The Hoover Institution’s participants for its National Security Affairs Fellows (NSAF) Program for the 2008–9 academic year were recently announced by John Raisian, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director.
The NSAF program offers representatives of the U.S. military and government agencies the opportunity to conduct independent research on topics relevant to their respective branches of government and to the practice of diplomacy. Admission to the program is based on direct nominations from each governmental branch. Since the program began in 1969, more than 125 people have participated in it.
Hoover deputy director David Brady, who serves as the program’s executive secretary, assisted by Joy Kelley, administers the program.
This year’s participants are
Lieutenant Colonel Ken Backes, U.S. Air Force
Before coming to Hoover, Backes was with the Pentagon. He has had two deployments in support of the global war on terrorism. In the first, Backes served in Iraq as a military assistant to a senior adviser and later as the Iraqi minister of health’s liaison to the U.S. government, in which post he helped formulate health-care policies for the country’s 26 million people. His other, most recent deployment took him to Afghanistan, where he was embedded as the senior mentor to the Afghan general officer in charge of logistics command operations. A career logistician with more than 31 years of service, Backes has commanded two squadrons and served as an action officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University in Plano, Texas, and holds a master’s in public administration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California, and a master’s in national security studies and strategy from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. His research will focus on issues concerning interagency cooperation at the strategic and operational level. Backes, who is on the select list for promotion to colonel, is one of two officers representing the U.S. Air Force in the 2008–9 class.
Richard Boly, U.S. State Department
Boly is a career member of the United States Foreign Service. He was an economic officer at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy, from 2004 to 2008 and worked in the office of European Union affairs at the State Department from 2002 to2004. Boly’s other overseas tours include the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Paraguay. Boly is the most junior diplomat to win the Cobb Award for Commercial Diplomacy. Before joining the Foreign Service, Boly was the first presidential management fellow with the Inter-American Foundation, was a consultant with the Inter-American Development Bank, and founded and ran a shrimp hatchery in coastal Ecuador. Boly is a native of Tacoma, Washington, and a graduate of Stanford University and the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He plans to use his fellowship year to focus on promoting entrepreneurship abroad as a U.S. policy objective.
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin D. Dixon, U.S. Air Force
Dixon is an intelligence officer, with experience in tactical, theater, and national intelligence operations. His most recent assignment was as commander, 31st Intelligence Squadron, Fort Gordon, Georgia. Dixon has supported operations in Korea, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan through a variety of airborne and ground-based intelligence assignments. He has also supported information operations development and served as a missile systems engineer. Dixon’s staff tours include Headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command; Headquarters, United States Air Force; and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri and a master of science degree in telecommunications from the University of Colorado. Dixon is a graduate of the National Security Agency’s Junior Officer Cryptologic Career Program, the Department of Defense Executive Leadership Development Program, and the Army Command and General Staff College. His research will focus on the policies, development, and employment of both information operations and intelligence capabilities. Dixon, who is on the select list for promotion to colonel, is the second officer representing the U.S. Air Force in the 2008–9 class.
Colonel Joseph Felter, U.S. Army
Before coming to Hoover, Felter served as director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. A career Special Forces and Foreign Area Officer, Felter's military experience includes service as a platoon leader with the 75th Ranger Regiment and as a Special Forces A-Team leader and company commander in the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). Since 2001 Felter has helped develop the counterterrorist capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and has served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Felter received a B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy, an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford. Felter’s research will focus on assessing and developing effective counterinsurgency strategy.
Lieutenant Colonel David Ottignon, U.S. Marine Corps
Ottignon graduated from Ithaca College and was commissioned in the marine corps in 1987 as a combat engineer. He participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, Operation Enduring Freedom in the Philippines, and, most recently, in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007 to 2008. Other previous assignments include service in the U.S. Pacific Command, assistant professor of military science at the University of Rochester and commanding officer, 2d Combat Engineer Battalion, 2d Marine Division. Ottignon earned his MBA from the Simon School, University of Rochester, and a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. His research at Hoover will focus on current and future national security issues. Ottignon is on the select list for promotion to colonel.