FPI 2014-2015 Future Leaders Program

Future Leaders Program

The purpose of the Future Leaders Program is to cultivate the next generation of foreign policy leaders in Washington, D.C.  The program identifies young professionals who share FPI’s commitment to international engagement, support for America’s allies, expanding political and economic freedom, and a strong military.  FPI connects these young leaders with foreign policy experts and former senior government officials, while offering networking opportunities with program alumni, FPI experts, and media personalities.

Program Description

FPI Future Leaders participate in monthly dinner discussions with influential foreign policy experts, authors, and practitioners in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, participants are invited to a variety of other events hosted by FPI.  Former classes of Future Leaders can be found here: 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.


2014-2015 Future Leaders Program Class


Brenna Allen, RAND Corporation

Brenna Allen joined the RAND Corporation as a research assistant in July 2014 where she studies a wide array of national security issues. She recently graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) with concentrations in Strategic Studies and International Economics. Before attending graduate school, Brenna worked at the American University of Iraq in As Sulaymaniyah, Iraq and interned at the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia. In 2009 and 2010, Brenna worked on Capitol Hill as Senator Charles Schumer’s speechwriter and worked on the Obama campaign in Alaska and Pennsylvania in 2008.

Originally from northern New York, Brenna received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University. Her foreign policy interests include US-Middle Eastern relations, wartime decision-making, and counterinsurgency.

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Jonathan Bergner, Independent National Security Analyst

Jonathan Bergner is director of federal affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies in Washington D.C.  Jon is involved in the full range of NAMIC's federal government relations activities from legislative strategy, to the political action committee, grassroots mobilization, policy development, and strategic communications.  His issue portfolio includes international insurance regulation, terrorism risk insurance, the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legal reform, and underwriting restrictions, among others.  He has been with the association for seven years.

Jon has spent time on both the House and Senate side of Capitol Hill having worked for Congressman Mark Kennedy of Minnesota, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He has continued his interest and involvement in foreign policy as an independent national security analyst writing extensively about nuclear proliferation, deterrence, and ballistic missile defense. 

Jon is a Virginia native of the Washington D.C. area and began his interest and involvement in politics at a young age.  He graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Theory and philosophy and received a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University.

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Kathryn Ciano, i360, LLC

Kathryn Ciano is the general counsel of i360, LLC, a right-of-center political data firm. Before joining i360, Kat worked as an associate at a weapons law boutique, specializing in part in international trade and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Kat's political law background comes from the Institute for Justice, where she assisted with litigation and writing on campaign finance issues, as well as from the Justice Department's Voting Rights Section.

In addition to a J.D. from George Mason University, Kat holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and an M.B.A. focused on international business, both from the University of Florida. On the weekend Kat can be found exploring Virginia's vineyards and training for the Marine Corps Marathon.

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Alexandra Della Rocchetta, American Enterprise Institute

Alexandra Della Rocchetta is the director of internal communications at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Previously at AEI, she held the position of foreign and defense policy program manager as well as communications manager. She has also spent time at the US Department of State and National Defense University. She is currently a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) in the United States Navy Reserves, drilling in Washington D.C.

Alexandra graduated magna cum laude in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of San Diego. She went on to graduate with merit from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2010, with a Master of Science in Global Politics. She is now currently pursuing a master's in communications from Johns Hopkins University.

Alexandra has traveled to over 40 countries and is training for her first marathon. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Alexandria, VA.

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Andrew Eilts, U.S. Policy Metrics

In his current role at US Policy Metrics, Andrew Eilts analyzes current and proposed legislation and regulations across a wide range of public policy, business strategy, and foreign policy areas to better understand their impact on the economy and individual corporations.

Previously, Andrew worked for General Electric in global policy and government relations, covering issues in all of GE’s then businesses including aviation, finance, energy, media, infrastructure, and transportation. During this time Andrew represented GE to foreign governments, US officials, NGOs, and other business community groups and corporations.

After working for GE in both Washington and London, Andrew served with the Romney for President policy team in Boston, working on both economic and foreign policy issues during the 2012 presidential election.  Andrew also worked in his native Iowa and in Minnesota during Governor Romney’s prior Presidential bid in 2007-2008. He also has worked for the U.S. Department of State in Frankfurt, Germany and for U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.

Andrew graduated from the George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and concentrations in International Economics and Conflict and Security.  He also earned a Master of Science in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

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Fred Ferreira, Concerned Veterans for America

Fred is a policy analyst at Concerned Veterans for America, where he works with the whole plethora of issues covered by the organization, from the importance of a stabled budgetary process at the Department of Defense to how the Department of Veterans’ Affairs needs to be reformed to better serve veterans. His interest in American foreign policy emerged during his undergraduate studies when dealing with decision-making process in national security. Fred’s interest in foreign policy emerged from a desire to learn and understand more about the United States beyond the traditional black box theories of International Relations. Before CVA, Fred worked at The Heritage Foundation.

