Speakers of the “Vilnius Security Forum 2020”

Dr. Hans Binnendijk

Dr. Hans Binnendijk is currently a Senior Fellow at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations and at the RAND Corporation. Dr. Binnendijk is the author or co-author of more than 200 articles, editorials and published reports.  Dr Binnendijk has received three Distinguished Public Service Awards and a Superior Service Award for his service in the Executive Branch. Dr. Binnendijk has championed many NATO reform efforts including NATO Enlargement, creation of the NATO Response Force, development of NATO’s Comprehensive Approach, deployment of NATO Battle Groups in the Baltic States, and a new NATO readiness initiative. Dr. Binnendijk is a 1968 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was alumni class vice president. He received his M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. (orals with distinction) in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Dr. Michael Carpenter

Dr. Michael Carpenter is Senior Director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.  He also serves on the Jamestown Foundation board of directors. Dr. Carpenter previously served in the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control.  He also served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden as well as on the National Security Council as Director for Russia.  Previously, Dr. Carpenter was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.

Lieutenant General (Retired) Frederick Benjamin Hodges

Lieutenant General (Retired) Frederick Benjamin Hodges holds the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). He graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry. After his first assignment as an Infantry Lieutenant in Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion and Brigade levels as the 101st Airborne Division and in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  He also served in an operational assignment as Director of Operations, Regional Command South, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Lieutenant General (Retired) Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions and Commander, NATO Allied Land Command.  His last Military assignment was as Commander, United States Army Europe from 2014 to 2017.

Brigade General Rainer Meyer Zum Felde 

Senior Fellow at the Institute for Security Policy Kiel University (ISPK). From July 2013 to September 2017, he was the Senior Defence Advisor at the Permanent Delegation of Germany to NATO in Brussels and the German Representative in NATO’s Defence Policy and Planning Committee. Prior to this, he served for two years as Vice President of the Federal Academy for Security Studies in Berlin. He worked in various national assignments related to security policy in the Ministry of Defence, including twice on the Minister’s Policy Planning and Advisory Staff (1996–98; 2006–09) and in the Politico-Military Department (1989–1991).

Dr. Timo Hellenberg

Dr. Timo Hellenberg is a CEO of Hellenberg International Ltd. He is internationally well acknowledged security expert and government advocate. He has served as a Special Adviser (EU Affairs) to the Prime Minister of Finland and adviced several governmental agencies in Europe, the United States, Russia and the South-East Asia. He has had a two decades academic record within International Relations and Political Science at the University of Helsinki and the University of Tampere. Board member of the Paasikivi Society, Member of the Finnish-Russian Scientific and Technical Committee, Member of the European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF), Chairman of the CIVPRO Civil Protection Network.

Lieutenant general (ret.) Heinrich Brauss

Lieutenant general (ret.) Heinrich BRAUSS was NATO Secretary General for Defense Policy and Force Planning from October 2013 to July 2018. In this role, he was also Division Chief of the Defense Policy and Planning Division of the International Staff of NATO and Chairman of the Defense Policy and Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Council. He was thus in charge of NATO’s defense and strategic focus on the fundamentally changed security landscape since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defense capability.

Lieutenant General (ret.) Arvydas Pocius

Lieutenant General (ret.) Arvydas Pocius was Chief of Defence of Lithuania from 2009 to 2014. Former Ambassador of Lithuania to Romania (2014-2019), LTG (ret.) Pocius, during his career, also served as Commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff of the Joint Education and Training Sub-Division at the NATO HQ Allied Command Transformation, Commander of the Military Region East, as well as Commander of National Defense Volunteer Forces, among other positions.



Dr. Margarita Šešelgytė

Assoc. dr. Margarita Šešelgytė is Director of Institute of International Relations and Political Science (IIRPS). Before that, Dr. Margarita Šešelgytė worked as Deputy Director of Studies at Vilnius University IIRPS, Baltic Defense College (Tartu, Estonia) and Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. In 2007 Margarita Šešelgytė defended her dissertation on the common EU defense identity at the IIRPS.

Dr. Brendan Flynn

Dr. Brendan Flynn is member of the School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway. He is author of “The Blame Game: Rethinking Ireland’s Sustainable Development and Environmental Performance”; one of his most recent articles is titled “PESCO and the Challenges of Multilateral Defence Cooperation for Ireland: More of the Same or Sea Change?” Dr. Flynn teaches, among other courses, the course “Ocean and Marine Politics”. His research interests include comparative environmental policy, European policy developments, and, last but not least, marine security, including the Baltic Sea.


