Yordan Bozhilov 

President of Sofia Security Forum


Yordan Bozhilov was born on November 27, 1969. He holds a Master′s degree in Political Science and a Master of Law. In 1992 he began his career in the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria. His professional career goes successively through all grades and positions. As an expert and senior expert he worked on the coordination of the Ministry of Defense with the other ministries and the Council of Ministers. He was subsequently appointed Chief of the Chancellery Department. As such, he managed the entire documentary work of the Ministry and was responsible for the development and implementation of a number of information systems. In 2002-2003, he completed a course at the Geneva Center for Security Policy. On his return he was appointed Chief of International Organizations and Arms Control Department of the Ministry of Defense. As such, he represented the Ministry of Defense in a number of international organizations. From 2005 to 2008, he was the Director of the International Cooperation Directorate, responsible for the bilateral relations of the Ministry of Defense and the participation of the Ministry in international organizations. He has led the negotiations and the conclusion of bilateral defense agreements. From 2008 until the beginning of 2010, he was the Deputy Director of the Defense Policy Directorate. Between 2005 and 2008 he represented Bulgaria in various NATO working groups. In 2008 he worked as Chairman of the Multinational Advisory Group of RACVIAK – Centre for Security Cooperation, Zagreb.

In the period 2010-2013 he served as Chief of the Cabinet of the Minister of Defense. Since 2013 he has been working as an analyst in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and is Chairman of the Sofia Security Forum, a non-governmental organization, working in the spheres of security, defense, international relations and the training of young leaders. 



Colonel, PhD Orlin Nikolov

Director Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence (CMDR COE)



2019 January – CMDR COE Director

2013-2019 - Chief of Capabilities Branch in Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence (CMDR COE)

2011-2013 – Chief Expert in “Exercise and Training” branch in Operations and Training Directorate MoD.

2010-2011 – Chief Expert in “Exercise and Training” branch in Force Training and Employment Directorate MoD.

2009-2010  – Senior Assistant in “Simulations” branch in Operations Directorate in the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

2008-2009  – Senior Assistant in “Simulations” branch in Training Directorate in the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

2008 – 2007 – Assistant in “Doctrines and training programs” branch in Training Directorate in the General Staff of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

2007 – 2005 – Deputy chief of National Center for Modeling and Simulations, Chief of AAR team – National Military Training Complex “Charalitza”

2005 – 2003 – Head of Staff –52970 Air Defense Unit – Bouzhurishte, Bulgaria;

2001 – 2003 – High Military Colleague “G.S.Rakovski”-Sofia, Bulgaria;

1998 – 2001 – Head of Staff – 34460 Air Defense Unit – Bouzhurishte, Bulgaria;

1997 – 1998 – Head of Technical Staff – 34460 Air Defense Unit – Bouzhurishte, Bulgaria;

1991 – 1996 – Senior Technical Officer –  34460 Air Defense Unit – Bouzhurishte, Bulgaria;

1986 – 1991 – Cadet in High military school “P.Volov”– Shumen, Bulgaria;


Other information:

-          PhD National Security - since September 2017 "Ways for improving of education and training for crisis management and disaster response”




Rector of Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy, Professor of Military-Political Aspects of Security, Chairman of the Scientists’ Union in Varna, member of the Management Board of the Bulgarian Union of Scientists and an active public figure.


Flotilla Adm. Prof. Boyan Mednikarov, D.Sc. graduated first in class in the Naval Academy in Varna, specializing in naval shipping guidance. He started his service at the light infantry brigade in the city of Sozopol, as а Commander of a rocket launcher. Subsequently, he went through the positions of Assistant Commander, Ship Commander, Commander of a tactical group of ships, Chief of division of ships. The Admiral Kuznetsov Naval Academy in St. Petersburg awarded him a gold medal, when he obtained his first Master’s degree in 1992.

During his extensive professional career, he has held the positions of a Senior Assistant Chief of the Operations Division at the Navy Headquarters in Varna, Deputy Head of the Operational-Tactical Department of the Postgraduate Qualifications Center at the Naval Academy, Head of the Naval Forces Department at the Military Academy. Between 2001 and 2011, he was the Deputy Head of the Educational and Scientific Section of the Naval Academy in Varna. Since May 2011, he is the Rector of the Academy.