He holds a master’s degree from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, from his hometown Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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Nathan K. Finney, U.S. Army

Major Nathan K. Finney is a former armor officer serving as a strategist in the Headquarters, Department of the Army Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate. Nate has deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, including tours leading troops in the contentious Diyala province and as a speechwriter to the commander of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan.

Outside the Army, Nate helped found the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, which is designed to bring together people from across the defense enterprise to develop solutions, partnerships, and participants’ skills to instill a more innovative culture in the U.S. military; started a professional development program designed around the great books of military leadership; established and edits the blog, The Bridge; and is a member of the Infinity Journal’s editorial advisory board.

Nate holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Arizona and master’s degree in Public Administration from both the University of Kansas and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Nate is a perpetual marathon runner and lives in Springfield, VA with his wife and two daughters.

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Edward Fishman, U.S. Department of State

Eddie Fishman works at the U.S. Department of State, where he serves in the Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation covering Iran and Russia. In this role, Eddie helps design economic pressure strategies to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals and contributes to the day-to-day implementation of U.S. sanctions programs. Previously, Eddie served as special assistant to General Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a member of the Chairman’s Action Group (CAG). In that role, Eddie wrote papers and facilitated dialogues to advise the Chairman on a broad spectrum of issues, in addition to contributing to speeches, articles, and other public communications. In 2011, Eddie served as special assistant to David S. Cohen, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Outside of government, Eddie has served on the editorial staff of Foreign Affairs and has written for such publications as The New York Times and The Atlantic. He holds a B.A. in History from Yale University and an M.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.

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Charlotte Florance, The Heritage Foundation

Charlotte Florance studies U.S. policy toward Africa and the Middle East, concentrating on economic freedom, democratic institutions, and security cooperation, as a research associate in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies.

Before joining Heritage in 2013, Charlotte was a research fellow on the Federal Financial Management Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. She previously worked in Kenya with a local Catholic Relief Services partner organization, St. Joseph Shelter of Hope, as a Program Development Assistant for the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Florance continues to work with and advise social enterprises in East Africa.

Charlotte contributes to rankings of individual nations in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, published by Heritage and The Wall Street Journal. Charlotte’s commentary and analysis has been featured in Agence France-Presse, BBC Radio, Foxnews.com, Huffington Post, RealClearPolitics, and The Washington Post.

She holds a Master of Arts degree in Conflict, Security and Development from the War Studies Department at King’s College London. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

A native of Newport Beach, California, Charlotte currently resides in Washington, D.C.

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Taryn Frideres, Squire Patton Boggs LLP

Taryn Frideres is an associate in the international policy and trade groups at Squire Patton Boggs LLP. Since joining the law firm, she has participated in the representation of more than five foreign sovereign governments and assisted in counseling numerous multinational companies on issues related to trade policy, market access, and international treaties.

Taryn has been engaged in several major recent international developments: representing the Transitional National Council of Libya during the Libyan revolution; advising the Georgian government in its pursuit of EU and NATO membership in the midst of increased Russian aggression; counseling the Government of Kosovo as it reached a historic agreement with Serbia and continues to pursue deeper international integration; and advising the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq as it battles the Islamic State and considers its own future.

Taryn also recently represented pro bono an American citizen unlawfully detained abroad for several years – an experience that led her to co-found a non-profit organization focused on supporting and advocating for Americans unjustly detained abroad. A proud native Iowan, Taryn received her law degree from the University of Iowa, and she holds degrees in political science and business administration from Drake University.

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Alan Goldsmith, United Against A Nuclear Iran

Alan Goldsmith is the advisor for Washington outreach and policy for United Against A Nuclear Iran (UANI), a non-partisan organization seeking to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Prior to working for UANI,  Alan spent six years working on Capitol Hill, covering the Middle East and international organizations at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he built skills and gained experience in writing, research, and oversight.  Alan also spent five months researching political and Jewish thought through a Tikvah Fund Fellowship.

Alan’s interests include nonproliferation, counter-extremism, and United Nations reform. His dream job would involve rebuilding bipartisan support for a national security foreign policy of peace through strength.

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Alexander Gray, U.S. House of Representatives

Alex Gray is the defense press secretary for Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), where he handles the congressman's defense and national security media and messaging. He previously served the Congressman as a legislative assistant responsible for the Congressional China Caucus, foreign policy, and trade. Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Gray was a policy analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

Gray holds a bachelor's degree from the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs and attended the War Studies Department of King's College London. His articles and reviews on defense and security topics have appeared in National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, Naval War College Review, and Strategic Studies Quarterly. A native of Oklahoma, Gray currently lives in Washington, D.C.