Mr. Zbigniew Pisarski

Adviser to the President of the Republic of Poland on the Strategic Review Of National Security. Expert of the Council of Europe with regards to NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. Mr. Pisarski is the Founder and President of the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, and is also a political scientist, international affairs commentator, and civic entrepreneur. Advisor to the President of the Republic of Poland on the Strategic Review Of National Security. Expert of the Council of Europe with regards to NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. Graduate of the University of Vienna, he also studied at Harvard University and Georgetown University. He is finishing his doctorate in Economics at Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) and writing his dissertation on the perspective of American foreign policy in the area of democracy promotion in the former Soviet Union states. Commentator of Polsat News in the programme of “To był dzień na świecie”. Blog author on the website www.pisarski.pl. Commented for: TVN, TVN 24, TVN CNBC BIZNES, Polsat, Polsat News, TVP1, TVP3, Superstacja, “Rzeczpospolita”, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, “Daily”, “Policy”, “Newsweek”, “Warsaw Business Journal”, AFP, “El Pais”, Polish radio RMF FM, Radio Zet, amongst others. Fluent in English and Russian.



H.E.  Ambassador Tacan Ildem

Ambassador Tacan Ildem is a senior Turkish diplomat. Since the start of his career in 1978, he has held positions involving multilateral and bilateral affairs. Ambassador Ildem served as Permanent Representative of Turkey to the OSCE in Vienna from 2011 until 2016. Previously Ambassador Ildem was Director General for International Security Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Ankara (2009-2011), Turkey’s Permanent Representative to NATO (2006-2009) and Ambassador of Turkey to the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2003-2006). His earlier assignments include Chief of Cabinet and Principal Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of the Republic of Turkey (2000-2003) when he also acted as the Presidential Spokesperson; Special Advisor to the Undersecretary of the MFA; Head of the NATO and Western European Union Department; Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Turkish Embassy in Athens; Head of the NATO Military Affairs Department at the MFA; Political Counsellor and Spokesperson at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C.; and First Secretary at the Permanent Mission to NATO as well as at the Turkish Embassy in New Delhi. Ambassador Tacan Ildem was appointed as NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy in March 2016.


Mr. Kasper Kivisoo 

In an Deputy Director, working on research and strategic analysis at Hybrid Center of Excellence. Prior to this, he served as a Adviser at Estonia‘s Government Office and was chairman of the Countering Hybrid Threats Working Group.

Mr. Tomasz Szatkowski 

Is a Polish politician and political scientist, since 2019 serving as an ambassador to NATO. Specialist on national security domain, in particular defence and armaments policy. He has been helding senior positions in the Polish state, defence industry, public media and the European Parliament. Between 2006 and 2008 he was member of the board of supervisors of Bumar-Labedy, in 2007 he became deputy president of the company. He was chief of the cabinet of deputy prime minister Przemysław Gosiewski and advisor to Zbigniew Wasserman. In 2009 he was acting general director of Telewizja Polska (TVP). From 2009 to 2012 he worked as advisor on defense policy at the European Parliament. He was also member of the board of supervisors of TVP (2009–2011). He was also presiding the National Centre for Strategic Studies think tank. In 2015 he was invitited by the president Andrzej Duda to the National Development Council – Security, Defense, Foreign Policy Section. Between 17 November 2015 and 18 July 2019 he was the deputy minister of national defence, responsible for international affairs, organization of the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, Strategic Defence Review, and negotiations with the Americans on increasing their military presence in Poland

Prof. Dr. Hubert Królikowski

Prof. Dr. Hubert Królikowski is Director of the Department for Analysis of Administration’s Defence Preparations in the Chancellery of the Polish Prime Minister. He is Polish military historian, Professor of social sciences. In his scientific work, Prof. Królikowski deals with issues such as national strategy and security, special forces, irregular and unconventional aspects of armed conflicts, history of war, and military. He lectures at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. In the past, he worked at the Ministries of Economy and National Defence, as well as at the National Security Bureau


Mr. Nicola de Santis Is a head of NATO Public Diplomacy Division‘s Engagements Section, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Previously he was Head of Middle East and North Africa Countries Section in NATO’s Political Affairs and Security Policy Division.

Mr. Giedrimas Jeglinskas

Mr. Giedrimas Jeglinskas is the Assistant Secretary General for Executive Management. He has overall responsibility for management of the NATO headquarters, and is the Secretary General’s primary advisor for NATO-wide management issues. Before assuming his current post, Mr. Jeglinskas served as the Vice-Minister of Defense of Lithuania in 2017. From 2010 to 2017, Mr. Jeglinskas worked as Vice President in Corporate Banking at Citigroup, most recently in Warsaw. His earlier roles at Citigroup included capital markets origination and corporate finance in New York, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney, Australia. A former Lithuanian Army officer, Mr. Jeglinskas served as a platoon commander and as a senior intelligence analyst in the Ministry of National Defense. Mr. Jeglinskas graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a BSc in Political Science and Computer Science. He holds an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC and an MBA in Strategy and Finance from Columbia Business School in New York.

