2016 NDAA: After the Veto

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Speaker Biographies

Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow in the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where she works on defense strategy, defense budgets, and military readiness. Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the House of Representatives and Senate and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. In 2014, Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated National Defense Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess US defense interests and strategic objectives. This followed Eaglen’s previous work as a staff member for the 2010 congressionally mandated bipartisan Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, also established to assess the Pentagon’s major defense strategy. Eaglen is included in Defense News “100 most influential people in US Defense” both years the publication compiled a list. A prolific writer on defense-related issues, she has also testified before Congress. Eaglen has an M.A. from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. from Mercer University.

Justin Johnson specializes in defense budgets and policies for The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for National Security and Foreign Policy. Prior to joining The Heritage Foundation, Johnson spent over a decade working on defense and foreign policy issues on Capitol Hill. His last position on Capitol Hill was as Deputy Chief of Staff and Military Legislative Assistant for Rep. Doug Lamborn, who is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. Johnson received a master’s degree from the Naval War College with a particular focus on terrorism and the maritime domain. He is also a member of the 2013-2014 Future Leaders Program at the Foreign Policy Initiative, the 2011-12 class of Next Generation National Security Leaders at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the 2012 class of the Heritage Foundation’s Marshall Fellows. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Johnson grew up in Iowa before moving to Eastern Europe. After living in Germany, Belarus and the Czech Republic, Johnson attended Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia where he studied philosophy and art. Johnson and his wife and three children live in Washington, DC.

Dr. David Adesnik is the Policy Director at the Foreign Policy Initiative, where he focuses on defense and strategy issues. Previously, David was a visiting fellow at the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. For two years, he served as deputy director for Joint Data Support at the U.S. Department of Defense, where he focused on the modeling and simulation of irregular warfare and counterinsurgency. David also spent several years as research staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses. In that capacity, he spent several months in Baghdad as an operations research and systems analyst for Multinational Corps – Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  In 2008, he was part of the foreign policy and national security staff for John McCain’s presidential campaign. David holds a doctorate and master’s degree in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His dissertation focused on the Reagan administration’s approach to democracy promotion. David received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia. His work has been published in Foreign Policy, The Weekly Standard, The National Review, The Washington Free Beacon, The Washington Quarterly, Forbes.com, FoxNews.com and The Daily Caller. David has served as a commentator on several cable television networks and radio programs.

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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