In 1999, he completed his Doctorate degree and later became an Associate Professor of Armed Forces Organization and Management. Flotilla Adm. Prof. Mednikarov has his second Master degree in Strategic Leadership of Defense and Armed Forces from the Military Academy in Sofia. He has a second PhD in Military-Political Aspects of Security. Since 2009, Flotilla Adm. Prof. Mednikarov is a Professor in the same academic field.

Prof. Mednikarov was the chairman of the Scientists’ Union in Varna. He is a winner of the Varna Award for Science in 2008 in the field of social sciences. He was awarded the 2014 Prize of the Bulgarian Marine Chamber St. Nicholas for personal contribution in the development of marine science and education. Honorary Professor of the Naval Academy Mircea cel Batran, Constanta, Romania. Awarded with the Honorable Golden Order “Merit to Varna” in 2016 for the overall contribution to the development of marine education and science. Winner of the 2016 Black Sea Medal Awards for the long years of work in the field of conservation and improvement of the Black Sea environment. He was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree by Todor Kableshkov University of Transport, Sofia.

Areas of expertise: Defense and Strategic Studies, Maritime Security and Safety, Maritime Education System, Leadership and Management in Shipping.

Thorsten Geissler


Head of Bulgaria office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung



Since 01-04-2016 - Director, Bulgarian Office, Konrad Adenauer Foundation; 2010 - 2016 Director Rule of Law Program South East Europe; s. 01-09-2010 Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, Employee; 2004 – 2010 Senator for Environment, Security, and Public Order and Second Deputy Mayor of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck; 1987 – 2004 Member of the Schleswig-Holstein State Legislature; since 1992 - Deputy Leader of the CDU Parliamentary Party Spokesman on Legal Affairs; Member of several Standing Committees, temp. Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Federal and European Affairs, member of the Judicial Appointments; Commission, member of several Committees of Inquiry and Study Commissions; 1991 Second State Examination in law, admittance to the bar. 1982 - 1987 City Councillor, Hanseatic City of Lübeck; 1979 - 1984 Student at Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel (Law: First State Examination 1984, Political Sciences) 1978 – 1979 Military Service (Current Rank in German Army Reserve: Colonel). Born on 16-10-1959 in Bad Schwartau, Germany.


Nicola de Santis

Head Engagements Section, NATO Public Diplomacy Division 


Nicola de Santis was appointed, as at 1 September 2019, by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, Head of the Engagements Section in the Public Diplomacy Division of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, which aims at promoting security cooperation through a variety of programmes in NATO member nations and in partner countries, contributing to a continuous process of international security debate and policy creation. In this capacity, Mr. de Santis is responsible for leading and managing the Alliance’s public diplomacy activities and programmes, to promote a better understanding of NATO, its values, policies and activities, fostering dialogue and cooperation with relevant audiences in NATO and partner countries. Prior to that, he was for nine years the Head of the Middle East and North Africa Section in the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, where he was responsible for developing and promoting NATO policy, political relations, individual practical cooperation programmes and public diplomacy activities, with Middle Eastern and North African countries, especially those participating in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). He also ensured coordination with all other Divisions of NATO’s International Staff, International Military Staff and relevant NATO Military Authorities, for all aspects of NATO’s cooperation with countries in the Middle East and in North Africa. During his more than two-decade career at the Brussels NATO Headquarters, which he joined in 1991 following international competition, Mr. de Santis served under seven NATO Secretary Generals, in different senior executive policy and communications positions.


General (ret.) Constantin Popov

Chairman of the Defense Committee and member of the Committee on Internal Security and Public Order of the 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria


General Constantin Popov was born in 1961 in Sofia. During his military career he has gone from junior pilot in a fighter squadron, Commander of a fighter air base, through Commander of the Air Force and Deputy Chief of Defense to Chief of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria.

He has over 1200 flight hours on L-29, MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-21, MiG-29.

General Popov is one of the first senior Bulgarian officers who worked in a NATO HQ. He was Chief of Staff, NATO Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland in the period 2005 – 2006. From 2006 to 2008 he was assigned Deputy Chief of Staff of the Allied Air Component Command Headquarters, Izmir, Turkey.

General Popov was elected to the Bulgarian Parliament in April 2017 upon his retirement of active service.

General Popov holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, USA and a Ph.D. in Organization and Management of the Armed Forces from “G.S. Rakovski” National Defense College, Sofia. He is also a Member of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria.