Dr. Asta Maskaliūnaitė

Dr Asta Maskaliūnaitė is director of Department of Political and Strategic Studies at the Baltic Defence College, a military education institution of the three Baltic countries. She holds MA and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary and BA in Political Science and International relations from Vilnius University.

Mr. Ramon Loik

Mr. Ramon Loik is a Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) in Estonia. Former Advisor to the Estonian Minister of the Interior, he has also worked as an Adviser to the Estonian Minister of Defence, and served as a Vice-Rector at the Estonian Academy of Security Studies. Mr. Loik has lectured at this same Estonian Academy, Tallinn University of Technology, and the University of Tartu. His main field of research covers security policy and integration in the EU, especially transnational internal security and law enforcement cooperation.

Colonel Valdas Šiaučiulis

Col. Valdas Šiaučiulis is Senior Advisor at Defence Material Agency under Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania. Prior this position Col. Valdas Šiaučiulis was Defence Attaché to United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Netherlands and Portugal. During his career Col. Valdas Šiaučiulis had various positions at Ministry of Defence including Director General for Capabilities and Armaments and also Director of Armaments and C2 Department. At the beginning of his career Col. Valdas Šiaučiulis got position as Lithuanian Senior Liaison Officer at SHAPE and WEU PC. In 1998-2004 he was appointed as Chief of NATO and Cooperation Plans Division (J5) at Lithuanian Defence Staff.  From 2004 to 2008 Col. Valdas Šiaučiulis studied at Baltic Defence College and also was appointed later on to the Directing Staff for Defence Planning.  After studies in Baltic Defence College he was Commander of Forward Support Battalion “Iron Wolf” from 2008 to 2010.

Colonel Dainius Pašvenskas

Colonel Dainius Pašvenskas is Commander of the Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Force. During his career of thirty years in the Lithuanian Armed Forces, COL Pašvenskas has studied in the USA, served as Advisor to the Commander of the Armed Forces, as well as Commander of Grand Duke Kęstutis Motorised Infantry Battalion.

Colonel Juozas Kačergius

Colonel Juozas Kačergius is a Chief of the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. Mr. Kačergius was head of the Second Department of Operational Services under the Ministry of National Defense, later served as Defense Attaché in the United States, served as the Inspector General of the Ministry of National Defense before his appointment. He was also a defense adviser to President Adamkus.

Colonel Romualdas Petkevičius

Col. R. Petkevičius graduated from military academy in Riga, Latvia in 1990 with degree in engineering. He joined Lithuania Air force in 1992 and held various positions from chief engineer at First Airbase. In 2000 Col. Petkevičius was appointed as Director of NATO department in the Ministry of National Defense of Lithuania. Later in his carrier col. Petekvičius was appointed to the position of Defense, Military, Air and Naval Attaché to the United States and Canada. Next col. R. Petkevičius served as National Military Representative (NMR) of Lithuania to Supreme headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Before his latest assignment as Director of NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence (NATO ENSEC COE) col. R. Petkevičius held position of National Liaison Officer to NATO HQ SACT.

Lieutenant Colonel Aivars Krjukovs

Lieutenant Colonel Aivars Krjukovs is Commander of the 1st Riga Brigade, Latvian National Guard. Before his current assignment, he was a Vice-Rector at the National Defence Academy of Latvia. In the past, LTN COL Krjukovs served as Commander of the Air Defence Battalion, Executive Officer at the Light Infantry Battalion, as well as Chief of NCO Training Division at the NCO School. He has been deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. LTN COL Krjukovs has studied at the Command General Staff College at the Fort Leavenworth (USA).

Colonel Jyri Raitasalo

Colonel Jyri Raitasalo is Military Advisor to Finland’s Minister of Defence. He holds the title of Docent of Strategy and Security Policy at the Finnish National Defence University. During his latest assignments, COL Raitasalo has served as Military Professor of War Studies at the Finnish National Defence University, Senior Staff Officer at the Defence Ministry, as well as Commanding Officer of Helsinki Air Defence Regiment. COL Raitasalo has published several academic monographs and articles, focusing mainly on Western security and defence policy in the post-Cold War era, and the changing character of war.

Mr. Linas Kojala

Linas Kojala was named Director of Eastern Europe Studies Centre in 2016. He was also a Fulbright Fellow at Davis Center, Harvard University (2017-2018), where he continues to work as a non-resident expert. L. Kojala is also a columnist and a regular political commentator at Lithuanian TV and radio, as well as international outlets (contributions to Moscow Times, CNN and others). Linas Kojala is also a PhD student at International Relations and Political Science Institute, Vilnius University. His research interests include foreign affairs, foregn relations of Russia and United States of America, European integration, security and NATO studies, information security. His book on Lithuania’s accession to the European Union and current security challenges of Europe was among top-selling books in Lithuania in 2019. In 2019, he was voted third most influential Lithuanian public figure in a poll by a national media outlet DELFI.