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Tyler Q. Houlton, National Republican Congressional Committee

Tyler Q. Houlton currently serves as policy advisor and spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. In addition to his work in media relations, Houlton is responsible for advising candidates on a variety of national issues with a central focus on international affairs.

Previously, Houlton served as deputy chief of staff and communications director to two Members of Congress from Colorado. In this capacity, Houlton was chosen to participate in policy discussions and forums with government officials in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and Turkey.

Originally from Colorado, Houlton graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2006 with a B.A. in Political Science. While working as a senior congressional staffer, Houlton attended Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies and received a master’s degree with a focus on international affairs. His master’s thesis, Presidential Politics and the Ayatollah: The Impact of the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis on the U.S. Presidential Election of 1980, was published in 2013.

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Yarden Golan, Embassy of Israel

Yarden Golan currently serves as the deputy spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Prior to this role, Yarden was an assistant to Major General Ayish, Israel’s defense attaché. 

Before moving to the United States, he was the chief of staff to the editor in chief of one of Israel’s leading newspapers (Maariv).  Yarden studied for his B.A. in Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, while working in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s communications department. 

Throughout Yarden’s four years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), he served in a number of sensitive positions under Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the current IDF chief of the general staff, who was at the time serving as the general commander of the IDF Ground Forces.

Yarden was born in the north of Israel, lived in Tel Aviv, and now resides in Washington, DC.

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Dean Jackson, National Endowment for Democracy

Dean Jackson is a program assistant with the National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) International Forum for Democratic Studies. His recent work has focused on exploring how leading authoritarian regimes are innovating and collaborating to suppress democratic freedoms domestically, regionally, and internationally. Prior to this time with the NED, Dean worked in the department of external relations at the Atlantic Council.

Dean’s research interests include Eurasian politics and the levers of Russian influence inside the West. He earned a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Chicago.

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Thomas Karako, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Thomas Karako is a visiting fellow with the International Security Program and the Project on Nuclear Issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). His research focuses on national security, U.S. nuclear forces, missile defense, and public law. He is also an assistant professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of American Democracy at Kenyon College, where he arrived in 2009. For 2010–2011, he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, during which time he worked with the professional staff of the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. strategic forces policy, nonproliferation, and NATO.

Karako received his Ph.D. in politics and policy from Claremont Graduate University and his B.A. from the University of Dallas.

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Fiona McFarland, U.S. Navy

Lieutenant Fiona F. McFarland is a surface warfare officer assigned to the Navy Office of Information in the Pentagon where she runs long range and strategic communications for the national media news desk.

Prior to reporting to the Pentagon, she served aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), where she deployed to the Western Pacific. She also served as an engineering officer on the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4), which she saw through trials, testing, and commissioning.

Born in New York, Fiona is a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. She was the 2008 varsity women's crew team captain. Fiona graduated with a B.S. in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and holds an M.B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

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Ashley Shane Miller, The Brookings Institution

Ashley Miller is a senior research assistant in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, contributing to the Project on International Order and Strategy, as well as the Latin America Initiative. She focuses on democracy and human rights and U.S.-Cuba policy.

Before her time at Brookings, Ashley worked at the National Security Archive’s Mexico Documentation Project where she performed archival research and gathered evidence used in a human rights trial in Guatemala. Prior to this, she worked at the State Department in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs where she focused on social policy towards vulnerable groups, specifically the LGBT community, women, and youth. She also performed research at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies and previously interned at the Embassy of Chile in Washington, D.C.

Beyond her Brookings projects, Ashley’s current foreign policy interests include civil society actors, historic preservation, and the role of women in policymaking. Ashley holds an M.A. in International Affairs with a focus on U.S. foreign policy from American University and a B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Seattle University. A native of Washington state, she now lives in Washington, D.C.

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Riley Moore, Podesta Group

As a vice president at the Podesta Group, Riley Moore provides strategic counsel to foreign government and corporate defense clients as part of the firm’s international and defense sectors. He previously served as the principal policy adviser on political-military affairs for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is the former secretary of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Riley holds an M.A. in Strategic Security Studies from the National Defense University and a B.A. in Government and International Politics from George Mason University.

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Micah Murphy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Senate

Lieutenant Commander Micah Murphy is currently serving as a legislative fellow in the Office of Senator John McCain, where he supports and assists in advising the Senator on defense, foreign policy, and veterans’ issues.  Upon completion, Micah will join the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) Strategic Action Group.

