Laura Thornton is director and senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. Prior to joining ASD, Thornton was director of global programs at International IDEA, a Stockholm-based intergovernmental think and do tank with the mission to advance democracy. She managed multiple teams across Europe focused on constitution-building, parliamentary process, elections, gender and inclusion, political parties, and democracy assessment and analysis. In this role she managed the Institute’s Global State of Democracy products, including a COVID-19 monitor tracking the impact of pandemic responses on democracy and human rights.
Thornton also worked at the National Democratic Institute for more than 20 years, serving in leadership positions across Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka) and in the country Georgia. She has written extensively about political party development, political finance and corruption, elections, and disinformation and has led multiple election observation missions across the globe. Thornton did her graduate work at Princeton University and Oxford University, and she earned her BA from Northwestern University.
Zack Cooper is co-director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). He also serves as a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies U.S. defense strategy and alliances in Asia. In addition, Zack is an adjunct assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, an associate at Armitage International, and a member of the board of advisors of the Center on Economic and Financial Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Zack served in the Pentagon and White House under the George W. Bush administration, first as special assistant to the principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy and then as assistant to the deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism at the National Security Council. He has also been the senior fellow for Asian security at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Dr. Cooper received his Ph.D., M.A., and M.P.A. from Princeton University and B.A. from Stanford University.
Elen Aghekyan is a junior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy. She is an MA candidate at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale, where she focuses on the intersection of disinformation and democratic resilience. Elen is interested in how communities around the world are confronting unique vulnerabilities to disinformation, including through media literacy and civic education. She began her career at the democracy watchdog Freedom House, where she was a research analyst for the organization’s flagship Freedom in the World report as well as special research on modern authoritarianism, with a regional focus on Eurasia. She received her BA in history and government, summa cum laude, from Cornell University. Elen grew up between Armenia and the United States, and is a fan of long-distance running, crosswords, and languages. She is a native speaker of Armenian and Russian and has a working knowledge of German. If you are wondering how to pronounce her name, it is EH-len (like Ellen) ah-GEK-yahn.
Bryce Barros is the China Affairs Analyst at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. He previously served as an analyst at Kharon researching sanctioned actors and related commercial activities tied to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, strategic trade controls, supply chains, and human rights abuses in the Indo-Pacific. Prior to that, he interned at the Long Term Strategy Group researching Sino-American Strategic Competition and the China Britain Business Council researching Chinese market entry for UK and EU companies. He is a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations member, Truman National Security Project Fellow, Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists member, Pacific Forum Young Leader, Aspen Security Forum Scholar, and a National Security Education Program David L. Boren Fellow & Scholar. He holds a BA in Political Science from Norwich University, a MA in International Affairs from Texas A&M University, and is an honorary graduate of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Military Academy. Bryce speaks Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, and spent nearly two decades specializing in the Indo-Pacific region.
Kristine Berzina is a senior fellow and head of the geopolitics team at the Alliance for Securing Democracy in GMF's Washington, D.C. office. Berzina works on building transatlantic cooperation to counter authoritarian interference in democracies. In this role she focuses on U.S.–EU relations, NATO, digital technology, disinformation, and energy topics. Berzina appears frequently in international media, including The Financial Times, the BBC, NPR, Deutsche Welle, Euronews, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Prior to joining GMF, Berzina worked on energy security, transatlantic cooperation, and climate change and security in Brussels and Berlin. A native of Latvia, Berzina grew up in the United States. She received her master’s degree in international relations from the University of Cambridge and her bachelor's in political science and history from Yale University. Berzina is a native speaker of English and Latvian, has worked in German, and has a basic knowledge of Russian and French.
Joseph Bodnar is a research analyst with the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. He is part of ASD’s information manipulation team and focuses on Russian propaganda, disinformation, and cyber operations. His writing has been published in the National Interest, Inkstick, and the Dallas Morning News, among other outlets. His research has been cited by Foreign Policy and CNN.
Prior to joining ASD, Joseph worked with the Atlantic Council’s Global Strategy Initiative. He received a master's degree in international affairs from American University. His capstone project involved working with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to identify trends in foreign disinformation targeting the 2020 U.S. election. Joseph has BA in history with a minor in political science from Kennesaw State University.
Rachael Dean Wilson is the head of external affairs at the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), where she leads 2022 midterm elections strategy, communications and messaging, policymaker outreach, and domestic programming. Driven by her belief that safeguarding democracy must involve all Americans, Rachael has spoken in cities across the country about the importance of building democratic resilience to autocratic efforts to undermine democracy. She’s appeared in news outlets ranging from the Washington Post and C-SPAN to WVTM Birmingham on election security issues and written on China’s state-backed messaging.