Brigadier General Veiko- Vello Palm

Brigadier General Veiko-Vello Palm is Chief of Staff of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF). He has held various positions in Estonia, including those of Director of the Operations Department of the EDF Headquarters and of Commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade in Tapa. The Brigadier General has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and was heavily involved in the organization of hosting NATO units, currently stationed in Estonia.

Colonel (ret.) Dr. Robert E. Hamilton

Colonel (ret.) Dr. Robert E. Hamilton currently works as Assoc. Professor of Eurasian Studies at the US Army War College and a Black Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. During his career of thirty years in the US Army, COL Hamilton  served as a Eurasian Foreign Area Officer, served in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Germany, Belarus, Qatar, Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia, Pakistan, and Kuwait. He is author of numerous articles, monographs on conflict and security issues, focusing mostly on the former Soviet Union territories and the Balkans.

Mr. Vitālijs Rakstiņš

Mr. Vitālijs Rakstiņš is Head of Crisis Management, Ministry of Defence of Latvia, with significant experience in homeland security and resilience. He holds a Master’s degree in Law (LL.M) and is responsible for contingency planning, comprehensive defence, cyber security and resilience / business continuity planning,  incl. planning and execution of resilience exercises for Senior Officials, industry and NGOs. During 2012–2015 Mr. Rakstiņš served at NATO, where he was dealing with resilience, operations, and civil emergency planning. One of ad hoc experts team to develop 7 NATO Resilience Guidelines.

Prof. Dr. Jūratė Novagrockienė

Prof. Dr. Jūratė Novagrockienė is a Senior Researcher at the Research Center, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania (MAL). She deals with sociological research of the Lithuanian Army since 2002. Previously, she served as Vice-Rector of the MAL and Chief of the Department of Political Science, MAL. Prof. Novagrockienė is also an expert of party politics in Lithuania.

Prof. Ainė Ramonaitė

Prof. Ainė Ramonaitė is a Professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University. Her research areas include party politics, electoral behaviour, political attitudes, civil society, and social networks. Prof. Ramonaitė has published a number of books and edited volumes on informal networks in Soviet Lithuania and the national liberation movement, the development of the Lithuanian party system, as well as the Lithuanian voter.

Dr. Nortautas Statkus

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nortautas STATKUS is Director of the Research Centre, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. Before that, he served for many years at the State Security Department of Lithuania. Dr. Statkus’ areas of expertise and academic interests include geopolitics, nationalism, ethnic conflicts, and conflict regulation. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications on these subjects, notably, the study titled “Identity Policy for Ethnic Conflict Regulation” (2018), and has been (co-)leader of international and national scientific projects.

Dr. Giedrius Česnakas

Dr. Giedrius Česnakas is an Associate Professor of Political Science at General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. He is part of the management team responsible  for planning the Academy’s studies and research. His professional experience include but is not limited to lecturing at  Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), as well as serving at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. Dr. Česnakas’ fields of expertise and academic interest cover international relations, security, Lithuania’s foreign and security policy, as well as Russia’s domestic and foreign politics. He is author and co-author of numerous publications, one of the latest being “Russia’s Soft Power as a Limited Efficiency Tool in Lithuania” (2019).

Mr.Liudas Zdanavičius

Mr. Liudas Zdanavičius is a researcher at the Research Centre, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. In the past, he worked as a Research Fellow at the Center for Security and Strategic Research under Latvia’s National Defence Academy. Mr. Zdanavičius is a prolific contributor and commentator on issues pertaining to national defence and security, as well as foreign policy.

Colonel (ret.) Virginijus Vilkelis

Colonel (ret.) Virginijus Vilkelis is Director of the Mobilisation and Civil Resistance Department under the Ministry of National Defence of Lituania. Previously, he held positions as Military Attache and worked with issues of military intelligence. COL Vilkelis has been part of the national defence system since 1990.

Dr. Rytis Rainys

Dr. Rytis Rainys holds the position of Director of the National Cyber Security Centre, Lithuania. Under his leadership, a unique cyber R&D unit has been established. Before his current assignment, Dr. Rainys was Head at the Internet Engineering Division of Kazimieras Simonavičius University, as well as Director of the Network and Information Security Department under the Communications Regulatory Authority. His achievements include the establishment of incidents response teams (national CERT-LT), and Hotline under the EU Safer Internet project for the fight with illegal content on internet.