His national decorations include, inter alia, the order “Stara Planina” – first grade, with swords, the Medal of Honor “St. George the Victor”– first grade, the “Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service under the Colors”, the “Commendation Medal for Contribution to the Ministry of Defense”, awarded to him for his distinguished service and professional achievements.

In recognition of his work in Bydgoszcz he was awarded the “Golden medal of the Polish Armed Forces”.

General Popov is married to Liliya and they have three grown-up children – a daughter and twin boys. He enjoys reading history books.



Atanas Zapryanov

Deputy Minister of Defence, Bulgaria


Lieutenant General Atanas Zapryanov (Ret.) was born on 16 April 1950 in the village of Dragoynovo, Plovdiv District. In 1965, he graduated from the specialized high school in mechanical engineering in the town of Plovdiv. In 1974, Atanas Zapryanov graduated from Vassil Levski military school of higher education in Veliko Turnovo as diploma engineer, earning a Master’s degree in the specialty Signal Troops. He was distinguished as the best graduate ranking first among the alumni of the year at the military school.  In 1982, he earned a Master’s degree in military science and warfare at Budyoni Military Academy of Communications, Saint Petersburg, Russia, from which he graduated, earning a gold medal for his high academic achievements and an excellent–grades diploma. He earned a Master of Science degree in Strategic Management of the Armed Forces at the General-Staff Faculty of the G. S. Rakovski National Defence Academy, from which he graduated in 1995.

In his academic and professional career as a military officer of the Bulgarian armed forces, in 2001 Atanas Zapryanov completed Senior Information Manager Course and a Manager in Information Protection Infrastructure Course at the Information Resources Management College to the National Defense University, Washington, USA, where he was nominated as an alumnus of honor in the College’s Hall of Fame for high achievements earned during his military service. Atanas Zapryanov also completed the Senior Course at NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy.

In the course of his military career, Lieutenant General Atanas Zapryanov has held different command and staff positions in the Signal troops of the Bulgarian army: platoon commander, company commander, deputy battalion commander, chief of staff and deputy commander of 95th signal regiment of  Second army in Plovdiv, department senior assistant to the department head at the Land Forces Command, department head, chief of staff, deputy director and director of Signal Troops Directorate to the General Staff of the Bulgarian Army (until 2002). As a senior military officer, he also held the positions Commandant of G. S. Rakovski National Defence Academy, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Bulgarian Army for resources until 2006, and  a military representative of the Chief of General Staff  at NATO military committees and the European Union (until 2010).

After joining the military reserve, since 2010, he has been a counselor to two political cabinets of the Minister of Defence (until 2013) and since 2015 until July 2016, Deputy Minister of Defence since July 2016 until 30 January 2017.

Lieutenant General Atanas Zapryanov (Ret.) has been awarded multiple times for excellent military service and high professional results; he was awarded For Military Merit Order, First Degree.

Atanas Zapryanov speaks Russian and English.

He is married and has two children.


LTG Tsanko Stoykov

Deputy Chief of Defence, Bulgaria


Date of birth:                                                 05 January 1963

Place of birth:                                               Town of Kazanlak, Bulgaria

Marital Status:                                              Married, 1 son



2003-2004                 Air War College Maxwell - Alabama, USA

1997-1999                  Military Command and Staff College “Georgi S. Rakovski” , Sofia, Bulgaria

1982-1987                  Air Force Academy “Georgi Benkovski”, Dolna Mitropolia, Bulgaria

1978-1982                  English Language School “Georgi Kirkov”, Plovdiv, Bulgaria


Military career:

2020-                        Deputy Chief of Defence

2016-2020                Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force

2014-2016                 DA to the Bulgarian Embassy, USA

2009-2014                Commander of Air Force Base – Graf Ignatievo

2005-2009               Chief of Staff - Air Force Base – Graf Ignatievo

2002-2005               Deputy Wing Commander for Combat Training

2000-2002               Deputy Wing Commander for Flight Training – Graf Ignatievo

1999-2000               Commander of Second Fighter Squadron / Air Regiment – Graf Ignatievo

1995-1997                Commander of Squadron / Air Regiment – Graf Ignatievo

1994-1995                Navigation Officer of Squadron / Air Regiment – Graf Ignatievo

1990-1994                Commander of Flight Wing / Air Regiment – Graf Ignatievo

1989-1990                Deputy Commander of Flight Wing / Air Regiment

1988-1989                Senior Pilot in Third Flight Wing / Air Regiment

1987-1988                Junior Pilot in Flight Wing / Air Regiment – Graf Ignatievo


Mircea Geoană


NATO Deputy Secretary General in October 2019


Mircea Geoană became NATO Deputy Secretary General in October 2019, after a distinguished domestic and international career. Mr Geoană is the first Deputy Secretary General from Romania, and the first from any of the countries that joined the Alliance after the end of the Cold War.

