Mission Statement

We are retired Admirals, Generals, Ambassadors and Senior Government Executives committed to strengthening America’s National Security by informing the debate, influencing decision-makers, and educating the public.

We believe protecting our vital national interests requires strong American global leadership.  We support military might, a strong diplomatic service, and a robust inter-agency capability.  We recognize the complexities of balancing competing views on the US role in the world and addressing threats both at home and abroad.

We are dedicated to inspiring the public and policymakers alike.  We promote enduring, non-partisan “Whole of Government” and “Whole of Society” solutions to critical national security issues.  We believe that a group with our professional experience provides insights that the public and decision-makers need.



Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, USN (ret)

Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, USN (ret)

Jamie Barnett's Bio

James Arden “Jamie” Barnett, Jr. is a retired Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, serving for 32 years as a Surface Warfare Officer. He is one of the founders of the American College of National Security Leaders. His final assignment in the Navy was Deputy Commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. NECC consisted of approximately 40,000 specially trained Sailors such as the Seabees, Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel, Coastal Warfare and Riverine units, with approximately 8,000 of these Sailors deployed to combat zones. His previous flag assignment was Director of Naval Education and Training in the Pentagon.

Upon retiring from the Navy, Rear Admiral Barnett was named as the Chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. He was responsible for overseeing FCC activities pertaining to public safety, homeland security, emergency management and disaster preparedness. Under his leadership, the Bureau proposed major initiatives for Next Generation 9-1-1. He worked actively on a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network for first responders, including a rulemaking that designated the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology for that network. He established the Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division in his bureau and led the Commission’s team in developing policy to fight botnets and improve the security of Internet routing and the Domain Name System. He proposed and helped conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

Rear Admiral Barnett is currently a partner in a major law firm in Washington, D.C. where he is the Chair of the Telecommunications group. In 2015, he was named as a Top Lawyer in DC for cybersecurity by the Washingtonian magazine. He has written pieces for or been interviewed by The Washington Post, Newsweek, Roll Call, The Hill, Politico Pro, Communications Daily, The Washington Examiner, FedScoop, TR Daily, CIO Magazine, New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Network World, National Defense Week, Stars and Stripes and Law360 and has been interviewed on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg News as well as local Washington, DC stations.

Rear Admiral Michael E. Smith, USN (ret)

Rear Admiral Michael E. Smith, USN (ret)

Michael E. Smith's Bio

Mike Smith has over twenty years of senior executive experience building successful teams, managing transformational change and leading a range of highly technical and diverse organizations. He is a recognized expert at assessing organizational effectiveness and providing strategic solutions that yield both immediate and sustained long-term results. Mike dedicated his career to identifying innovative and logical solutions to previously insurmountable challenges.

Admiral Smith was recognized as one of the Navy’s premier strategists and served in its headquarters as the Division Director responsible for developing and implementing Navy Strategy and Policy. He was a key advisor and direct report to Admiral Mike Mullen, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior military advisor to the President. He similarly advised Admiral Bob Willard who, as Commander of the Pacific Command, was responsible for leading the nation’s strategic approach to Asia and the Pacific. Both of these positions solidified Mike’s appreciation for the value of whole of government and whole of society solutions to our most complex national security issues.

With an Ocean Engineering degree and a Masters in National Security Affairs, Mike spent 32 years in the U.S. Navy successfully planning, executing and leading strategic change.

He served in a range of operational commands including commanding one of the Navy’s newest destroyers and later a squadron of destroyers. Finally, he was the Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three where he was responsible for an annual operational budget of over $800M and the operations of over 8,000 personnel, 10 ships, and 70 aircraft.

Admiral Smith capped his navy career as the independent authority responsible to Congress for evaluating the material effectiveness of every ship and submarine in the Navy, including those under construction. Mike provided Congress and Naval leadership independent due diligence and developed innovative, cost-effective recommendations that addressed long-standing operational and organizational deficiencies. Prior to assuming his current position as President of the American College of National Security Leaders, he excelled at developing new business in transformational areas of human performance and personalized medicine.

Rear Admiral Dave Oliver, USN (ret)

Rear Admiral Dave Oliver, USN (ret)

Dave Oliver's Bio

Dave’s diverse career has included extensive experience in the defense sector from the perspective of the military, where he served thirty-two years, and reached the rank of Rear Admiral,: industry, where he became the Chief Operating Officer of what has subsequently become Airbus, North America; and government where he served as a senate-confirmed political appointee.