Dr. Martin Ehl

Reporter of Czech economic daily “Hospodářské noviny” since 2001; since January of 2006 till June 2018 Chief International Editor, now Chief Analyst. Previously working in various Czech written media since 1992. Since April of 2011 his regular column on Central Europe appears at English language internet magazine Transitions Online (www.tol.cz), for this column awarded „Writing for Central Europe“ prize in Austria in 2012. Co-editor of Visegrad Insight magazine (visegradinsight.eu). Cooperating with public Czech TV and public Czech radio. Articles published also in Austrian, Serbian, Slovak and Polish press. Area of expertise: Central Europe, economic and business development in Central Europe, security policy, transatlantic relations, Balkans. Before that writing also on globalization, Latin America and Spain. In 1999 research fellow at Institute of international relations, Prague; 2001-2006 lecturer at University of West Bohemia Pilsen teaching „Global issues and problems“; 2009 – 2011 lecturer at Metropolitan university Prague, teaching „Central and Eastern European Political Systems“. Ph.D. at Charles University, Prague, in political science (Globalization and political culture). Author of e-book (in English) of columns „Middle Europa“ (TOL, Prague 2013), book (in Czech) „The Third Decade. On life, politics and people between Brussels and Gazprom“ (65.pole, Prague 2010). Also author of book „Globalization: pro and contra“ (Academia, Prague 2001), co-author of two textbooks on political system of South Eastern Europe and globalization and development.

Mr. Martin Svarovsky

Mr. Martin Svárovský is the Head of the Security Strategies Program and Senior Fellow at the European Values Centre for Security Policy (since 2019). Before he served 19 years at the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs including as the Deputy Director of the Central European Department and the Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Czech Embassies to Budapest and to Warsaw. He is author of the concept of the Czech-Polish Forum and of the mechanisms of commissioning analyses for the MFA (“operative analyses scheme“). Mr. Svarovsky regularly publishes articles on Security policy, Trans-Atlantic relations and the Czech Foreign Policy.

Dr. Bastian Giegerich 

Dr Bastian Giegerich is the Director of Defence and Military Analysis at The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Bastian leads the research team that produces the IISS annual flagship publication The Military Balance, oversees the development of the Military Balance+ online database, and contributes to research and consultancy work for government and the private sector. From 2010–15 Bastian worked for the German Federal Ministry of Defence in research and policy roles, while also serving as the IISS Consulting Senior Fellow for European Security. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Mr. Dainius Gaižauskas

Mr. Dainius Gaižauskas is a commissioner of criminal police. 2016 In the single-member constituency he was elected to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. In 1996 he graduated the Lithuanian Police Academy (Officer of the Interior), 1999 – Lithuanian Law Academy (lawyer). From 2004 to 2005 He was a Chief Commander of the Lithuanian Police Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo where worked for the Pristina Region Serious Crime Investigation Unit THOR and later headed this unit. In 2007 he obtained a certification as an  instructor in police missions for international missions. 2011-2012 – Member of the National Council of Official Trade Unions, Deputy Chairman of the Lithuanian Police Trade Union, Representative of the Lithuanian Police Trade Union in Marijampolė County.


Mr. Vytis Kopustinskas

Mr. Vytis Kopustinskas is Scientific officer at European Commission, Joint Research Centre, prior that position Mr. Kopustinskas was senior researcher at Lithuanian Energy institute and lector at Vytautas Magnus University (2004-2007). He has a PhD (2001) in mathematics, Applied System reliability and risk analysis.

Mr. Tomas Jermalavicius

Mr. Tomas Jermalavicius is Head of Studies and Research Fellow at International Centre for Defence and Security (Estonia). 2008, Tomas worked at the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL), first as deputy director of the College’s Institute of Defence Studies in 2001-2004, and later as dean of the college in 2005-2008. In the latter capacity, he was also the editor of the journal ‘Baltic Security and Defence Review’. In 1998-2001 and in 2005, Tomas worked at the Defence Policy and Planning Department of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence, including the position of the department’s deputy director. Mr.  Jermalavicius focuses on the issues pertaining to science, technology and innovation, defence industry, security and defence governance and management (especially civil-military relations, whole-of-government approach and organisational culture), foresight and resilience. Articles written or co-authored by him appeared in Defence Studies, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review, Austrian Security Strategic Review, Estonian Foreign Policy Yearbook, RUSI Whitehall Papers and Riga Conference Papers as well as in the publications of John Hopkins University, Joint Special Operations University, American Academy in Berlin, Latvian Institute of International Affairs, ARES-Armament Industry European Research Group and NATO Science and Technology Organisation (STO). Since 2017, he also has been a visiting professor at the Natolin Campus of the College of Europe in Warsaw, teaching a course on terrorism and hybrid warfare to post-graduate students. Tomas holds a BA in political science from the University of Vilnius, an MA in war studies from King’s College London and an MBA degree from the University of Liverpool.