Mr Geoană was born in Romania on 14 July 1958. He studied at the Polytechnic University in Bucharest, the Faculty of Law of the University of Bucharest, the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris, and he holds a PhD from the Economic Studies Academy of Bucharest. Mr Geoană has served as a diplomat and a politician, and in 2009 was his party’s candidate to be President of Romania.

  • 1991-1995:     Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania
  • 1993-1995:     Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • 1996-2000:    Romanian Ambassador to the United States.
  • 2000-2004:    Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 2001:              President in Office of OSCE
  • 2004-2016:     Senator
  • 2004-2008:    Chair of the Senate Foreign Policy Committee
  • 2005-2010:    President of the Social Democratic Party
  • 2008-2011:    President of the Romanian Senate
  • 2012-14:         High Representative of the Romanian Government for Strategic Economic Projects and Public Diplomacy
  • 2012-2014:    Chair of the Parliamentary Committee for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area

Mr Geoană is a strong advocate of transatlantic integration and has held a number of international positions, including OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in 2001 and personal representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for Georgia in 2005. He is President and founder of the Aspen Institute Romania and has published extensively on domestic and international affairs.

In 2000, he was made a Commander of the National Order, The Star of Romania.  He has also been awarded the French Legion d’Honneur and the Italian Stella della Soliedarita.

Mr Geoană is married to Mihaela, an architect by training and former President of the Romanian Red Cross. They have two children, Ana Maria and Alexandru.

He is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian.




Vessela Tcherneva

Deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and head of the Sofia office



Vessela Tcherneva is the deputy director of the European Council on Foreign Relations and head of the Sofia office. Her topics of focus include EU foreign policy and the Western Balkans and Black Sea region.

From 2010 to 2013, Tcherneva was the spokesperson for the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a member of the political cabinet of Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov. Previously, she was secretary of the International Commission on the Balkans, chaired by former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato and former German President Richard von Weizsäcker; the supervising editor of the Foreign Policy Bulgaria magazine; and political officer at the Bulgarian Embassy in Washington, DC. Tcherneva holds an MA in Political Science from the Rhienische Friedrich-Wilhelm Universität in Bonn.


Neil Melvin


Director International Security Studies at the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI)


Prior to joining RUSI, Neil Melvin was Director of Research, Peace and Conflict, at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).  Dr. Melvin has a broad experience in international security issues.  He has served in senior positions in the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Energy Charter Secretariat.  He has also worked as a consultant for the United Nations. Dr. Melvin has held research positions at Chatham House and the Centre for European Policy Studies, as well as teaching posts at the Brussels School of International Studies, Leeds University and the London School of Economics. In his career, he has worked on security in the Horn of Africa, Middle East, Eurasia and Europe.  He is currently leading the International Security in Transformation initiative at RUSI, which is mapping and analysing the shifting nature of security in key regions around the globe.





Mark Prouse


Deputy Director, Energy Resilience & Emergency Response in the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.


Mark Prouse has responsibility for resilience and security policy in the downstream gas, electricity and downstream oil sectors, working with government, international and industry partners on policy and response for hybrid threats, counter-terrorism, personnel security, and resilience to Natural Hazards such as severe weather, space weather and industrial action, as well as being responsible for crisis response capabilities for emergency incidents.  Mark is the Chair of NATO’s Energy Planning Group considering the resilience baselines and hybrid risks to energy systems and supplies required in support of Alliance objectives. Before his current role, Mark has worked in a number of posts across the security and resilience fields in Government.  Mark has a BA (Hons) in International Relations and Politics from the University of Essex, and Masters degrees in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College London, and  Terrorism Studies from the University of St Andrews.



