Minna Ålander is a research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) in Helsinki. Her research topics are Northern European security and Nordic defense cooperation, as well as German and Finnish foreign and security policy. Previously, she worked at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin.


Her research focuses on German foreign and security policy in the European Union and Strategic Competition research programme. She is also part of a research project led by Matti Pesu analysing Finland’s evolving role in Euro-Atlantic security, with a particular focus on Finnish security and defence policy, security in Northern Europe and Nordic defence cooperation. Previously, Ålander worked at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. She holds a joint Master’s degree in International Relations from the Free University of Berlin, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Potsdam. Since August 2023, Ålander is a Non-resident Fellow with the Transatlantic Defense and Security Program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).

Brigadier General (Retired) Dave Anderson is an Experienced, innovative and highly analytical strategic leader and thinker. Expert in strategic thinking and leadership who understands that the true business of a strategic leader is to tend to the culture of the organisation that they lead. Organisational cultures are the well-spring of both success and failure, challenge and opportunity. A strategic leader must know the culture of the organisation so that it can be tended, reconstructed, altered or mended, depending on the need.

Brigadier General Han Bouwmeester started his military career in the Royal Netherlands Army as a conscript in an armoured battalion, based in West Germany. In 1984 he enrolled in the officers’ training course at the Royal Netherlands Military Academy at Breda, to be commissioned, four years later, as a junior officer in the Artillery. He then served for more than 10 years in different positions in the Netherlands Field Artillery and Horse Artillery.


From 1994 on Han studied political science at the university in Amsterdam, which he rounded off with a master’s degree. After completing the General Staff Officers’ Course of the Netherlands Defence College in 2001, he became Military Assistant to the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army. From 2003 to 2005 Han was an overseas student at the Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies, both in Fort Leavenworth (United States), followed by an appointment as lecturer at the Netherlands Defence College in The Hague. In 2006 Han was asked to be director of the Joint Advanced Staff Officers’ Course for academic year 2006-2007.


From 2007 to 2010 he commanded the Netherlands Horse Artillery Regiment, after which he moved to the United States again to work as a concept developer at NATO’s Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk (United States). Back in the Netherlands in 2013 Han accepted the post of Associate Professor of Military Strategy in the War Studies Department of the Faculty of Military Science at the Netherlands Defence Academy in Breda, which is the appointment he currently holds. In December 2020, Han successfully defended his PhD thesis at Utrecht University. The title of the thesis was ‘Krym Nash (Crimea is Ours): An Analysis of Modern Russian Deception Warfare’. And since March 2023, Han holds the position of Professor of Operational-Military Science at the same institute, along with a promotion to Brigadier General.


In the course of his military career Han has served in two operational tours: one during the Bosnian conflict (1995-1996) and another one during the Dutch military involvement in the Afghan province of Uruzgan (2009). During the former tour he was a Staff Officer Artillery Operation, while during the latter he was commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, being part of the Dutch-led Task Force Uruzgan.

He received a B.Eng. degree in Pattern Recognition, Image Processing, and Artificial Intelligence from Polytechnical University of Bucharest, Romania, and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science with a focus on Brain Modelling from Carleton University, Canada. After completing two postdoctoral fellowships, he joined Bank of America in 2008 as a Senior Modeler, where he worked on mathematical modeling for marketing and risk analysis for 8 years. In 2016, he joined the Department of National Defence as a Defence Scientist, leading the Advanced Analytics team and applying machine learning approaches to HR military data. In 2022, he moved to the Centre for Operational Research and Analysis to support joint targeting and command and control capability development.


Overall, he has developed and implemented more than 80 mathematical models to predict customer behavior in the banking industry (specifically for marketing and risk analysis), to identify recruiting potential for military occupations, and to forecast military attrition. He has over 70 publications, which include book chapters and refereed articles which have appeared as either journal or conference papers.


In addition to his main position, he is an Adjunct Professor with the School of Mathematics and Statistics at Carleton University since July 2013. He also serves as a Senior Editor for the Pattern Analysis and Applications journal, published by Springer-Nature, a position he has held since August 2015. Furthermore, he is a Senior Member of the IEEE since 2017.

Warrant Officer Sara Catterall, Royal Air Force (RAF) has recently been appointed as Command Senior Enlisted Leader for UK Strategic Command, an organization responsible for commanding and generating joint capabilities across all three Single Services and setting the framework for joint enablers, including Intelligence and Cyber, the Directorate Special Forces, the Defence Academy and the Development Concepts and Doctrine Centre.