Colonel (ret.) Ray Wojcik

Colonel (ret.) Ray Wojcik is the Director, Center for European Policy Analysis, Warsaw. During his 32 years of service in the U.S. Army, Colonel (ret.) Ray Wojcik, served as a soldier, non-commissioned officer, and officer in a variety of tactical to strategic assignments. Upon completing his degree at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, he was commissioned as an infantry officer. Colonel (Ret.) Wojcik served in numerous Command, Staff, Army, Joint and Foreign Area Officer assignments in Europe and the United States culminating in his final tour as Army Attaché, American Embassy, Warsaw. His significant strategic contributions center on enhancing U.S. and regional security, through assisting allies and partners to increase their defense capacities, capabilities and interoperability.

Lieutenant Colonel Gintaras Koryzna

Lieutenant Colonel Gintaras Koryzna is Commander of the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union. In the past, LTN COL Koryzna took part in military operations in Afghanistan, served as  Commander of Vytautas the Great Jaeger Battalion, as well as lectured at the Baltic Defence College (Estonia).

Mr. Saulius Gasiūnas

Mr. Saulius Gasiūnas is Director of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Department of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, responsible for managing the day-to-day defense relationship between the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, NATO, the EU and the nations of Europe as well the United States and Canada. Saulius Gasiūnas was a Defense Advisor to the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Lithuania to NATO, Brussels, Belgium. Saulius Gasiūnas joined the Permanent Lithuanian Delegation in NATO after a distinguished career at the Ministry of Defense. In the 1990s, He was the Desk officer in International relations Department, Head of NATO section, Advisor to Lithuanian Military Representative to NATO at NATO HQ Brussels (2000-2003) Director of European and NATO affairs Policy (2003-20010). Mr. Saulius Gasiūnas earned a B.A. and an M.A. from the Vilnius University. Completed the studies in Geneva center for Security policy and The Royal College of Defense Studies in London UK.

Dr. Tomas Janeliūnas

Dr. Tomas Janeliunas is professor at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University since 2015, teaching post-graduate courses in strategic studies, national security and foreign policy of Lithuania as well as foreign policy of great powers. Since 2013, he has also served as a head of Department of International Relations at the IIRPS. Starting from 2009, he is also the Editor-in-Chief of the main Lithuanian academic quarterly in Political Science and International Relations, Politologija (Political Science). In 2007-2014, he also was the Editor-in-Chief of another academic journal, Lithuanian Foreign Policy Review.

Mr. Jean-Pierre Maulny

Mr. Jean-Pierre Maulny is Deputy Director of the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS). He holds a Master’s degree in Defence Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Law. Jean-Pierre Maulny was an auditor for the 31st session of the Centre for Higher Military Studies (CHEAr), and he was advisor to the chairman of the French National Assembly’s Defence and Armed Forces Committee between 1997 and 2002.Within IRIS, Jean-Pierre Maulny is in charge of studies about defence, European defence and NATO, arms industry and arms sales. He is at the head of the Armament Industry European Group (ARES Group), a network of European researchers specialised in the defence industry. Jean-Pierre Maulny is a member of the editorial board of the Revue Internationale et Stratégique. He gives lectures on the defence industry and on defence policy at IRIS Sup.

Mr. Raimundas Karoblis

Mr. Karoblis was inaugurated as the Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania in December 2016. Before taking office at the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Karoblis served as Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. During long diplomatic career which started in early 1990‘s Mr. Karoblis served in various departments of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was appointed as a representative to various International Organizations like WTO or EU. Mr. Karoblis holds a degree in law which he received in 1992 at Vilnius University. He is also decorated with two state awards for his service.

Mr. Michael Malm

Mr. Michael Malm is Senior Advisor at the Swedish Armed Forces Defence Staff, Department of Total Defence. Mr. Malm has previously worked at the Swedish Defence University on Security Policy and Strategic Crisis Management. Between 2013-2015 he served at the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia.

Mr. Olivier De France

Olivier de France is Research Director at The French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) in Paris, where he runs the European affairs programme. He works on the political and strategic shifts affecting the Old Continent, and on the ideas that underlie them. Prior to joining IRIS, he was an analyst with the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Educated at Cambridge University in the UK and Ecole Normale Supérieure in France, he was Lector at Homerton College, Cambridge and Fontenay Saint Cloud Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. He teaches political theory at Paris VII University, and European geopolitics at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Dr. Richard D. Hooker

Dr. Richard D. Hooker became the NDU Director for Research and Strategic Support and Director, Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) in September 2013. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, he served as Deputy Commandant and Dean of the NATO Defense College in Rome from 2010 to 2013. He also served with the Office of National Service, The White House under President George H.W. Bush, with the Arms Control and Defense Directorate, National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, and with the NSC Office for Iraq and Afghanistan in the administration of George W. Bush. While at the NSC he was a contributing author to The National Security Strategy of the United States. Dr. Hooker holds Ph.D. degree in International Relations from the University of Virginia. His publications have been used widely in staff and defense college curricula in the US, UK, Canada and Australia and include more than fifty articles and three books on  Security and defense-related topics. Prior to his retirement from active duty, Dr. Hooker served for 30 years in the United States Army as a parachute infantry officer in the United States and Europe. While on active duty he participated in military operations in Grenada, Somalia, Rwanda, the Sinai, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, including command of a parachute brigade in Baghdad from 2005 to 2006. His military service also included tours in the offices of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army.