Dr. Matthew Rhodes

Area Studies Chair

George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Dr. Matthew Rhodes is area studies chair at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.  His principle interests include U.S. foreign and security policy, transatlantic relations, and Central and Southeast European security issues.  His recent publications include a book chapter “U.S. Perspectives on NATO and Transatlantic Futures” in NATO in the 21st Century (Dec. 2019) , a Marshall Center Security Insights article “COVID-19 and Southeast Europe’ (with Valbona Zeneli, May 2020), and an article “The Transatlantic Pillar: 2020 and Beyond” in The Bled Strategic Times (Aug. 2020).


Dr. Alessandro Marrone 

Head of IAI Defence Programme


Alessandro Marrone has been working at IAI since 2007, and currently manages research projects and publications related to European and transatlantic security as well as to Italy’s defence policy. He is also professor at the Istituto Superiore di Stato Maggiore Interforze (ISSMI) of the Italian Ministry of Defence and has been teaching for four years at the University of Perugia.
He holds a PhD in History of Europe from the La Sapienza University of Rome and a Master of Science (MSc) in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Previously he got a Bachelor degree in Political Science and MSc in International Relations from the LUISS Guido Carli.
He is a member of the Editorial Board of IAI web-magazine AffarInternazionali and collaborates as with several Italian magazines including Airpress, Aspenia, Eastwest, Formiche, Huffington Post, Rivista Italiana Difesa and Rivista marittima.
He is interested in European defence, NATO, Italian defence and foreign policy, armed forces and military procurement, defence industry and market, security in the Mediterranean region.


Dr. Kleanthis KYRIAKIDIS

Assistant Professor and the Program Chair for BA in Security and Strategic Studies at the American University in the Emirates

Dr. Kleanthis KYRIAKIDIS is an Assistant Professor and the Program Chair for BA in Security and Strategic Studies at the American University in the Emirates. He is also a retired Captain of the Hellenic Navy. He has been an instructor at the Hellenic Naval War College, the Joint Supreme War College and Air War College, lecturing on Globalization issues, IR Theory, Security Threats with emphasis on WMD and Terrorism, Modern Strategy, Crisis Management, Disaster Management and Leadership. Among others he has served as an advisor to the Deputy Minister of Defense, as Head of the Plans and Policy Directorate of the Hellenic Navy and as Director of Studies at the Naval War College.

As regards academic endeavors, he holds three Masters’ Degrees, two from the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey (MS in Physical Oceanography and MA in Middle East Studies with Distinction) and a Masters in Public Administration obtained at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he was presented with the Lucius Littauer Award. He has also obtained a PhD on Political Islam from the University of the Aegean. He has published seven history and political science books, co-authored another six and more than 250 articles dealing with a wide scope of diverse contemporary issues mainly in American and Greek journals. He has been a guest lecturer to Universities and Institutions around the Globe, including the NATO Defense College and has participated in more than 50 international conferences.


Dr. Velizar Shalamanov

Chairman of the Board at NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency)


After 19 years in military, followed by an academic career in the Academy of Sciences Dr. Shalamanov

has several tours of public service: Deputy Minister of Defense (1998-2001), Minister of Defense (2014) and Director Demand Management in the NATO’s IT and Cyber Agency (2009-2017). In 2019 he was elected as a Chair of the Agency Supervisory Board facilitating the consensus among 30 nations. Since 2018 Velizar is deputy director of the Institute of Information and Communications Technologies, focusing on consolidation of the academic cyber capacity in Bulgaria and EU (under H2020 project) and study of  best practices for effectiveness, efficiency and cyber resilience of IT organizations, role of IT in institutional change management. IT related research work of Dr. Shalamanov started in 1984 as a project manager, head of section and sector in defense institute, leading intelligent planning and assessment systems development, followed by some projects in space research, institutional change management, integrated command and control / emergency management systems, computer assisted exercises. He defended the PhD thesis in Kiev (1991) and became Associated Professor in 1998.