Prior to the fellowship, Micah served in the Pentagon as the executive assistant to the Navy’s chief of legislative affairs.  Commissioned in 2001, Micah has spent time on both coasts, deployed six times to the Arabian Gulf on four different classes of ships, and spent most of 2012 as the Commanding Officer of the USS Dextrous (MCM 13) based out of Manama, Bahrain.      

Micah remains interested in Middle East security and foreign policy matters as well as maritime policy challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

A charter member of the CNO’s Rapid Innovation Cell, he is also a board member of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum.

Raised outside of Chicago, Micah earned a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Notre Dame and M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Northwestern). He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife and their newborn daughter.

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Kelley Sayler, Center for a New American Security

Kelley Sayler is a research associate at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where her research focuses on U.S. defense and military policy, defense industry, and disruptive technologies.  In addition, she serves as the coordinator for CNAS' Next Generation National Security Leaders Program.

Prior to joining CNAS, Kelley was a research associate with the Defense and National Security Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where her work focused on the international security environment and defense budgeting and strategy. She previously interned with CSIS’ Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) and wrote extensively on U.S. nuclear policy for the PONI Debates the Issues blog.  Her writing has also appeared in The National Interest, ForeignPolicy.com, CNN.com, and Defense News, among other publications.

Ms. Sayler holds an M.A. in International Relations from Baylor University, where she was named the Richard D. Huff Distinguished Master's Student in Political Science, and a B.A. in Letters and Sociology-Criminology from the University of Oklahoma, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

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Zach Sherman, Lockheed Martin

Zach Sherman is a member of the Strategic Studies Group at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.  In this capacity he supports the Strategy and Business Development organization in performing analyses related to defense policy, planning and budget, and supports Lockheed Martin activities within the global security mission. Zach was named to the Top 99 under 33 in Foreign Policy list by the Diplomatic Courier and is an adjunct fellow at the American Security Project.

Zach holds a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace & Ocean Engineering and Mathematics from Virginia Tech; and a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Zach also has completed various courses at the Defense Acquisition University and Wharton School of Executive Education.

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Zach Silberman, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Zach Silberman serves as the policy manager at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a broad based coalition of over 400 businesses and NGOs that advocates for an approach to U.S. global leadership and engagement that strengthens all elements of America’s national security – development, diplomacy, and defense. In this capacity, he focuses on national security, conflict stabilization, and civilian-military cooperation.

Previously, Zach worked as a staff reporter on a joint assignment for the Washington Jewish Week and Jewish Telegraphic Agency, covering Capitol Hill, the 2012 presidential election, and other foreign policy issues. Before that, he served in government as a staff assistant in the Congressional Liaison Office of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Zach also worked as a legislative assistant for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) where he handled general foreign policy legislative issues and matters pertaining to nuclear proliferation.

Born and raised in Highland Park, Illinois, Zach earned his B.A. from Miami University with a double major in history and journalism and he is in his last semester as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, where he is working towards his M.A. in Global Security Studies. 

 Zach currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, Michelle and their son, Jason.

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Jordan Slopey, NATO Special Operations Headquarters

Jordan Slopey serves as the national capitol region liaison officer and commander’s representative for NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) in Washington, D.C.  Prior to working for NSHQ, she worked for U.S. European Command/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (S.H.A.P.E.), The Department of the Army, Congressman Jim Gerlach, and the Bush/Cheney Campaign. 

Jordan holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Pennsylvania State University; Certification from The Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown in Legislative Studies; a B.A. in Political Science/English with thesis on “Women in the Military” from Allegheny College; and recently completed OPM’s Executive Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Certificate Program.  She is also an honor graduate of S.H.A.P.E International High School.     

Jordan was raised a “military brat” and has lived and breathed foreign policy and defense studies from a young age.  Her current areas of focus include NATO, special operations, and transatlantic relationships.  She earned both her Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards; is a Member of Kappa Kappa Gamma; and is actively involved in her Capitol Hill community.  

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Miles Taylor, U.S. House of Representatives

Miles Taylor is a professional staff member on the Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he helps lead key oversight efforts and investigations on national and homeland security issues.  Miles worked previously on the House Appropriations Committee, participating in historic efforts to cut federal spending and helping to oversee billions of dollars in federal programs. Before that, he served as the youngest presidential appointee in the George W. Bush Administration and has focused on national security and foreign policy at the White House, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and several think tanks. Miles is currently producing a television documentary on the history of page messengers on Capitol Hill, featuring narration by journalist Cokie Roberts and interviews with prominent former pages, including Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. He serves as co-founder of the Washington Leadership Academy, a proposed four-year high school which aims to open in D.C. in 2016, and he has helped drive the expansion of start-up companies in D.C. and Silicon Valley. 

Miles received his M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar and his B.A. in International Security Studies from Indiana University as a Harry S. Truman Scholar and Herman B. Wells Scholar.

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    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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