Mr. Konstantin Eggert

Mr. Konstantin Eggert is an independent journalist, political analyst and communications consultant. He is a Baltic States correspondent and weekly columnist on Russian affairs for Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster. In 2016-2018 Konstantin Eggert was program host and political commentator for TV Rain, Russia’s groundbreaking independent TV channel. In 2010-2015 he worked for Kommersant, Russia’s oldest private media group. In 2009-2010 Mr. Eggert was Vice-President for Public and Government Affairs for ExxonMobil Russia Inc. In 1998-2009 Mr. Eggert was Senior Correspondent, then Editor-in-Chief of the BBC Russian Service Moscow bureau. His opinion pieces featured in the “International Herald Tribune”, “The Times,” “The Financial Times,” “Milliyet,” and “Helsingin Sanomaat.” Mr Eggert regularly appears on the BBC, CNN, NPR and other major TV and radio networks. Konstantin Eggert is a member of Chatham House – Royal  Institute of International Affairs (London). In 2008 Queen Elizabeth II appointed Konstantin Honorary Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Also in 2008 Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus awarded him Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Lithuania. In 1987 he was called up for a national army service. In 1990 he discharged with the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

Mr. Dakota Wood

Mr. Dakota Wood is Senior Research Fellow, Defence Programs, Centre for National Defence, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. Mr. Wood’s research and writing focus on programs, capabilities, operational concepts, and strategies of the U.S. Department of Defence and military services to assess their utility in ensuring the United States has the ability to protect and promote its critical national security interests. Mr. Wood originated and serves as the editor for Heritage’s “Index of U.S. Military Strength,” the only annual assessment available to the public of the status of America’s military and its ability to carry out its core functions. Mr. Wood retired from the U.S. Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2005. During his service as a Marine, he served with a variety of operational units and in various high-level staff assignments. He participated in the planning and execution of operations around the world to include Operation Enduring Freedom, when he served as a lead operational/logistics planner for U.S. Central Command during the initial operational response to the attacks of Sept  11, 2001, and then as a by-name request in late 2002 to augment and lead operational analysis and logistics planning and execution efforts in support of Marine Corps combat forces for the invasion phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom to depose Saddam Hussein. Mr. Wood graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in oceanography. He was named a distinguished graduate for his work in earning a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College. He was also recognized for meritorious distinction by the Marine Corps’ School of Advanced Warfighting

Prof. Dr. Mantas Bileišis

Prof. Dr. Mantas Bileišis is Vice-Rector for Studies and Research at General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. Former Head of the Management Department, he has also held professorship at Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania). Prof. Bileišis is author and co-author of various publications, one of the latest being “Lilliputians Divided: How Service Statutes Fragment Lithuanian Security Services” (2019), which focuses on Lithuania’s internal security development and arising challenges.


Major General Gintautas Zenkevičius

Major General Gintautas Zenkevičius is Chief of Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. In the past, the Major General served as Head of the Lithuanian Training and Doctrine Command, Chief Inspector at the Ministry of National Defense, Director of NATO Chiefs of Armed Forces (SHAPE), as well as Military Representative to NATO and the EU. MAJ GEN Zenkevičius also led the first shift of the Lithuanian-led Ghor Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor, Afghanistan.

Dr. Vaidotas Urbelis 

Vaidotas Urbelis, PhD, is currently Defence Adviser at  Lithuania’s Embassy in Washington DC. During his career, he has held different positions at the Ministry of Defence, worked as Defence Adviser at the Lithuanian delegation to NATO and the European Union, lectured at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University. Mr Urbelis is author of numerous publications on issues concerning defence and foreign policy.


Brigadier General Riho Ühtegi

Brigadier General Riho Ühtegi  is Commander of the Estonian Defence League. During his long-lasting military service, he has been Commander of the Estonian Special Forces, Chief of the Intelligence Department of the Estonian Defence Forces HQ and Land Forces, an Instructor at the Estonian Military Academy, and Commander of the Military Intelligence Battalion. Brg Gen Ühtegi has participated in foreign operations in Afghanistan and served as Military Attaché in Georgia. In addition to his official assignments, the Brigadier General trains national defence instructors at Tallinn University and contributes to the development of tactics of small units within the Defence League.