Dr. Bryan WELLS 


Chief Scientist, NATO


As of 1 July 2019, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) appointed Chief Scientist is Dr. Bryan Wells (UK). In this role, he has three major responsibilities. First, he serves as Chair of the NATO Science and Technology Board (STB). In this context, he serves as the STB′s representative to the Secretary General and the NAC and is responsible to the STB for the effective coordination of NATO′s Science and Technology (S&T) program. Second, he serves as the senior scientific advisor to NATO leadership, ensuring that appropriate and timely S&T based advice is provided to NATO senior decision makers. Finally, he leads the Office of the Chief Scientist at NATO Headquarters Prior to his appointment as Chief Scientist, Dr. Wells was the UK Ministry of Defence’s Head, of S&T Policy, Strategic Research and International Engagement. His responsibilities included the provision of strategic policy advice on the international and research aspects of the Ministry’s science and technology programme. Additionally, he has recently completed a three-year term (2016-2018) as Chair of the European Defence Agency’s Research & Technology Steering Board. Dr Wells joined the UK Ministry of Defence in 1988. He served as Assistant Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence 1989-1992, and has held a range of other posts, including Deputy Director of NATO Policy 1997-1999, and Director of Counter-Proliferation and Arms Control 2002- 2008. During 1999-2002 he was on secondment to the Lord Chancellor’s Department (now the Department of Justice) as Head of Administrative Justice. Dr Wells was educated at St Catherine’s College, Oxford (1978-85) and Merton College Oxford (1985-1988). He graduated BA(Hons) in Chemistry in 1982 and was awarded a DPhil in 1985. He conducted three years post-Doctorate research at Oxford University as a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College.




Col. Luca Guaragno

Branch Chief of Force Capability Branch (ForceCap) – EEAS, EU


Col. Guaragno works since 2017 in the EU Military Staff where, leading the Force Capability Branch, he provides analytical advice, methods and document drafting in support of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy to the

Political and Military strategic level.

In his duties, he compares what the EU "NEEDS" in terms of military capability requirements to what the EU "HAS", in force of Member States contributions, and designs a way ahead for the fulfilment of the EU military Level of Ambition (LoA) on security and defence.

To this purpose he has fostered in 2018 the creation of a specific set of the EU "High Impact Capability Goals", enhancing the understanding of the EU LoA and setting a military reference of strategic importance for the EU institutions and Member States in the capability planning field.

In light of the recent EU momentum towards Security and Defence, his responsibilities have been enlarged to encompass the new EU initiatives of the so called "EU Defence package", where:

- as vice President of the EUMS PESCO Task Force, he contributes to the assessment of PESCO projects and National Implementation Plans submitted by EU Member States;

- runs for the EUMS all CARD activities, including bilateral consultations with Member States and drafting in close coordination with the EDA the Final Report for the Ministers of Defence;

- represents the EUMS main PoC for all Defence related initiatives launched by the Commission (PADR, EDIDP, EDF, Financial Toolbox..).

This broad spectrum of his duties and responsibilities requires him to liaise at political-diplomatic and strategic military level within the EU institutions (EUMC, PMG, PSC, DG ECHO, DG MOVE, DG GROW, ECFIN, EDA, JRC..) and unceasingly cooperate with NATO entities and the Academic world  in Brussels and many other sites in Europe.

Col. Guaragno has served for 28 years in the Italian Air Force, where, after a long operational career as combat and instructor pilot on fast jet and transport aircrafts, he has worked in the education and training field as a class commander in the Air Force Academy and gained a considerable expertise in the national military capability planning area, fulfilling several duties and key positions in the Air Force Head Quarters. In 2015 and 2016 he worked on the periodical revision of the Italian Air Force mid and long term capability development plan in coherence with national, NATO and EU General Planning guidance.

Col. Guaragno is an Air force Academy and a Defence College graduate, he has a degree in aeronautical sciences and a master degree in international studies, throughout his career as a military pilot he has accumulated more than 3600 flying hours on 9 different aircraft systems.


Dr. Michael Wunder

Head of Department, Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics - FKIE



1978-1984 Diplom Ingenieur (Subject: Process Engineering),Technical University (RWTH) Aachen, Germany

Work Experience

1984-1987  Scientist (Technical University Aachen, Germany)Promotion, Thesis about the Natural Law of Economic Growth

1987-1991 System Analyst at the Automotive Industry (Tyre Production)

1991-1997 IT Manager at the Automotive Industry (Drive Train)

since 1997 Head of Department for Command & Control Systems at Fraunhofer (ResearchOrganization for Applied Science), 70 employees, thereof 45 university graduates and15 engineers

Areas of Expertise

Command & Control Information Systems; Reconnaissance Systems; Technologies forInteroperability of heterogeneous systems; Large scale system integration; Semanticinteroperability; Decision support for complex and critical processes; Process analysisand optimization; Modeling


NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO)IST Panel Chair (Information Systems Technology)

Board Member AFCEA Bonn/Germany, Dept. Science and Research


Married, 3 adult children

Hobbies: woodwork and tinker around old bikes







Hubert Saur (Col ret.)