She joined the Royal Air Force in 1995 as an Intelligence Analyst and over her career has served in a variety of Joint Defence roles and operational intelligence specialisations. Previous appointments include CSEL for NATO’s Allied Air Command, from Sept 2019 and through both the Afghan refugee crisis and NATO response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where she was also NATO Gender Advisor to the Command Group.


Promoted to WO in July 2014 she was initially posted to an OF-3 post at the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany, where she was the Baltic Air Policing Liaison Officer and more recently as Station Warrant Officer (RSM) at RAF College Cranwell, the spiritual home of the Royal Air Force.


She has deployed extensively from the Falkland Islands to Oman, including a number of tours in Afghanistan providing direct support to Special Forces and Air operations. She has been fortunate to receive a number of Commendations; the highlights include a Chief of Air Staff 4* Commendation for support to the Yemen mission, a 3* Commanders Joint Operation Commendation in recognition for intelligence support to tactical operations in Afghanistan, whilst deployed with 617Sqn and a 2* Air Officer Commanding for support to the Syria mission. She is committed to enlisted development and the continued wellbeing of our Force and has recently been awarded Member of the British Empire for her efforts to create inclusion for operational effect and a Meritorious Service Medal.

After commencing her career as an academic and a statistical consultant, Sarah Chapman Trim became a deep specialist, keynote speaker and published author of over twenty articles and book chapters on the science of human behaviour, leadership and culture change in the military.


For over two decades Sarah has worked alongside and led a diverse and challenging stakeholder network within the Australian and British Armed Forces, strategic partners and allies, successfully influencing and working collaboratively with senior leaders to deliver long-term strategic change in personnel policy, leadership, organisational culture and performance.


As a Military Psychologist her specialisation is performance optimisation of individuals and groups in Isolated, Confined and Extreme (ICE) environments, where she has focused on resilience, fatigue management, decision-making and individual differences. Sarah led and authored the review of the integration of women into the RAN submarine service for the Chief of Navy and the Australian Parliament, the first dedicated Submarine Psychologist to serve in uniform in any naval force. She also served as Maritime Task Group Psychologist during Gulf War II, the first RAN Psychologist to deploy to a theatre of operations and be appointed sub-unit Command, responsible for critical incident and mental health support for 600 Australian Defence Force personnel and allies serving in the maritime and littoral She is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Army Leadership and has recently published a paper on the role of social identity in creating engaged followership. Her forthcoming research is focused on resilience and the prevention of vicarious trauma during remote targeting.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Christodoulatos began his military career as a Reserve Officer in 2010, serving at 1CMI/CIMIC. After a sabbatical in Greece in 1998/1999 He worked as a Project Manager in London at RAF from 1999 to 2000. Transitioning to the private sector, Chris led his own IT ventures from 2000 to 2012. Returning to public service, he held key roles at the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice and Security in the Netherlands from 2012 to 2021. Notable positions include Barracks Commander, Head of Staff Support for Air Mobile Brigade, and Project Manager for MatLogCom. His international experience includes serving in Afghanistan during Resolute Support in 2017 and as platoon Commander for Task Force UZG in 2010. Since 2021, Chris has been back with the Ministry of Defence, currently serving as the S3/5 and IV Manager for SOCOM and civilian FOXTROT PM since October 2022. He is now working at the NATO C2COE as a project manager in the Demonstrator 2.0 project.

Emilie Alice Cleret is a Franco-British academic and educator, who specializes in transformative pedagogy for leaders. She is currently the Head of the English Studies Department for French Higher Military Education, where she has created and manages academic programs for both the Ecole de Guerre – the French War College – and the Centre des hautes études militaires. She has dedicated her 21-year-career to designing and launching English-language programs for military leadership and managing their teaching and administrative teams, forging links between France, the US and the UK, and leading seminars on debating, public speaking, networking, and transformative learning. After two years of undergraduate study at the illustrious Maison d’Education de la Légion d’Honneur, she completed her Bachelor’s in British Literature and History and her Master’s (dissertation on Sir Walter Scott) at La Sorbonne Paris IV, before receiving her teaching certification from the French Ministry of National Education. She taught English as a second language in the French public education system for six years before taking on a role as teacher and course designer at the Army NCO Basic Training Academy in France. She has been the French representative to the NATO Bureau of International Language Coordination (BILC) since 2017 and manages multiple crucial partnerships between France and the US, including with RUSI, the State Department – Global Engagement Center, the National Defense University – PRISM, the Institute for State Effectiveness and George Washington University. She is a RUSI Associate Fellow, the author of multiple articles on transformative learning and has given talks on leadership, critical thinking in education, and transformative pedagogy at the NATO BILC annual seminar, Columbia University, and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, among other venues.