Before entering industry, Dave graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served during the Cold War aboard submarines located in several locations including Mare Island and San Diego. While in San Diego his wife graduated from law school and passed the California Bar.

Dave then operated the Allied submarines against the Soviet Union as the Commander of Submarine Group Seven in Yokosuka, Japan followed by duty as Chief of Staff of the Seventh Fleet. Following selection for the rank of admiral he became responsible for plans and policy in the Pentagon and then for training the attack submarines on the West Coast as Commander, Submarine Group Five in San Diego. He returned to the Pentagon to become responsible for the Navy Program (budget) during the four transition years following the Cold War. He served as the Principal Deputy, Acquisition, Research and Logistics before retiring in 1995.

Dave’s active duty decorations include the Defense and Navy Distinguished Service Medals as well as six awards of the Legion of Merit.

After working as an executive at Westinghouse and Northrop Grumman, Dave was appointed by President Clinton as Principal Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, the fifth senior person in the Defense Department. Subsequently, after

Dave left government and ran his own business for two years, President Bush appointed him as the Director of Management and Budget for the

Coalition Forces in Iraq as well as the and special advisor for the Iraqi Finance Minister.

When he returned from Iraq, Dave worked to increase international ties, serving as the Chief Operating Officer of much of the United States organization of Airbus.

His public service awards include the Bronze Palm (2nd award) to the Department of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service as well as the Army and the Navy Public Service Awards.

Dave is the published author of Making it in Washington, as well as two leadership books, Lead On, and Against the Tide, the story of Admiral Rickover’s establishment of culture change in the Navy. He has also written his wife’s biography, “Wide Blue Ribbon.” Dave and his wife, Linda, live in Trinidad, California

Rear Admiral Jan Hamby, USN (ret)

Rear Admiral Jan Hamby, USN (ret)

Janice M. “Jan” Hamby's Bio
During her Navy career, RADM (Ret) Hamby focused on the employment of telecommunications, space and computer systems to make information available for command and control of the Force and to enhance decision making at all levels of the chain of command. Her service included two command tours, positions on the Navy, NORAD/USNORTHCOM, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Staffs, and operational assignments in aircraft carriers, directing the Navy’s offensive and defensive cyber forces, and Baghdad, Iraq. She served as senior officer and community leader for the Navy’s Information Professional officer corps. Her highest military award is the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. She holds master’s degrees in the Management of Information Systems, Business Administration and National Security and Strategic Studies and is completing a Doctor of Management degree. Following her active duty career she served as Chancellor, National Defense University College of Information and Cyberspace. She is a recognized expert on the implications of cyberspace for operations and policy, diversity and leadership. She serves as an independent director on several public and not-for-profit Boards of Directors.


Board Members

Rear Admiral Mike Smith, USN (ret)


Major General(ret) Donna Barbish, USA

Legal Counsel:

Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, USN (ret)

Executive Committee Chair:

Rear Admiral David Oliver, USN (ret)
Finance Committee Chair:

Major General (ret) Peter Cooke, USA

Membership Committee Chair:

Major General (ret) Mari K Eder, USA

Directors :

Brigadier General John Douglas, USAF (ret)

Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, USMC (ret)

Ambassador Richard Holwill (ret)

Ambassador Patrick Kennedy (ret)
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Inaugural Members
Brigadier General Ricardo Aponte, USAF (ret)

Major General (ret) Donna Barbish, USA

Major General (ret) David Burford, USA

Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, USMC (ret)

Rear Admiral Chris Cole, USN (ret)

Major General (ret) Peter Cooke, USA

Lieutenant General Walter Gaskin, USMC (ret)

Vice Admiral Kevin Green, USN (ret)

Major General Richard Haddad, USAF (ret)

Major General (ret) Richard Harding, USA
Ambassador Richard Holwill (ret)

Brigadier General (ret) David Irvine, USA

Lieutenant General Arlen Jameson, USAF (ret)

Ambassador Patrick Kennedy (ret)

Brigadier General Carlos Martinez, USAF (ret)

Major General (ret) Galle Pollock, CRNA, FACHE, FAA, USA

Ambassador Francis Ricciardone (ret)

Lieutenant General Willie Williams, USMC (ret)

Major General (ret) Margaret Wilmoth, PhD, MSS, RN, FAAN, USA
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