Mr. Yll Bajraktari is the Executive Director of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Prior to joining NSCAI, he served as Chief of Staff to the National Security Advisor LTG H.R. McMaster, held a variety of leadership roles for former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, and served as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey. Originally joining the Department of Defense in 2010, he served in the Office of the Undersecretary for Policy as a country director for Afghanistan, and later India. Mr. Bajraktari is the recipient of the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal – the highest award given to career DoD civilian employees.
Michael L. Gable is the Chief of Staff for NSCAI. Prior to standing up and joining NSCAI, he served as the Director of Operations and Designated Federal Officer for the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Board. In his 25+ year career in federal service, he has held leadership positions in all levels of the U.S. Government across multiple Departments and agencies, primarily as a civilian, but also as a former Air Force officer.
Angela Ponmakha is the Director of Operations and Designated Federal Officer for NSCAI. Among her many roles, she ensures the Commission is in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Prior to joining NSCAI as its third staff member, she served as the Chief of Staff for the Defense Innovation Unit. Over her 20+ year civilian career, Ms. Ponmakha has served in various government and private sector positions, leading organizational management and operations staff.
Michael Lueptow is the General Counsel for NSCAI. Prior to joining NSCAI, he served on staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs—including as Chief Counsel for Homeland Security—and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
Tara Rigler serves as the Director of Strategy, Communication and Engagement at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). Prior to joining NSCAI, Ms. Rigler was appointed to the Senior Executive Service and served as the Assistant Director for Communications for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in addition to many other positions during her 22 years of federal service.
Dr. Seth Center, Senior Advisor. Dr. Center has previously served at the National Security Council and U.S. Department of State.
Robert Nelson is a Senior Advisor at NSCAI. He has previously served in the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and on staff in the U.S. Senate.
Brandon McKee serves as a Director for Legislative Affairs at NSCAI, where he leads the Commission’s engagement as the primary liaison to Congress concerning the NSCAI’s work, reports, and recommendations. Prior to joining NSCAI, he served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor and the Special Projects Director for former U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14).
Jenilee Keefe Singer serves as a Director of Legislative Affairs for NSCAI. She is detailed to NSCAI from the Department of Commerce’s Office of the General Counsel. Jenilee previously held roles with DOC’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Research and Analysis
Courtney Barno is a Director for Research and Analysis for NSCAI focused on the application of AI for national security missions. Prior to joining NSCAI, Courtney was on the staff of the Defense Innovation Board and worked on software acquisition and development issues. She has also supported the U.S. Department of State in a number of positions focused on overseas security policy and operations.
Dr. Ryan Carpenter joined the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence in February 2020 and works on talent, recruitment, and education issues dealing with AI. Prior to coming to NSCAI, Dr. Carpenter worked in the Office of the Executive Secretary at the National Security Council. He also spent 7 years in the Department of Defense as a historian in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Matt Cordova serves on the NSCAI global AI cooperation team. His 25 years of public service include advisor to the 18th and 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and leadership roles at the State Department and Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Caroline Danauy is a Director of Research and Analysis at NSCAI. She is detailed to NSCAI from the Department of Commerce’s Office of the General Counsel, where she serves as a Senior Attorney for the Office of Administration and Transactions. At NSCAI, Caroline has focused on the line of effort dedicated to the responsible development and fielding of AI.
Raina Davis serves as a Director of Research and Analysis for NSCAI, exploring how the national security community can promote AI innovation. Previously, she worked as a research coordinator at Columbia University’s Global Center in Amman, Jordan. Raina holds a BA from Stanford University and MPP from Harvard Kennedy School.
Tess deBlanc-Knowles is a Director of Research and Analysis, leading NSCAI’s line of effort focused on maintaining U.S. leadership in AI research and development. Prior to joining NSCAI, she served as the Chief of Staff of the Atlantic Council and spent time at U.S. Special Operations Command.
Rama G. Elluru is a Director of Research and Analysis at NSCAI. She is detailed to NSCAI from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, where she serves as an Administrative Patent Judge. She has been practicing Intellectual Property law for 20 years. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science/Philosophy, J.D., and M.Sc. in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology.
Michael D. Garris is the Chief Technology Advisor for NSCAI. He is on detail from the National Institute of Standards and Technology where he has had a successful career for 34+ years working in areas of artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, and image processing. He has been privileged to lead and participate in various White House interagency groups now spanning 4 presidents, focusing on policy coordination and collaboration.
Matthew A. Gentzel is a Director of Research and Analysis at NSCAI, focusing on cybersecurity, techno-economic competition, and disinformation. Matt holds an M.A. in Strategic Studies from Johns Hopkins, and previously worked outside Government analyzing R&D, cyber attacks, and regulatory policy.
Chuck Howell supports the NSCAI Responsible AI and Ethics line of Effort. He is the Chief Scientist for Responsible AI use at the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit that operates federally funded research and development centers dedicated to solving problems for a safer world.