She has been recently awarded the Palmes Académiques, an official award from the French government for distinguished service and innovation to education.

Bram is Worldwide Industry Director Defence & Intelligence for Microsoft and has a profound background in Defence, Intelligence and Public Safety. He holds a Master’s degree in Law from the Catholic University of Leuven (BELGIUM) and an Advanced Master in Economic Law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (BELGIUM).


At Microsoft, Bram orchestrates strategic initiatives and programs within the Defense and Intelligence domain worldwide. His primary objective revolves around the transformation and modernization of military and intelligence organizations by equipping personnel and organizations with state-of-the-art technological solutions, so they are well-prepared for the challenges ahead. He focuses on Cloud, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and modern communication and collaboration solutions across the 31 NATO nations and the NATO organization itself.


Before joining Microsoft, Bram worked as Global Director Security Services for RHEA GROUP and as NATO Account Executive for IBM. Prior to his career in industry, Bram had a military career, during which he participated in different roles to the operations in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Libya for NATO and the United Nations.


With a deep interest for military operations, tactics and history, Bram still serves as a reserve officer with Belgian Defence.

Maj. Ralph Dekker is a Dutch Air Force officer with expertise in organizing and executing tactical-level exercises, deployments, and training for the Air Force. Following a tour at the Royal Military Academy, he served at Joint Forces Command Brunssum as a J7 training officer. In this role, he organized and executed major NATO exercises such as Brilliant Jump, Trident Javelin, and Trident Jupiter.


Since 2019, Maj. Dekker has been working with NATO C2 COE on various topics, including the development of the MDO demonstrator, MDO, and C2 development within ACO. Additionally, he is a member of the NATO Science and Technology Organization Research Task Group HFM 342, focusing on C2 lifecycle governance.

With extensive experience gained as a senior military officer, Marcus  retired from the Royal Air Force as a Wing Commander and moved into the business world, diving headlong into the world of programme management and digital transformation, quickly becoming the Head of Agile at Lloyds Banking Group, enabling enterprise-wide business agility. He continued to support and transform other organisations in financial services and the oil and gas sector, and is now a partner and vice president at Red Team Thinking.

Throughout his career, Sir James has been actively involved in NATO’s strategic planning and crisis response efforts. He has played a key role in the development of the NATO Crisis Response System, the NATO Readiness Initiative, the adapted-NATO Response Force, Hybrid/New Generation Warfare, 21st Century Deterrence, Joint Action, and the evolution to the Multi Domain Battle. His insights and leadership have been instrumental in shaping the organization’s response to emerging threats and challenges.


In his final appointment, Sir James served as the Deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe (DSACEUR), where he played a critical role in strengthening NATO’s collective defense and deterrence capabilities. He was responsible for overseeing a wide range of military operations and activities, including training, exercises, and crisis response.


Upon retirement, Sir James assumed the role of Lead Senior Mentor, Allied Command Operations, where he continues to provide invaluable guidance and mentorship to military leaders and personnel across the organisation. His extensive knowledge and expertise have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and peers, both in the UK and abroad.

Dr Viktoriya Fedorchak joined the Swedish Defence University, at Air Operations Division in September 2022. She teaches and researches various aspects of air power and modern warfare. Her current research project focuses on different aspects of the Russia-Ukraine war. Her research interests are air power, modern warfare, military doctrine, strategic and organisational cultures and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Previously, she worked as Lecturer in European Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), (Trondheim, Norway). Before that, Dr Fedorchak held the position of Lecturer of Military History at the Department of History, Maynooth University. There, she taught various courses for the Military College of the Irish Defence Forces. Prior to that, she was Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UK). She taught Modern Strategy, Air Power, Global Security, Politics, International Relations, and European Studies.