Operational Advisor in Airbus Defence and Space - Intelligence  Solutions, Services in Command & Control systems, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance, Deployable Solutions


Career officer and General Staff Officer in the German Armed Forces for over 35 years

  • More than 1500 flying hours in combat aircraft.
  • Served in various capacities at all level of commands with expertise in joint military planning and air campaigning.
  • Holds a Master’s degree in National Security Strategy from National Defense University, Washington D.C, USA.

 Address: Airbus Defence and Space GmbH Claude-Dornier-Straße 88090 Immenstaad T +49 (0) 7545 8 1189

Email: Hubert.saur@airbus.com 





Rear Admiral John W. Tammen Jr.

Deputy Chief of Staff Strategic Plans & Policy, United States Navy, North Atlantic Treaty Organization


Rear Adm. John Tammen is a native of Washington Township, New Jersey. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and earned his master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University.

His career as a nuclear submarine warfare officer includes assignments aboard USS Plunger (SSN 595) as a division officer, USS Nevada (SSBN 733) as the engineer officer and then USS Providence (SSN 719) as the executive officer. Subsequent command assignments include commanding officer of USS Georgia (SSBN/SSGN 729) and commodore of Submarine Squadron (SUBRON).

Ashore, he has served as officer in charge of the Combat Systems Training Team on the staff of Commander, Submarine Group 5; squadron engineer on the staff of Commander SUBRON-17; Force Nuclear Power officer for the Atlantic Submarine Force; executive assistant to the director, Submarine Warfare Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV N77); deputy division chief for Joint Capabilities Division (Joint Staff J8); section head for Platforms, Payloads and Budget in Undersea Warfare (OPNAV N97); military assistant and chief of staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs (OEPP), the Honorable Sharon Burke; and deputy director for Undersea Warfare (OPNAV N97).

As a flag officer, he served as the deputy director for Plans and Policy (J5) at U.S. Strategic Command, Commander of Submarine Group 9, and Director for Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97) in Washington, D.C.

He is currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Policies (DCOS SPP) at NATO Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, VA.

His personal decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (four awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards) and various unit awards.



Mr Kyle King


Founder and Managing Director of Capacity Building International


Kyle King has spent 28 years in the emergency services and international security field with 8 of those years being with NATO.  Certified in the US Department of Defense as a Chief Fire Officer, he helped design and build the first international DoD Fire and    Emergency Services Certification Program for international students, and also served as the first Civil Emergency Advisor to    support NATO Operations. Among his other accomplishments he worked to contribute to the development of NATO’s Security    Force Assistance program and wrote NATO’s capacity building education and training program for Kosovo. Locations where he has  worked in missions includes Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Ukraine. Mr. King holds a Masters in Diplomacy and Terrorism    Studies as BS/BA in Public Administration as well as numerous certifications from US Department of Defense, NATO, and other    institutions.

    Currently Mr. King is focused on supporting the Institute for Security Governance and international programs as well as being seconded to the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).





Col Alin Bodescu, PhD 


Training Manager in the European Union External Action/European Security and Defence Colleague

Col Alin BODESCU, Ph.D has been the ESDC Training Manager (Military) since November 2017 (Seconded National Expert from the Romanian Defence Staff). Previously he was Director of the Crisis Management and Multinational Operations Department of the "Carol I" National Defence University in Bucharest (2016-2017) and served with the EU Military Staff as the EU Military Training Coordinator (2011-2016). He has extensive experience in multinational training and education with the NATO PfP Regional Training Centre and Crisis Management and Multinational Department in Bucharest, Romania, where he worked as instructor, lecturer and course director (2002-2011). He was deployed with the Italian Joint Task Force in Iraq (Operation Antica Babilonia/ Iraqi Freedom) in 2004 and served with the USCENTCOM in 2006, as Romanian liaison officer, covering Afghanistan theatre of operations. Col Bodescu holds a PhD in Military Science from the "Carol I" National Defence University and a Master degree in International Relations from the National School of Political Science and Public Administration in Bucharest. His publications address international law issues (the use of force under international and national law) and military training and education-related topics.



