The Defense Security Cooperation University’s Institute for Security Governance is the Department of Defense’s leading implementer for Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) and one of its primary international schoolhouses.


This issue welcomes new ISG Director, Ian Wexler, as well as two new faculty members, Senior Cyber Policy Advisor, Ms. Betsie Chacko, and Cyber Capability Regional Lead, Dr. Pano Yannakogeoros • Celebrates a “Season of Collaboration” among ISG colleagues • Highlights the most recent “UN Peacekeeping Operations Contingent Commanders Course” • Spotlights a State Partnership Program Workshop on African Security & Climate Change • Delves into a Theater Logistics Readiness Program Engagement in Bosnia & Herzegovina • Details ISG's Cybersecurity Efforts in Albania • Provides a glimpse into the first South Asia Regional Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange • Wishes a fond farewell to Western Hemisphere Regional Program Lead, Darryl Long • Provides a brief roundup of the many external fora in which ISG colleagues present and publish.


Welcome Director Ian Wexler

ISG would like to extend a warm welcome to ISG’s new Director, Ian S. Wexler. Mr. Wexler comes to ISG by way of our DSCU’s sister component, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS).

Under Mr. Wexler’s leadership, DIILS continued to thrive through a highly dynamic period, sustaining global mission execution during the substantial constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among many other changes, he guided DIILS through significant growth and transition, including adding Legal Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) as a major mission element, significant staff growth to meet the expanded demand for DIILS Security Cooperation programs, integration into DSCU, and the start of renovation of the DIILS Education Center.

Mr. Wexler recently retired from a distinguished 25-year career in the United States Navy (USN), and was celebrated during a retirement ceremony on Naval Station Newport, June 23, 2023. Mr. Wexler’s impressive and diverse career spans the globe. We look forward to his leadership and are all grateful to have such a distinguished colleague at the helm as we look forward to what’s next. Best of luck to Mr. Wexler as he steps into these important shoes!

Many thanks to Mr. David Manero, who has served so capably and admirably as ISG’s Acting Director for the past ten months. Mr. Manero provided excellent leadership and support both horizontally and vertically, and his style and charisma won the hearts of all. Whether it was his eclectic love of music shared at the ISG Weekly Wrap meetings, his endless dad-jokes, or his aloha Friday shirt love, Mr. Manero will be missed at the helm, but a continued and welcomed presence around ISG as he resumes his role as Senior Principal for Regional Advising at ISG.


Ms. Betsie Chacko

Senior Cyber Policy Advisor

Dr. Pano Yannakogeoros

Cyber Capability Regional Lead


A Season of Collaboration

ISG initiated a series of collaborative gatherings this quarter with many different groups of colleagues to exchange ideas and to make personal connections.

IOD Training: In July, Institute Operations Division (IOD) colleagues gathered for a full day of training using the Crucial Conversations curriculum to learn skills about how to improve engagement, efficiency, equity, and more.

Cyber Offsite: In July, ISG’s Cyber Team, situated within the Practice & Capability Division (PCD), held an offsite gathering to take stock of the rapid demand for cyber institutional capacity building as well as to plan its support for the new DoD Cyber Strategy.

RAD Visit: In August, Regional Advising Division (RAD) colleagues came from near and far for a one-week RAD Onsite Retreat to collaborate on the development and practice of ICB, and to forge and strengthen ties among this dispersed, expeditionary group of experts.

No-Host Social: During his recent visit to HQ, ISG colleagues from across the Institute gathered at the end of the work week with Acting Director Dave Manero at the Dust Bowl Brewery in Monterey, CA.

Teya Bowling: Numerous ISG Support Contractors from Team Teya gathered for a fun night of bowling and camaraderie. Strike!


UN Peacekeeping Operations Contingent Commanders Course

After ten years of being conducted abroad solely as a mobile course, the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations Contingent Commanders Course (PKOCC) was once again delivered at the ISG schoolhouse in Monterey, California. ISG’s Peacekeeping and Exercises (PKX) functional team successfully conducted the two-week resident education course for 11 high-ranking participants from Bangladesh, Cameroon, The Gambia, Liberia, Mongolia, Peru, Senegal and Zambia. The UN PKOCC is a MAJ-COL level leadership course specifically geared towards discussing in detail the real-world challenges that participants face as the commanders of national contingents in ongoing UN Peacekeeping Operations.