Dr Fedorchak received her PhD from the University of Hull (UK) in 2015, exploring the subject of ‘The Development of RAF Air Power Doctrine, 1999-2013.’ Her monograph ‘British Air Power: The Doctrinal Path to Jointery’ (2018) explored the shift from single-service to joint authorship of environmental doctrine and various stages of institutionalisation of jointery in the British Armed Forces. She is the author of a textbook on air power aimed at civilian and military audiences ‘Understanding Contemporary Air Power’ (2020). Her upcoming monograph ‘The Russia-Ukraine War: towards Resilient Fighting Power’ (Routledge), is to be published in Spring 2024. Her current research focus is air power, Nordic aerial cooperation, and Sweden’s NATO membership.

In his final appointment, Sir James served as the Deputy Supreme Allied Command Europe (DSACEUR), where he played a critical role in strengthening NATO’s collective defense and deterrence capabilities. He was responsible for overseeing a wide range of military operations and activities, including training, exercises, and crisis response.

Upon retirement, Sir James assumed the role of Lead Senior Mentor, Allied Command Operations, where he continues to provide invaluable guidance and mentorship to military leaders and personnel across the organisation. His extensive knowledge and expertise have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and peers, both in the UK and abroad.

Mr. Fabrice Fontainier has accumulated over 25 years of experience working for the Thales group and, currently, for Collins Aerospace (formerly Rockwell Collins). Throughout his extensive career, he has had the privilege of working across various global markets and business sectors. Possessing a truly international profile, Mr. Fontainier has consistently prioritized customer satisfaction, delivering tailored solutions for their benefit and that of his respective companies.


His robust technical background has facilitated seamless adaptation to and comprehension of high-tech domains encountered throughout his career. Notably, he holds a strong competence in Defence and has completed the French Prime Minister Higher Defense Studies Institute (IHEDN), an equivalent to the National Defense University in the US.


Mr. Fontainier is currently exploring job opportunities within the high-tech sectors, particularly in Marketing and Strategy, Marketing & Sales, or General Management of profit centers. His specialties encompass high-tech and complex systems (NEC/NCW Large capabilities), strategic and operational marketing, international sales, and business development in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. His expertise extends to Defense, Aerospace, new Information and Communication technologies, and Simulation.

Leo is a partner in McKinsey’s London office and leads McKinsey’s regulatory and external affairs work across Europe. He is also a leader in McKinsey’s public sector practice, where he focuses on central government, security and defence.


In the private sector, Leo’s work has included supporting FTSE 100 companies on M&A, specifically on post-merger integration and regulatory strategy. Leo has expertise in the technology sector and advanced industries. He is sought out by global clients on regulatory topics including merger control and foreign-direct investment approvals.


In the public sector, Leo’s work has focused on central government, security, and defense.

Brigadier Charlie Grist was commissioned into the Army in September 1997. At regimental duty, he commanded at various levels on operations in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. From 2014-17, he commanded 1st Battalion The Rifles.


On the staff he has worked in NATO, the British Army Headquarters, the UK Joint Force Headquarters and UK Ministry of Defence. In 2013-14 he served as Military Assistant to Deputy Commander Allied Land Command in Izmir, Turkey.  In 2017-19 he was appointed SO1 Land in the UK’s extremely high readiness deployable headquarters (Joint Force Headquarters). In this role he formulated Joint Contingency Plans and enacted crisis response deployments. In 2019-20, as Assistant Head of Overseas Crisis Plans in the UK Ministry of Defence, he was responsible for formulating military strategic advice to the Chief of Defence Staff and Ministers. As part of this role he led the UK Defence COVID 19 response team. Most recently he managed the British Army’s international engagement programme.


He attended the UK Advanced Command and Staff Course in 2012 and the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2021.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Newcastle University, a Master of Arts Degree in Defence Studies and a Post Graduate Certificate in International Relations and Strategic Studies, both from King’s College London.  Brigadier Grist is married to Joanna with one daughter, Tabitha. He is a retired rugby player, a slow cyclist and a fly fisherman.


He assumed the role of ACOS J5 in October 2021 and appointed ACOS J3 in August 2023.

Colonel Mietta Groeneveld is a highly accomplished and experienced military professional who currently serves as the Director of the NATO Command & Control Centre of Excellence (C2COE). In this role, she supports NATO, nations and international institutions/organizations with subject matter expertise on Command and Control.