Dr. Triantafyllos Karatrantos


Senior Advisor on Radicalisation, Organised Crime and TerrorismResearch and Prevention Policies at the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA)


Dr. Triantafyllos Karatrantos is International Relations, European Security and newthreats expert. He is Senior Advisor on Radicalisation, Organised Crime and TerrorismResearch and Prevention Policies at the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) andResearch Fellow on Radicalisation, Terrorism, Policing Models, Security and ForeignPolicy at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). Alsohe is Post- Doc Researcher on Polarisation & Prevention of Radicalisation and ViolentExtremism at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Lecturer at theNational Security School of Greece on the topics “Multiculturalism, Migration andSecurity, Intercultural Policing and Community Policing, Radicalisation and Terrorism”.He holds a PhD in European Security and New Threats from the University of the Aegean. Since 2014 hewas working at the Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) on training programs and European and researchprojects. Furthermore, he is a certified by RAN COE trainer in Radicalization and Member of the RANLOCAL Group and a CEPOL network expert and a specialized trainer on hot-spots trends and challengesand FTF’s common identification indicators.Since 2005, when awarded him as a member of a youth team his first European grant from the Program Youth,he is actively coordinating and participating to the implementation of twenty (20) European and Researchprojects (HORIZON 2020, ISF- Police, AMIF, ERASMUS+, DG JUSTICE, EDF). The last years he focuson first line practitioners training programs, especially short courses for Law Enforcement personnel onradicalisation and counter- terrorism and the research on security planning, terrorism and violent extremism,security sector reform, policing policies and models, states and the new security environment, Europeansecurity and linkages between security and foreign policy. Since July 2019 he is Security Police Advisor atthe Minister’s of Citizen Protection Office.





Dr. Andrea Gilli


Senior Researcher, NATO Defense College


Andrea Gilli is a Senior Researcher at the NATO Defense College in Rome where he works on technological change and military innovation. He holds a PhD in Social and Political Science from the European University Institute (EUI) in Fiesole (Florence, Italy), an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Turin (Italy).

Andrea has been visiting and post-doctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University, the European Union Institute for Security Studies, Columbia University, Metropolitan University Prague, Stanford University, and Harvard University.

Andrea has also worked in different capacities for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Preparatory Commission for the Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment.

Andrea′s research has received multiple awards, has been published by the best academic journals in the field and he is assigned in the most prominent universities around the world.






Director of Doctrine and Training Centre of Polish Armed Forces


Col. Jarosław MOKRZYCKI started his studies at Mechanized Infantry Officer School in Wrocław in 1989. After graduation in 1993 he was directed to 21. Mountain Infantry Brigade based in Rzeszów where he served as mountain infantry platoon leader. In 1995-1996 as an operational officer he served in the Golan Heights in the UNDOF mission. On his return he was appointed training company commander in Rzeszów.

In 2002 he graduated from three-year studies at National Defence University of Warsaw after which he was assigned to Land Forces Command as a specialist – initially in the Command Training Branch and then in the Land Force Commander’s Secretariat. 

In 2005-2006 he studied at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk (USA). On his return to the country he was appointed Head of the Allied Commitments Planning Branch in the Planning Division, Land Force Command. In 2007-2008 he served in Iraq during the 9th rotation of the Polish Military Contingent as Deputy Chief of Staff in Multinational Division Central-South. On his return he was assigned as Head of the Land Force Commander’s Secretariat and in 2010-2013 he was Head of International Co-operation Division.

In January 2014 Col. Jarosław Mokrzycki assumed the post of Deputy Commander of 21. Mountain Infantry Brigade in Rzeszów which he held until October 2017, in the last year serving as acting Commander. After that he was transferred to the West Division of the Department of Military Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defence. On July 2nd, 2018, by the decision of the Minister of National Defence he took up a position of Director of Doctrine and Training Centre of the Polish Armed Forces in Bydgoszcz.

Apart from the above-mentioned studies Col. Jarosław Mokrzycki is also a graduate of postgraduate studies at War Studies University and Kozminski University. He speaks English and Russian. His hobbies include safety engineering, information technology, and literature and mountain sports. He is married with one son.