ISG's PKX program, led by Mr. Lance Sells and support by Ms. Cary O'Connell, is responsible for the Institute’s activities in support of Geographic Commands in building peacekeeping capacity within Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) partner nations and enhancing multi-national peacekeeping efforts. In describing how ISG’s PKX program dovetails with greater international initiatives, like GPOI, Mr. Sells said,

“The goal of ISG’s PKX program is to enable partner nation peacekeeping training centers to become fully training capable and as self-sufficient as possible. Our primary program goals are to continue to improve ties with the UN’s Integrated Training Service and to increase our activities with key partners in the peacekeeping community.”

PKX program objectives strive to not only enable training centers to receive current UN Integrated Training Service training recognition in specific courses, but also be able to self-sustain future training requirements to meet national pledges to worldwide peace operations. With that in mind, PKX courses are designed to provide up-to-date materials and training methodologies, compliant with UN training requirements that incorporate the latest lessons and best practices from ongoing missions, as well as provide unrivaled career UN expert instructor/mentor support.

One such expert featured during the latest iteration of the course was Lieutenant General (Retired) Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, the central author of Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers, otherwise known as the 2017 “Santos Cruz Report.” General Santos Cruz is a distinguished Brazilian military officer who served as a senior commander in the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. The report addressed the pressing issue of threats to peacekeepers fatalities in conflict zones and highlighted the need for stronger measures to enhance the safety and UN personnel. General Santos Cruz's insightful recommendations led to substantial improvements in peacekeeping operations, including the development of better training protocols, the adoption of more robust risk assessment procedures, and the implementation of enhanced force protection measures. His unwavering commitment to safeguarding the lives of peacekeepers continues to shape and strengthen UN peacekeeping missions worldwide.

Throughout the resident course, General Santos Cruz provided informative and illustrative vignettes from his extensive career and was able to engage in thoughtful dialogue and collaboration with course participants that no doubt proved enlightening and encouraging. His emphasis on peacekeeping efforts that invest in long-term, transparent relationships in local communities and peacekeeping operations mirrors recent shifts in the UN peacekeeping approach. It is a hallmark of ISG courses to include renowned experts from the field to amplify its learning agenda and to enhance the participants’ experience.

Through courses like the PKOCC and in-country training exercises, the PKX program has been highly effective in enhancing the training capabilities of top UN Peacekeeping contributors and advising countries engaged in expanding their peacekeeping capabilities.

About this course: The PKOCC course prepares participants to take on roles and responsibilities of contingent, battalion, and sector commanders in complex peacekeeping operations for the United Nations and other multinational organizations.

Upon completion of this course, participants are able to:

  • Understand the operational environments of today’s conflicts and commanders’ roles in integrated missions.
  • Understand the importance of consensus, coordination, and communication among all actors at the operational level.
  • Have an awareness and understanding of the various components of peacekeeping operations.
  • Understand the underpinning legal framework of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and the attendant integrated assessment and planning.
  • Understand the responsibilities and roles of effective commander leadership of peacekeeping operations personnel.
  • Apply basic principles of negotiation and mediation.

Course topics may include United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and the integrated mission planning process; human rights and gender; conflict management; negotiations and mediation; the United Nations system, various field agencies, and operational coordination among them.


State Partnership Program Workshop on African Security & Climate Change

ISG, in coordination with the National Guard Bureau - International Affairs (NGB-IA) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), conducted a symposium focused on “African Security and Climate Change” from 31 May-1 June 2023 for State Partnership Programs (SPP) partnered with African countries.

The workshop brought together stakeholders from the SPP teams, the NGB-IA, AFRICOM J5, the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy (OSD-P), the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of State (DOS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and other experts to dialogue on the nexus between climate change and Security Cooperation; to promote whole of government-regional approaches, and to develop recommendations for better integrating climate security into broader Security Cooperation and SPP activities.

U.S. government stakeholders reviewed their climate security related initiatives and considered opportunities for betting integrating efforts with SPPs in supporting partner nations to combat climate change and to build climate resiliency.

Policy makers engaged SPP participants on funding and planning challenges related to integrating climate security into SPP planning and aligned with country and AFRICOM’s campaign plans.

Participants and panelists reiterated the importance of developing country-context specific efforts, sensitive to the needs of each community, especially in cases where there may be distrust between communities and security forces.

State Partnership Programs have a comparative advantage, utilizing their extensive, long-term partnerships and regional knowledge to support partner nations in effectively addressing climate security concerns. However, the successful implementation of SPP initiatives necessitates adequate support and resourcing.