Col Groeneveld graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Breda as a Maintenance Officer in 1991 and has since held a variety of positions within the Dutch Armed Forces, including command over a maintenance unit of roughly 500 employees and Head of the Program Office SPEER, where she was responsible for the scope, quality assurance, budget and planning of all SAP implementations projects aimed at building and migrating joint financial and materiel logistics in the Dutch Armed Forces.


In 2013, she attended the National Security Program at the Canadian Forces College and later served as Branch Head Multilateral Military Affairs within the Department of Defense in the Netherlands, where she was responsible for the coordination of military policy with NLD MOD representatives within NATO, EU, UN, and OSCE. Additionally, she served as the NLD MOD representative within the NATO Logistics Committee and the NATO Committee on Standardization.


She also served as Branch Head Management and Services within the Army Staff, responsible for services and policy on infrastructure, transport, security, and export control within the RNLA, and as President of AFCEA Chapter The Hague and APA, the Technical Staff officers association.


Throughout her career, Col Groeneveld has been deployed to Kirgizstan in 2002 as Deputy Senior National Representative as part of the European Participating Air Forces (EPAF) in Operation Enduring Freedom and to Afghanistan in 2017-2018 as the CJ4/EF5 of Training and Advisory Command-North at Masar-e-Sharif, and the NLD-SNR/red card holder for the Resolute Support Mission.


She is an active editor for the military-science journal of the Dutch Armed Forces “Militaire Spectator” and an accomplished orienteer, having competed in 15 Military World Championships and numerous international orienteering events. She is 11-time military champion in orienteering. Col Groeneveld currently lives in The Hague with her partner and their son.

As a former marine-officer, Frank had a wide range of positions, mostly in the field of logistics but his tours also included stints as an infantry and heavy weapons company commander. In a later stage, he guaranteed the smooth procurement of the Viking All Terrain Carrier and led the SAP software implementation in the NLD Marine Corps. In his latest position at the NATO C2COE he covered all areas but especially focused on concepts and doctrine. His deployments besides many winters in Norway, included the UN mission in Cambodia and the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan. His motto’s: stay curious! It is the people, st..d

She also served as Branch Head Management and Services within the Army Staff, responsible for services and policy on infrastructure, transport, security, and export control within the RNLA, and as President of AFCEA Chapter The Hague and APA, the Technical Staff officers association.

Throughout her career, Col Groeneveld has been deployed to Kirgizstan in 2002 as Deputy Senior National Representative as part of the European Participating Air Forces (EPAF) in Operation Enduring Freedom and to Afghanistan in 2017-2018 as the CJ4/EF5 of Training and Advisory Command-North at Masar-e-Sharif, and the NLD-SNR/red card holder for the Resolute Support Mission.

She is an active editor for the military-science journal of the Dutch Armed Forces “Militaire Spectator” and an accomplished orienteer, having competed in 15 Military World Championships and numerous international orienteering events. She is 11-time military champion in orienteering. Col Groeneveld currently lives in The Hague with her partner and their son.

Stella Harrison (she/her) is an analyst at the RAND Corporation. She works in the defence and security research group at RAND Europe. Her focus is on implementing quantitative analysis techniques and aims to develop a range of analysis tools for the group to use. She is particularly interested in using a quantitative approach for horizon scanning and in what the future holds for emerging technologies applied to defence.


Prior to working at RAND Europe, she was a theorist in an experimental physics lab at the University of Southampton, where she gained experience in numerically modeling the dynamics of coupled differential equations using MATLAB, benchmarked an analogue computing platform to optimisation libraries in Python, and developed specific numerical analysis techniques.


Harrison completed a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Southampton in 2022, working on the development of a “liquid light” analogue simulator as the era of Moore’s law draws to a halt. She also holds an M.Phys. in physics with a year in experimental research from the same institute.

Colonel Christopher Horner joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an Aerospace Controller on 20 Jun 1998. After graduating from the Royal Military College of Canada, and completing his initial training at Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations in 2003, he began his career as an Air Battle Manager.


Over the course of the next decade, Col Horner held various operational positions from deep within NORAD’s underground complex of Canadian Air Defence Sector, served as an Air Weapons Officer and Evaluator Senior Director with the United States Air Force E-3 AWACS Program, and finally as Mission Crew Commander and Director of Operations within 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron, North Bay. Operating with Joint and Allied forces around the globe, Col Horner amassed nearly 1,300 hours on the E-3 AWACS including over 430 combat flight hours supporting Operations ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM, in counter-narcotics missions supporting Operation CARRIBE, and both in the air and on the ground throughout the United States and Canada actively supporting Operation NOBLE EAGLE counter-terrorism missions.


