentti Forsström, Doctor of Military Science, Lieutenant colonel (ret.) is a Senior Researcher and a member of Russia Research Group in Finnish National Defence University. Forsström has served in the Finnish Defence Forces till 2017 and his military experience includes several positions in Military Intelligence and Strategic Research. In 2009, he graduated from the General Staff Academy of the Russian Armed Forces. He defended his doctoral dissertation on the development of Russian military strategy in 2019. Forsström’s research interest include Russian Military in general and the Art of War.

Edward Geist, PhD, is a Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation. Geist’s research interests include Russia, nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence and civil defense. His latest publications include Armageddon Insurance: Civil Defense in United the States and Soviet Union, 1945–1991 (University of North Carolina Press, 2019) and RAND publication Exploring the Role Nuclear Weapons Could Play in Deterring Russian Threats to the Baltic States (2019).

Lester W. Grau, PhD, Lieutenant Colonel (ret.), is a Senior Analyst for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Grau has served the U.S. Army for 52 years and his military experience includes, for instance, service in Vietnam War and later teaching and research. Grau’s research focuses on tactical, operational and geopolitical subjects and Russian military. His latest publications include: (Grau, Lester W. & Bartles, Charles K. 2019) “Russian artillery fire control for large scale combat operations” in Fires and “Russian Aviation in Support of the Maneuver Defense” in Aviation Digest 2018.

Aleksei A. Kilichenkov, PhD, is a Professor of Russian Contemporary History in Russian State University for Humanities. Kilichenkov’s research interests include Russian military history in the 20th century and Soviet military history. The Cold War on the high-seas: foreign historiography of Soviet Navy, Moscow 2019, 709 p (in Russian) and ”Joseph Stalin and the Development of Tank Forces of the Red Army in the 1930’s – early 1940’s”, RUND Journal of Russian History 2019: 18(4), p. 962–984 (in Russian) are examples of his publications.

Michael Kofman, is a Director of the Russian Studies Program at CNA and a Kennan Institute Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. Previously he served at National Defence University as Program Manager. Kofman’s research focuses on security issues in Russia and Eurasia, and he has published numerous articles on the Russian military, Russian strategy, doctrine, combat operations, and security issues in Russia and Eurasia. “The Ogarkov Reforms: The Soviet Inheritance Behind Russia’s Military Transformation”, CCW Russia Brief 2019: 5, p. 10–12 is one of his latest publications.

Marina Miron is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Military Ethics at King’s College London and an associate research fellow at King’s College London. Marina holds a PhD in Strategic Studies from the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. Her research interests include strategic and war studies, focusing especially on Russia, the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia; forms of contemporary warfare, including Artificial Intelligence and cyber warfare; and Clausewitzian thought. Her latest publications include (2020), “The ‘Strategy Bridge’ as the Forgotten Dimension of Effective COIN: the Case of Peru and Sendero” in Small Wars & Insurgencies 31(1), and Miron, Marina & Rod Thornton (2019), “Deterring Russian Cyber Warfare: the Practical, Legal and Ethical Constraints faced by the United Kingdom” in Journal of Cyber Policy 4(2).

Gudrun Persson, PhD, is a Deputy Research Director at FOI and associate professor at the Department of Slavic Studies in Stockholm University. She holds PhD from London School of Economics. Persson’s research focuses in Russian foreign policy and Russian military strategic thought. Among her latest publications are (Hedenskog, Jakob & Persson, Gudrun 2019) ”Russian security policy” in Westerlund, Fredrik and Oxenstierna (eds) Russian Military Capability in a Ten-Year Perspective – 2019 (FOI, Stockholm 2019), and ”Conflicts and contradictions: Military relations in the post-Soviet space” in Moshes, Arkady and Racz, Andras (eds) What has remained of the USSR – Exploring the erosion of the post-Soviet space (FIIA, Helsinki 2019). She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences.

Daivis Petraitis, a Chief Adviser in the International Relations and Operations Group at the Ministry of Defense of Lithuania. He started his service in Lithuanian Armed Forces in civil defense and rescue forces back in nineties. His last military assignments were a deputy NMR at SHAPE and a chief of Information analysis (J2) Defense Staff of Lithuanian MOD. After his retirement he works in the MOD in a field of international affairs mostly dealing with non NATO, non EU countries and Arms control issues.  Petraitis holds a master’s degree in International Security and Economic policy. He’s research focuses on Russian military, defense and security issues. “Russian mission-command in VOSTOK strategic exercises” in Defense & Security Analysis 2019 35(1) and “The Anatomy of Zapad-2017: Certain Features of Russian Military Planning” in Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review 2018 16(1) are examples of Petraitis’ latest publications. 

Clint Reach is a policy analyst at RAND. Reach holds Master’s degree in Political Science from Kansas State University and Master’s degree in Russian and Eurasian studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS. Reach’s research focuses on security and Russian military issues. Previously he has served for nine years as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Navy and in various positions at the Department of Defence. Reach’s latest publications include (Radin, Andrew & Reach, Clint 2017) Russian views of the international order, RAND and (Radin, Andrew, et al. 2019) The Future of the Russian Military: Russia’s Ground Combat Capabilities and Implications for U.S.-Russia Competition, Santa Monica CA, RAND.

Rod Thornton, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at King’s College London and he also teaches at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. Previously Thornton served in the British Army for nine years in an infantry regiment and later as an interpreter. His research focuses on international security issues, developments in the Russian military and Russian security structures. Thornton’s latest publications include: (Thornton, Rod & Miron, Marina, 2019), “Deterring Russian cyber warfare: the practical, legal and ethical constraints faced by the United Kingdom” in Journal of Cyber Policy 4(2) and “Countering Prompt Global Strike: The Russian Military Presence in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean and Its Strategic Deterrence Role” in The Journal of Slavic Military Studies 2019 32(1).

Maija Turunen, a PhD Student at the Finnish National Defense University. Her research interests include cyber warfare, Russia and strategic communication.