Mr. Vytautas Keršanskas 

Mr. Vytautas Keršanskas currently works as Deputy Director COI Influence at The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Finland). During his career, Mr. Keršanskas has lectured at Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), has worked as a Policy Analyst at the Eastern Europe Studies Centre, and has been a prolific commentator on security and foreign policy issues.

Colonel Kevin D. Stringer

Colonel Kevin D. Stringer, Ph.D., U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) is a Eurasian Foreign Area Officer specialized in unconventional warfare and special operations. COL Stringer has served in a wide variety of high-ranking military positions, with a geographical coverage extending far beyond Europe, reaching Israel and Jordan, as well as the African continent. A distinguished graduate of both the U.S. Army War College and U.S. Military Academy, COL Stringer earned a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. Author of the book Military Organizations for Homeland Defense and Smaller Scale Contingencies: A Comparative Approach (2006), COL Stringer has also published several special operations articles in various journals. He is actively involved in international academic life as a faculty member in the areas of irregular warfare, special operations, leadership, and strategy

Mr. Otto Tabuns

Mr. Otto Tabuns is the Founding Director of the Baltic Security Foundation. He is author of several publications on national and regional security, co-editor of two books, most recent of which is the “Baltic Security Strategy Report,” which deals with issues of regional military, societal, and economic security. Mr. Tabuns is the permanent co-host of the Latvia Weekly

Dr. Valdas Rakutis

Dr. Valdas Rakutis is Advisor to the Chief of Defence of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. His other professional activities include professorship at the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archeology, Klaipėda University (Lithuania), as well as directorship of Kaunas Fortress Park. In the past, Dr. Rakutis  held high-ranking positions at the Military Academy of Lithuania. He is author of the book titled “History of the Art of War: From Ancient Times Up to 1850s,” and has also co-authored   “Lithuania’s Castles and Fortresses,” as well as “Heritage of Kaunas’ Fortifications.”


Colonel (ret.) Dr. Zdzisław Śliwa

Colonel (ret.) Dr. Zdzisław Śliwa is Dean at the Baltic Defence College (Estonia). He holds a PhD in Military Science. COL Śliwa completed his military education in Poland, but also studied at the US Army Command and General Staff College, as well as the Centre of Strategic Studies of the People’s Liberation Army National Defence University in Beijing. COL Śliwa commanded units up to a battalion level, served as Chief of Operational Branch J3 and as Chief of Operational Planning Branch J5. His areas of expertise cover contemporary military operations, international relations, Central Asian security, and Indo-Pacific affairs.

Prof. Dr. Šarūnas Liekis

Prof. Dr. Šarūnas Liekis is Dean of the Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy at Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania). During his career, Prof. Liekis has lectured in various universities, both in Lithuania and abroad. His research interests cover but are not limited to history, political science, minorities, religion politics, ego-documentation. Prof. Liekis has also public-sector experience, as he served as an expert for the European Commission in the field of fighting racism and intolerance.


Mr. Jonas Ohman

Mr. Jonas Ohman is of Swedish origin. Since more than 10 years he is living in Lithuania. In the 1980-ies he served in the Swedish Airborne (recon and demolition specialist). He has spent over a decade in the Baltics, making documentaries, translating books and participating in public life. Since 2014 he is supporting Ukrainian Armed Forces in Donbas with his NGO Blue/Yellow. In 2018 he received Lithuanian citizenship from the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite. Jonas is still active in Ukraine, cooperating with a wide range of entities and individuals – military and civilian – in order to contribute to the security if Ukraine. For his services to Ukraine he has been decorated a dozen times, by military units, volunteer organizations and authorities, including the medal for participation as a volunteer in combat actions in ATO and – as only foreigner – the medal for the defences of Avdeevka. Jonas is fluent in five languages and speaks a few more fairly well.

Mr. Tore Jakobsen

Mr. Tore Jakobsen is Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Defence of Norway. His responsibilities include total defence and civil support for the Armed Forces. In the past, Mr. Jakobsen also served as an officer in the Norwegian Air Force (1977–1999) and Defence Policy Counsellor at the Norwegian Delegation to NATO HQ. He graduated from the Air Force Academy, Staff College, Norwegian Defence College, and NATO Defence College.

Mr. Jānis Sārts

Mr. Jānis Sārts is Director of NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, based in Riga, Latvia. In the past, Mr. Sārts, among other professional activities, headed the Defence Section of Latvia’s delegation to NATO and the EU, and, for seven years, assumed the responsibilities as State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Latvia. Before his current position, Mr. Sārts headed the Latvian Government’s efforts to increase its security and defence in cyberspace, serving as Chairman of the National Cyber Security Committee. He was appointed to his present-day position in 2015.