Prior to assuming command of the Canadian Joint Warfare Centre in July 2022, Col Horner was fortunate enough to command 51 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron (2013-15) and later serve as Commandant of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (2017-19).


Apart from his operational focus and command appointments, Col Horner filled various staff roles at 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters, the Strategic Joint Staff at National Defence Headquarters, and within CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct. Having admitted to once owning a Commodore 64, upon promotion to his current rank in 2019, Col Horner returned to operations and was appointed Deputy Joint Force Cyber Component Commander where he remained until his selection as Special Advisor to the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command in 2021.


Col Horner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and Political Science, a Masters of Arts in Defence Management and a Master of Science in Leadership. He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces College Joint Command and Staff Program and the United States Air Force Air War College.


Together with his spouse and their three boys, Col Horner tries hard to find balance between hobbies that won’t be fatal and life experiences that make great memories. Of all his adventures, those he shares with his family remain his greatest passion.

Jaime Iñiguez was born in Burgos in 1959. He received his commission as a Lieutenant in 1981, ended-up his active duty career as Major General in 2019, serving as the Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command. More than half of his 38 years of service were spent in Special Operations Units. He has also served in the Paratrooper Brigade, Rapid Action Force, NATO Special Operations Headquarters, and the Operations Command. He has been deployed to Central America (1990), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996), Kosovo (2000), and Afghanistan (2010), where he led the Special Operations Units Fusion Cell of the Coalition. In 2021 he has been appointed as the NATO SOF Senior Mentor.

Lieutenant-Colonel Alastair Luft is the Joint Research and Analysis Branch Head at the Canadian Joint Warfare Centre. An officer in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, he has filled a variety of command and staff positions within both the Canadian Army and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, to include a number of operational deployments. As a Branch Head, Lieutenant-Colonel Luft’s role is to oversee the employment of critical thinking methodologies such as Alternative Analysis and Wargaming, along with research on Command and Control.

Colonel Sönke Marahrens (DEU AF) is a career Air Force officer, previously serving as head of research for Strategy and Armed Forces at the German Institute for Defence and Strategic Studies in Hamburg. As well as a Full Diploma in Computer Science, he holds a master’s degree from the Royal Military College in Kingston, Canada, and another from the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Hamburg. He was deployed with NATO to Bosnia and Kosovo, and in 2020 served as Branch Head for Transition at HQ Resolute Support in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kees Matthijssen started his military career as a conscript in 1981. After completing that period he entered the Royal Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1986.


Since then, he has held multiple command and staff positions, both international and interagency. Matthijssen exercised command at various levels, including deployments. He was a company commander for four years, commanded both an armoured infantry company and an air assault company. With the latter, as part of 13 Air Assault Infantry Battalion, he was deployed in 1995 to Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


From 2003-2006 he commanded this battalion himself, including a deployment to Iraq in 2004. In 2008, promoted to colonel, Matthijssen commanded the brigade-size Task Force Uruzgan in Afghanistan. In 2014, he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned to command 11 Air Assault Brigade.


In 2015, the brigade was the nucleus of NATO’s Response Force and so Matthijssen commanded NATO’s first Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) brigade.


In between command positions, Matthijssen held various staff positions. He was S4 of 11 Air Assault Battalion and later G3 of 11 Air Assault Brigade in the period 2000-2003 when the Brigade obtained its operational readiness status. In early 2001, he was part of the NLD Liaison Team to US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, in the early stages of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.


His non-operational staff positions were in the Defence Staff, as a lieutenant colonel, with responsibility for the NL MoD Investment Plan. As a colonel, he was the Director of Staff in the Army Staff, thereafter being Military Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


After handing over command of 11 Air Assault Brigade in 2017, he was promoted to major general and became the Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army. This position included the roles of military governor of the capital (Amsterdam) and Inspector of Army Reserve Personnel.


In 2019, he was assigned to NATO Allied Joint Forces Command in Brunssum as the Deputy Chief of Staff Plans. General Matthijssen was awarded the German Medal of Honour in Gold and the French Legion of Honour (Officer degree) for his outstanding cooperation with both nations in various positions.


In addition to his bachelor degree from the Military Academy, he completed the NLD Advanced General Staff and Command course in 1998, and he holds a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the US Army War College in 2010.