Lieutenant Colonel Mike Jackson is a Director of Research and Analysis for NSCAI. He is an active duty Army officer detailed from the Immediate Office of the Secretary of the Army. Prior to joining the commission, he served as a strategist for the Under Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Army.
Rebekah Kennel is a Director for Research and Analysis at the NSCAI with a focus on international cooperation. Ms. Kennel previously worked in Myanmar on security sector reform on behalf of the EU, and as Lead Consultant with the Asia Foundation and other INGOs in support of Myanmar’s ongoing peace process. She holds a MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University with a focus on China, the Indo-Pacific, and artificial intelligence and a BA in International Studies from the University of Washington in Seattle.
David J. Kumashiro serves as a Director for Research and Analysis, for NSCAI. Prior to joining NSCAI, he served as the Director of Joint Force Integration, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Integration and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force before retiring as a brigadier general with over 28 years of active duty service.
Lance C. Lantier serves as a Director of Research and Analysis for NSCAI. He is a career active duty Navy Captain detailed from the office of the Director, Navy Staff. Prior to joining the Commission, he served at the Office of Special Projects and at the Pentagon as the Information Warfare Branch Head in OPNAV N81.
Christie Lawrence is a Director for Research and Analysis working on international AI cooperation and intellectual property. Prior, she worked at Harvard Belfer Center’s Cyber Project, the State Department, and as a management consultant. She is a concurrent MPP/JD candidate at Harvard Kennedy School and Stanford Law School.
Paul Lekas is Director of Research and Analysis and Senior Legal and Strategy Advisor for NSCAI. Previously, he served as General Counsel of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service and as Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Defense after over a decade in private law practice. Mr. Lekas is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Justin Lynch served as an active-duty army officer before transitioning to the Army National Guard. As a civilian, he has served in multiple roles in the national security enterprise, and is currently a Director of Research and Analysis at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.
Colonel Paul “PJ” Maykish, PhD, is a Senior Military Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research at the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington D.C., where he is detailed full-time to the Commission. Prior to joining NSCAI, he served as the commander of U.S. Central Command’s Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) from 2017-2019.
Kevin McGinnis is a Director for Research and Analysis for NSCAI and leads the Commission’s work on promoting and protecting U.S. technology advantages and public-private partnerships. Prior to joining NSCAI, Kevin served in the National Security Division of the Office of Management and Budget, the Defense Innovation Unit, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
Chris McGuire is a Director for Research and Analysis for NSCAI, and leads the Commission staff’s work on autonomous weapons, technology protection, hardware and microelectronics, and the nexus between AI and other emerging technologies. He is detailed to NSCAI from the U.S. Department of State, and has also served as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College.
Christopher B. Rice, Ph.D. is a Director for Research and Analysis for the NSCAI. Prior to joining the Commission staff, he served as the Director of the U.S. Army Future Studies Group, in addition to many other positions during his 25+ years of federal service.
Joe Wang serves as a Senior Advisor on the staff of NSCAI. He previously served on the National Security Council staff, as Director for Russia and as Deputy Senior Director for Europe and Russia. A career civil servant with the U.S. Department of State, Joe has also served as Senior Advisor to the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and other positions in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
Parker Wild is a Research and Analysis Fellow for NSCAI. He is currently pursuing a Master in Public Affairs at Princeton University, from which he received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Computer Science).
Jessica Young is Director of Research & Analysis for NSCAI where she leads the Responsible AI line of effort. Prior, she conducted research with leaders of the Block Center for Technology & Society while earning a MSc. in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Her experience with the public sector, tech industry, and NGOs spans six continents.
Operations and Legal Team
Chelsea Holt is the Special Assistant to the National Security Commission on AI. Prior to joining the commission in 2019, she worked for the president of Texas A&M University, where she graduated in 2015.
Sarah Johnson is an attorney for NSCAI. She received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and has previously worked with multiple federal agencies including NASA and the Department of Justice. Sarah is an active member of the D.C. Bar.
Brent A. Myles is the Director of Logistics, providing operational support to NSCAI’s Commissioners and Staff. Before joining the Commission, Brent served for 20 years in the United States Air Force as a Communications Professional where he retired in March 2019.
Jennifer Sheehan is NSCAI’s Director of Protocol, overseeing all official functions and social engagements for the fifteen congressionally appointed Commissioners and the Executive Director. In her 30+ years of federal service, she has supported three Secretaries of Defense, a National Security Advisor, and multiple Chairmans of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She is a U.S. Army Veteran.
Angela Y. Stacks is an Operations Specialist for NSCAI. Prior to joining the NSCAI team, she served as a Deployment Analyst and System Integrator for the Department of the Army’s Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army (IPPS-A) program at CACI International. She retired from the Army in 2016 with 25 years.
Jamie joined the NSCAI’s operations team and created a successful internship program which allowed for students to contribute invaluable research and time to the final report. She comes from a background in journalism and real estate.