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Guest Bios

laityMark Laity was the Strategic Communication Director at SHAPE. In 2006-7, he was NATO Spokesperson in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Media Adviser to the ISAF Commander. Previously, he was Chief of Public Information at SHAPE. In total, he did three tours in Afghanistan, in 2006/07, 2008 and 2010.
Between 2000 and 2004, Mark Laity was Special Adviser to the NATO Secretary general, Lord Robertson, and NATO’s Deputy Spokesperson.
In 2001, as the threat of civil war was looming, he was sent to North Macedonia as a personal adviser to the President. When a NATO military force was later deployed, he became Media Adviser to the NATO commander and civilian spokesperson for Operation Essential Harvest.
Laity joined NATO after 22 years in journalism, including more than a decade as BBC Defence Correspondent.
Carmen Romero was appointed NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy in October 2016. She joined NATO in May 2004 as Deputy Spokesperson and Head of Press and Media, a position she held for 12 years. She has also been Acting NATO Spokesperson, including during the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008.
Prior to this, Carmen had a long career as the Foreign Affairs Correspondent for EFE News Agency based at the United Nations in Geneva, Moscow and Paris, covering events such as the revolution in Romania, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the war in Chechnya, the crisis in Kosovo, and the NATO campaign in the former Yugoslavia. From 2001 to 2004 she was the Defence and Foreign Affairs Correspondent for EFE News Agency to the European Union and NATO. During that period, she was also special envoy to Iraq and Afghanistan.
General Curtis M. Scaparrotti is a native of Logan, Ohio, graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in 1978 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  A career infantry officer, General Scaparrotti most recently served as Commander, United States Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea. 

Prior to his service in Korea, General Scaparrotti served as the Director of the Joint Staff, Commander International Security Assistance Force and Deputy Commander U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, Commanding General of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division.  

In addition to these assignments, General Scaparrotti has served in key leadership positions at the tactical, operational and strategic level of the United States military to include Director of Operations, United States Central Command and as the 69th Commandant of Cadets at the United States Military Academy. He has commanded forces during Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM (Afghanistan), SUPPORT HOPE (Zaire/Rwanda), JOINT ENDEAVOR (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and ASSURED RESPONSE (Liberia).

Jamie Shea is currently the Professor of Strategy and Security at the University of Exeter. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Brussels think tank, Friends of Europe, and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. Dr Shea is also a member of the Senior Advisors Group of the NATO Special Operations HQ located at SHAPE, Belgium.   

Until October 2018, when he retired from NATO, Jamie Shea was a member of the NATO International Staff for 38 years. He served in a number of positions, including NATO Spokesman, Director of Information and Press, Director of Policy Planning and Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.   

Jamie Shea also serves on the Advisory Councils of a number of institutions including the European Policy Centre and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

Gregory W. Pedlow received a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the Johns Hopkins University in 1979. In 1981 he became an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Nebraska, where he taught modern German history and European diplomatic and military history. 

In 1986 he joined the History Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency and co-authored the book The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974.  

Then in 1989 he was selected to become the Chief of the Historical Office at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). In this post he served as the "institutional memory” of SHAPE, advising the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and other members of the SHAPE staff on historical matters while also preserving a full historical record of the plans, operations and activities of NATO’s Allied Command Europe (later Allied Command Operations) until his retirement in 2015. 

Pedlow also served on active duty in the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Corps from 1972 to 1974 and afterward as a reserve officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1998. He has published books and articles on 19th century Germany, the Cold War (in particular the Second Berlin Crisis of 1958-1962), NATO’s history, and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Adam Edmunds is Branch Head J7 Training Plans and Policy in SHAPE. He was commissioned in to the Royal Hampshire Regiment from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in December 1984 and joined the Regiment in Berlin.  

Over the next 12 years of Regimental duty he served in Northern Ireland (South Armagh and Londonderry), Kenya and on Salisbury Plain; lived with the Khmer Rouge as a UN Military Observer and was the Serb Liaison Officer for the 1st Bn, The Royal Welch Fusiliers in Gorazde during their UNPROFOR deployment.  After completing the Army Command and Staff Course in 1996 he commanded A Company 2 PWRR in Omagh, Northern Ireland before serving on Lt Gen Sir Mike Jackson’s staff as a G5 Plans SO2 during KFOR 1 in Kosovo - his first tour of duty with HQ ARRC.  

In 2005 he was posted to the British Embassy in Washington as the Military Assistant to the Defence Attaché where he was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and appointed to command 3rd Bn, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment in Canterbury. Following Command, he returned to the staff at Divisional level before returning to HQ ARRC as Deputy Assistance Chief of Staff Operations. This post included 6 months in Afghanistan to assume the post of Chief Operations (CHOPS).  On his return, he was selected for promotion to Colonel. 

He moved to Italy just over a year later, to the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps HQ in Italy as Deputy DCOS Operations on 1 July 2013.


Pierre Bouillon is Associate Researcher at the Research Centre of the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr.