Rachael served in senior roles on Capitol Hill and political campaigns and worked in corporate communications and PR consulting. She worked for the late Senator John McCain for six years, most recently as his Senate communications director and adviser to his 2016 reelection campaign. Rachael received a bachelor’s degree in communication in public service from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in global policy from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Hanna Foreman is a program assistant with the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). She oversees the creation of the weekly newsletter and assists with Congressional outreach and grant management. Prior to joining ASD, she participated in the Young Professionals Program through the East-West Center in Washington and conducted research on U.S.-Asia trade and security issues. She completed internships at the Office of Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, the U.S. Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste, and the Clinton Foundation. She is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University, where she studied international relations and Korean and wrote an honors thesis on Korean unification policy.
Kayla Goodson is the senior communications coordinator at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She translates ASD’s high-level policy work into digestible content for social media, journalists, and other external audiences. Previously, she served as the managing editor of Strife Blog, and she covered local government for The Salt Lake Tribune and The Daily Universe. Kayla is passionate about using storytelling to elicit social change and sees great value in using her communications skills to strengthen democracy across the transatlantic space.
She received her MA in international peace and security with distinction from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where her research focused on the intersection of international politics, law, and communications. She holds a BA in news media and French from Brigham Young University. Kayla is a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations’ young professionals briefing series, and she has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting.
Lindsay Gorman is the Emerging Technologies Fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy and a consultant for Schmidt Futures. Lindsay has spent over a decade at the intersection of technology development and national security policy, including in the Office of U.S. Senator Mark Warner, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Academy of Sciences. In the latter post, she supported the Committee on International Security and Arms Control in track II nuclear and cyber security dialogues with Chinese and Russian experts. A physicist and computer scientist by training, she previously ran a technology consulting firm, Politech Advisory, advising start-ups and venture capital and has developed cybersecurity tools in Silicon Valley. Her research focuses on understanding and crafting a transatlantic response China’s techno-authoritarian rise, from 5G and the future internet to information manipulation and censorship. Lindsay regularly briefs senior leaders across the Atlantic on these topics and building a democratic approach to emerging technologies. She is also a member of the Truman National Security Project and an awardee of the U.S. State Department Speaker Program.
Lindsay was also an adjunct fellow in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Technology Policy Program. Her technical expertise lies in artificial intelligence, statistical machine learning, and quantum materials. Her commentary and analysis has appeared in outlets including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, and Lawfare. As an expert in technology and national security policy, including artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, she has been interviewed on TV and radio by CBS News, NPR, Bloomberg, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and CBC Radio. She has also published a Nature Physics paper on topological insulators and programmed computer vision AI systems for a self-driving car in the DARPA Urban Challenge. Lindsay holds an A.B. in physics from Princeton University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a M.S. in applied physics from Stanford University.
Nathan Kohlenberg is a research assistant at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund, where he tracks authoritarian interference activities in the MENA region and provides research support to fellows on issues including election interference, digital surveillance, and information manipulation on social media, among others. He previously served as a policy associate at the Truman National Security Project, where he remains a fellow. He has written about disinformation and foreign election interference in Defense One, Salon, Just Security, and elsewhere.
Nathan received a BA from Carleton College in Minnesota and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he conducted research on the South China Sea conflict and contributed a chapter to South China Sea: Maintaining Peace/Preventing War, published by the JHU Press in 2017.
David Levine is the Elections Integrity Fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, where he assesses vulnerabilities in electoral infrastructure, administration, and policies. David is also an advisory committee committee member for the Global Cyber Alliance's Cybersecurity Toolkit for Elections, an advisory council member for The Election Reformers Network, a member of the Election Verification Network, and a contributor to the Fulcrum. Previously, he worked as the Ada County, Idaho Elections Director, managing the administration of all federal, state, county, and local district elections.
David’s research interests and recent publications focus on election access, trust and security, and the nexus between external threats from malign actors and the challenges many democracies face in conducting free and fair elections. David’s work has been published and quoted in USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Bloomberg Technology, The Hill, Business Insider, MIT Technology Review, BBC, EU Observer, and others.
He received his JD from the Case Western School of Law, where he discovered his passion for election integrity. Since then, he has administered elections, worked with advocacy groups to improve the election process, and observed elections overseas in a number of countries for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Vassilis Ntousas is Head of European Operations for GMF’s Alliance for Securing Democracy. His research interests lie in European foreign policy and the European Union’s global engagement.
