Selection Committee - NATO2030 Program

THO is excited to launch in conjunction with the NATO Defense College Foundation, the NATO2030 Fellowship. This unique program, the first in the world to focus on analysis solely covering NATO2030, seeks to give young and mid-career professionals an opportunity to contribute meaningful dialogue and analysis on NATO and its future trajectory. Centering around the themes that characterize NATO, this program will allow fellows to conduct research and produce publications –– framing their work around transatlantic policies facing NATO and Allied members. The NATO 2030 Fellowship allows its fellows to engage directly with the NATO framework and have an impactful part in shaping the vision for a resilient 21st century NATO. Stay tuned for more as we launch this program!

H.E. Ambassador Tacan Ildem is a seasoned Turkish career diplomat and has held several positions since joining the foreign service in 1978. Some of his esteemed positions include: Political Counsellor, Head of NATO Military Affairs Department, Turkish Ambassador to the Netherlands, and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy. His extensive diplomatic experience facilitated his membership of the NATO 2030 Experts Group. Ildem is a graduate of the Faculty of Political Science of Ankara University. In the same breath, he is a recipient of the decoration of Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity and the Medal of Gratitude of Albania.


H.E. Ambassador Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo is a well-versed Italian diplomat in transatlantic and European affairs. He is the President of the NATO Defense College Foundation, the Former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, and the Former Acting Secretary General of NATO. In addition to his role as a diplomat, he is a scholar and has authored several books including: “The road to Kabul,” “A political journey without maps. Diversity and future in the Greater Middle East,” and “NATO and the Middle East: The Making of a Partnership.”


H.E. Ambassador Gabriele Checchia is a life long diplomat of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he has served in Mexico, France, and Turkey. He was then assigned to the Directorate General for Political Affairs, CIS and Central/Eastern European Countries Desk, where he attended NATO and EU meetings dealing with former Soviet Union nations. More recently, Mr. Checchia has served as Ambassador of Italy to Lebanon in which he led development projects on healthcare and social issues. Mr. Checchia then returned to Rome and was appointed Special Envoy of the Italian MFA for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is now the Diplomatic Advisor to the Minister of Defense.

Lt. General (Ret.) Ben Hodges is a retired US Army Former Commander, NATO allied Land Commander, and Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Analysis (CEPA). He joined CEPA in February of 2018 and is a native of Quincy, Florida and graduated from the United States Military Academy in May of 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2018.

Can Kasapoglu is a defense analyst and Director of Defense and Security at the Istanbul based think tank: Center for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies or EDAM, specializing in topics such as strategic weapon systems with a concentration in chemical & biological warfare, missile proliferation, missile defense, hybrid warfare, and NATO’s collective defense and security. He was also an Eisenhower Fellow at the NATO Defense College and a visiting scholar at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.

U.S. Colonel (Ret.) Richard Outzen is a Senior Advisor at Dragoman LLC, a former Colonel Foreign Area Officer, and a Former Senior Military Adviser at the U.S. State Department. With over thirty years of active military service, he has held a variety of command, staff, and liaison positions, and spent a decade in the Middle East, including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Outzen has a B.A. from Dartmouth, an M.A. from the Naval Postgraduate School, and an M.S. from the Eisenhower School. He is currently a doctoral candidate at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

Professor Alessandro Politi is the director of NDCF, and a global and political strategist. He is the former director of the NATO Defense College Foundation and has taken part in high-level training and research. Politi was a teacher until 2016 of geopolitics and intelligence at the MFA and UN-affiliated SIOI. In tandem, he also taught conflict management, crisis, peace-making, strategic, and open-source intelligence.

Lieutenant General Jan Broeks is the former Director General of the International Military Staff at NATO Headquarters, serving from 2016 until 2019, and was a lecturer in Strategic Studies at the Netherlands’ Institute for Defence Studies. He served several decades in the Royal Netherlands Army, starting as a 2nd Lieutenant and rising to the rank of Lieutenant General as the Military Representative of the Netherlands to the Military Committees of NATO and the EU. He was awarded the NATO Meritorious Medal for his outstanding service at the Alliance. He studied at the Royal Military Academy in Breda, as well as at the Army Command and Staff College at Camberley. He currently serves as a senior mentor at the NATO defence college, and as a senior mentor for NATO’s strategic environment and joint logistics. Lastly, he serves as the vice-chairman of the committee on Peace and Security for the Advisory Council on international Affairs (AIV).