From January 2022 to January 2023, Matthijssen was Force Commander MINUSMA in Mali, in the rank of lieutenant general.

Major-General Darcy Molstad (CAN AF) is an experienced, respected and well networked General Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). After achieving the highest levels of qualifications and experience as a CF188 (F/A-18) Hornet Pilot, he has demonstrated consistent top performance in leadership from garrison to operations, organizational effectiveness/efficiency at tactical and operational levels, and strategic visioning and engagement. He currently holds the position of Deputy Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC).

Piret Pernik is a Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security. Her research focuses on political and strategic aspects of cyber security. Before joining ICDS, she worked at the Policy Planning Department of the Estonian Ministry of Defence. In 2009–2012, she served as an adviser to the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament). She has lectured on international relations in Estonia and has carried out sociological research projects at the institutes of Tallinn University. Piret has studied political science at the University of Tartu, and she holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the Estonian Humanitarian Institute, the University of Tallinn; and a Master’s degree in International Relations and European Studies from Central European University in Budapest.

Professor Peter Roberts is a Senior Associate Fellow, having been Director of Military Sciences at the Royal United Services Institute between January 2014 and November 2021.


His work at RUSI was centred around research on contemporary conflict, the development and trends in How we fight, and trying to understand what the norms and behaviours will be in future conflict between major military forces. During his eight years in the academic world, Peter was a regular commentator for global media outlets, provided evidence to parliaments around the world on military matters, and advised UK and foreign ministers, military chiefs and governments on conflict, force design, and the future risks from warfare.


Peter also hosted the Western Way of War podcast, which – peculiarly – garnered more than 200k followers and was streamed in 184 countries. He remains a non-resident professor of modern warfare at the Ecole de Guerre in Paris. Prior to joining RUSI, Peter spent twenty-three years in the Royal Navy as a warfare officer and served all over the world with a variety of militaries and agencies.


Having hosted the ‘Western Way of War’ podcast, Peter then ran the ‘This Means War’ show: the most recent pod ‘Command and Control’ has been popular with military, academic and political audiences globally. When not travelling to warzones Peter advises militaries, commercial entities, and governments on combat, warfare, and force design.

Major Marcel Scherrenburg, (MSC MBA BEng, NLD A) is a subject matter expert Command & Control within the NATO-C2COE. His areas of expertise are technological innovation and Decision Making Processes within Multi-Domain Operations.


He holds a degree in business administration and degrees in both mechanical engineering and industrial automation. He has over 25-years of experience in innovative engineering and he has held several executive positions within the high-tech manufacturing and product development industry.


Among other things  he was project officer and Liaison Staff Officer for the Dutch Defence industry. In this position he contributed to the capabilities insight in the Dutch Defence-Industry-Strategy (NLD-DIS2018).


Since 2018, he has joined the centre and in 2019 he co-authored in the publication of “The Future of the Command Post – study Part One”. In 2020 he and his team provided a Multi-domain operations C2 demonstrator dealing with dispersed and distributed operations of NATO HQs. His current research for NATO C2COE is on Multi-Domain Operations Decision-Making Processes and the enablers required for this.

Søren Sjøgren is an active duty major in the Royal Danish Army, stationed at the Royal Danish Defence College (Forsvarsakademiet). His operational background is infantry with operational deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a current PhD fellow in philosphy at Roskilde University (Roskilde University), defending his thesis “The Last Refuge of the Unimaginative: Doctrine and its Role in the Military Profession” in late November. Major Sjøgren’s current research on command delves into how contemporary military commanders understand command in the context of standardised planning processes, doctrine, and a supporting staff organisation, balancing standardisation and professional judgment. One article “What military commanders do and how they do it: Executive Decision-Making in the Context of Standardised Planning Processes and Doctrine” is available as open assess via the Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies (Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies): https://sjms.nu/articles/10.31374/sjms.146

Mr. Christian Steffen-Stiehl is an Experienced Project Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the defence industry and currently working as Project Solution Manager at Airbus Defence and Space. He is Skilled in Bid Preparation, Functional Analysis, Solution Definition, Functional Specifications and System Requirements Definition. Within Airbus he is accountable consortium coordinator of the EDF project EDOCC, sponsored by the European Commission and working on the interoperability of C2 Systems between combat domains (e.g. Land and Air Forces).

Close Search Window