Prior to joining GMF, he was the Senior International Relations Policy Advisor at the Foundation for European Progressive Studies in Brussels, where he led the foundation’s global research, advocacy, and strategic convening work. In 2019–2020, he held the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Academy fellowship at Chatham House, where he remains an Academy Associate with the institute’s Europe program. He is the author of several policy papers and regularly comments on global affairs for international media outlets. He is also the co-editor of two books published by Routledge, The European Union and China’s Belt and Road: Impact, Engagement and Competition (2021) and EU Climate Diplomacy: Politics, Law and Negotiations (2018). Ntousas holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a BA in International Relations and Politics from the University of Sheffield. He speaks English and Greek.
Josh Rudolph is the fellow for malign finance at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. He is an expert in the financial channels that enable autocratic efforts to undermine and interfere in democratic institutions. Josh has researched and authored leading work on authoritarian malign finance, strategic corruption, and kleptocracy, as well as public policies to deter, detect, defund, and defend against these threats. He regularly gives private briefings and public testimonies to governmental bodies, including the U.S. Congress to the European Parliament. Josh frequently appears on national and international television, radio, and podcast programs, and has published work in The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The American Interest, Dallas Morning News, Just Security, and The Hill.
Before joining ASD, Josh served in a range of U.S. Government positions at the intersection of finance and national security. As advisor to the U.S. executive director at the International Monetary Fund, Josh formulated and represented official U.S. positions towards matters being decided by the IMF executive board. At the White House National Security Council, he chaired interagency diplomatic and technical work on Russia sanctions and coordinated other economic statecraft initiatives. He also served as deputy director of the markets room at the U.S. Treasury Department. Before his public service, Josh worked for seven years at J.P. Morgan in New York as an investment banker and financial markets research strategist. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from Babson College and a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government with a concentration in international trade and finance.
Josh is currently serving a full-time assignment as Senior Policy Fellow on USAID’s Anti-Corruption Task Force under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.
David Salvo is the deputy director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). David is the principal author of The ASD Policy Blueprint for Countering Authoritarian Interference in Democracies and an expert on Russian affairs, particularly Russian foreign policy. He has appeared on media including NPR, CNN, Fox Business, MSNBC, and ABC News to discuss the tactics and objectives of Russia’s operations to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe.
Prior to joining GMF, David was a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department, serving most recently as the deputy secretary of state’s policy advisor for Europe, Eurasia, and international security issues. He also advised senior-level State Department negotiators on the protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus, worked on U.S. policies toward NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and served overseas in Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. He speaks Russian and Serbo-Croatian and has a basic knowledge of French.
David received his master’s degree from Georgetown University’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies and a bachelor’s degree in government and Russian from Georgetown. He is an avid music lover and plays in several DC-area bands, including a tribute to the nationally renowned rock band Phish.
Bret Schafer is a senior fellow and head of the Alliance for Securing Democracy's information manipulation team. Bret is the creator and manager of Hamilton 2.0, an online open-source dashboard tracking the outputs of Russian, Chinese, and Iranian state media outlets, diplomats, and government officials. As an expert in computational propaganda, state-backed information operations, and tech regulation, he has spoken at conferences around the globe and advised numerous governments and international organizations. His research has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, and he has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, and the BBC. Prior to joining GMF, he spent more than ten years in the television and film industry, including stints at Cartoon Network and as a freelance writer for Warner Brothers. He also worked in Budapest as a radio host and in Berlin as a semi-professional baseball player in Germany’s Bundesliga. He has a BS in communications with a major in radio/television/film from Northwestern University, and a master’s in public diplomacy from the University of Southern California, where he was the editor-in-chief of Public Diplomacy Magazine.
Krystyna (Krysia) Sikora is a program assistant for the Alliance for Securing Democracy, where she serves as the assistant to the director. A recent graduate of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, Krysia received a master's in Eurasian, Russian, and East European studies and focused her studies on right-wing populism, disinformation, and democratic decline in Central and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining ASD, Krysia played professional soccer in Poland for two years, during which time she played both for the Polish National Team and in the Women’s Champions League. She graduated from Duke University, where she received a bachelor's in political science and a certificate in policy journalism and media studies.
Etienne Soula is a research analyst with the Alliance for Securing Democracy based in Brussels. His research focuses on China’s growing political and economic assertiveness in the transatlantic space. Etienne recently spear-headed the expansion of ASD’s authoritarian interference tracker to cover over 150 incidents of Chinese interference in Europe and North America. He also contributes to weekly reports on Russian, Chinese, and Iranian diplomats and state-media activity using the Hamilton 2.0 dashboard. Etienne previously worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Hudson Institute, and NATO. Fluent in French and German, he holds a dual master’s in international affairs from American University and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, as well as a law degree from the University of Nottingham.
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