His research focuses on French foreign policy during the 1960s and the 1970s and on the history of Central Europe during the same period. His research explores the political, military and economic dimensions in a comparative perspective. From this viewpoint, Bouillon seeks to analyze the different factors that affected French foreign and defence policies during the Cold War.


Maurice Vaïsse is Emeritus Professor. He specialises in the history of international relations and of defence. He has worked for the Sorbonne and the University of Reims and he is currently based at Science Po. Since 2008, he has headed the Scientific Council for Historical Research at the Ministry of Defence. Vaïsse is one of the editors of the Documents diplomatiques français and he is responsible for the publications covering the 1960s and 1970s. He is co-director of the journal Revue d’histoire diplomatique.

In his career, Professor Vaïsse has published extensively. Among the most relevant publications for our podcast are: La Grandeur. Politique étrangère du général de Gaulle (1958–1969), Fayard, 1998; and La Puissance ou l'Influence?, Fayard, 2009


Mr. Ilay A. D. Ferrier is a leading expert in the field of NATO crisis management, in particular with the NATO Crisis Response System (NCRS), and of NATO’s high-level, strategic political/military crisis management exercising (CMX).

Ferrier served in the UK Royal Marines (1970-95) and in the latter stages of his career, he was assigned to Exercising & Training (now J7) in Operations Division at SHAPE (1989-92). Between 1995 and 2012, Ferrier was a staff officer and, subsequently, Director of Crisis Response Systems and Exercises in the Planning Directorate, Operations Division, International Staff (IS). He was involved in the NATO HQ crisis management task forces for the Balkans Implementation Force (IFOR), Stabilization Force (SFOR), Kosovo Force (KFOR), as well as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan and Operation Unified Protector (OUP) in Libya. He also established NATO’s annual strategic political-military crisis management exercise (CMX) series in 1991/3.

Ferrier retired from NATO in 2013. Since then, he has acted as a senior mentor at the NATO Defence College, Rome, Italy; as a special adviser to the Joint Exercise Division, NATO Joint Warfare Centre, Stavanger, Norway; and as a Senior Mentor, Political Science Dept, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C. Canada.

[Awarded the Estonian Ministry of Defence Golden Badge in October 2012].

[Awarded the NATO Secretary General’s Award for Excellence in November 2003]


Franz Xaver Pfrengle is Assistant Chief of Staff J7, Force Preparation and Evaluation at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.

Pfrengle joined the service of the German Armed Forces in Munich in 1975 as an enlisted engineer officer cadet. From 1981 to 1988 he served as platoon and Coy commander. He participated in the United Nations Operation in Somalia I (UNOSOM). In October 1996, he received his first troop command of the heavy Pioneer Battalion 12 in Volkach. In July 2000, Pfrengle returned to the Leadership Academy of the German Armed Forces in Hamburg and became the course director of the 43rd General Staff Training Course of the Army.

In April 2002, he joined the Federal Ministry of Defense, this time on the planning staff in Berlin as head of department Europe, ESDP and Africa. In November 2008 he was appointed Brigadier General. From June 2015 to September 2017, Pfrengle was Chief of Staff (COS) in the Eurocorps. He was the first German General to lead the EUTM Mali.


Diego A. Ruiz Palmer has held a succession of managerial positions on the International Staff at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium. Currently, he is Special Adviser for Net Assessment in the Defence Policy and Planning Division.

Between 2010 and 2017, Mr. Ruiz Palmer established and was successively head of the Strategic Analysis Capability and the Economics and Security Assessments Unit. From 2002-2010, Diego was Head of the Council Operations Section, where he was responsible for NATO’s crisis-management arrangements, and, thereafter, of the Planning Section in NATO’s new Operations Division. In that latter capacity, he led the development of the first comprehensive political-military strategy to guide NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan, and of the NATO Maritime Security Operations concept.

Diego has published widely, including most recently Theatre Operations, High Commands and Large-Scale Exercises in Soviet and Russian Military Practice: Insights and Implications, Fellowship Monograph n°12, NATO Defense College (NDC), Rome, May 2018; The Framework Nations’ Concept and NATO: Game-Changer for a New Strategic Era or Missed Opportunity, Research Paper n°132, NDC, July 2016; and “The NATO-Warsaw Pact competition in the 1970s and 1980s: a revolution in military affairs in the making or the end of a strategic age?” Cold War History, Volume 14, No. 4, autumn 2014.

He holds degrees from The George Washington (1981) and Harvard Universities (1985) and from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris (1978).


Michael Rühle is currently Head of the Hybrid Challenges and Energy Security Section in the Emerging Security Challenges Division in NATO’s International Staff. Previously he was Head, Speechwriting, and Senior Political Advisor in the NATO Secretary General’s Policy Planning Unit. Before joining NATO's International Staff in 1991, Mr. Rühle was a Volkswagen-Fellow at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Sankt Augustin, Germany, and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C.

Mr. Rühle has published widely on international security issues in, among others, American Foreign Policy Interests, Comparative Strategy, International Affairs (Chatham House), The Journal of Transatlantic Studies, NATO Review, Parameters, Turkish Policy Quarterly and The World Today. He has also co-authored a book on missile defence.


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