SPP participants outlined the challenges and complexity of pairing appropriate authorities to leverage state civilian expertise in support of climate informed initiatives. SPPs also highlighted the need for better lines of communication and integrating mechanisms to facilitate coordination with other US government agencies with the support of the country team.

The DoD and Combatant Commands are currently assessing their roles and responsibilities in supporting climate security efforts. SPPs, in turn, are assessing the expertise of their state to better foster civil-military cooperation with partner nations in support of climate security.

ISG State Partnership Program Education Lead, Dr. Vino Roy, noted that “the interagency dialogues at the workshops will inform our collective efforts to incorporate climate security considerations and thinking into future Security Cooperation.”


ISG Executes a Theater Logistics Readiness Program Engagement in Bosnia & Herzegovina

ISG Logistics experts, along with colleagues from DSCU and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy – Global Partnerships (OUSD GP), recently executed a two-week Theater Logistics Readiness Program (TLRP) engagement in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BIH). Among the Balkan allies who participated were twenty officers from the militaries of BIH, Albania, North Macedonia, and Montenegro. ISG’s primary role was to facilitate the NATO Logistics Interoperability workshop, with support from the BIH Office for Defense Cooperation and U.S. European Command (USEUCOM).

TLRP’s overall objective is to enhance interoperability among key participating countries. Enhanced interoperability is crucial in the planning and execution of forming, deploying, sustaining, and redeploying units. An emphasis is placed on the development of multinational logistics support, and on providing coordinated host nation support that complements preplanned access, basing, and overflight. Altogether, these elements enhance the speed of logistics support and onward movement across the EUCOM area of responsibility.

The two workshops, “Host Nation Support” and “Regional Logistics,” built towards a culminating exercise where participants demonstrated their understanding of the material and developed country specific recommendations for their leadership to better integrate NATO logistics doctrine and policies into national logistics policy and procedures. TLRP is designed around increasing interoperability for a commonly agreed upon set of standards for NATO and Partnership for Peace countries. Using this model outside the NATO context could include facilitating regional best practice conversations and seeking agreement on common regional best practices among partners. The regional workshops also provide a great opportunity to build relationships and forge long standing lines of communication among neighboring countries within a region. Additionally, these workshops provide a vehicle for allies and partners to contribute to NATO interoperability and partner development. TLRP clearly enhances logistics institutional capacity building across the EUCOM AOR.

Allies and partners actively participated throughout the workshop. ISG received very positive feedback from all the participants. ISG Logistics Lead, Mr. David Shealy noted:

“The most common feedback was that the workshops provided immense value as building blocks for logistics tabletop exercises, (tabletop exercises are designed into the TLRP Special Security Cooperation Initiatives (SSCI) for partners that do not have regular opportunities to test NATO interoperability), and that these are important regional logistics networking events that help facilitate regional problem solving and working together.”

Logistics Capacity Building (LCB) is a critical functional area within ISG that is focused on improving the ability of our partners and allies to sustain their own forces and operate in multinational operations.

ISG Cyber Experts Collaborate with Albanian Ministry of Defense and Albanian Agencies on Cybersecurity

Amidst today's evolving cybersecurity challenges, Albania's Ministry of Defense (MoD) took a bold step towards fortifying its cyber defenses by partnering with the ISG during a recent weeklong cyber advising engagement with Albania’s MoD and other key government organizations responsible for ensuring cyber resilience of the nation’s networks and data. The engagement is the second in a two-year series of non-resident cyber capacity-building advising missions with Albania’s MoD. ISG’s cyber strategy development workshop enabled MoD and other key government officials to clarify their mutual understanding of national and defense cyber strategies and to plan for strategy implementation and resourcing. The workshop led to a greater understanding of how civilian ministry and MoD cyber organizations can better communicate and collaborate in protecting Albania’s cyber infrastructure.

Personnel from the General Staff J5, MoD, Military Cyber Unit (MCU), National Authority for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security (AKCESK), and the National Agency for Information Society (AKSHI) participated in the four-day cyber strategy development workshop. ISG experts guided exercises and discussions that led participants to develop new insights and identified concrete steps that could be taken to improve Albania’s cybersecurity posture. Participants took cyber operations best practices and principles and applied them to Albania’s strategies, security priorities, and context. The workshop emphasized the development of action plans for priority lines of effort that identify goals and objectives as well as specific tasks to guide current and future actions and decision-making at the ministerial level. These lines of effort will shape and inform decisions related to cyber budgeting, acquisition, workforce, and operations.

ISG will continue to conduct engagements with the Albanian MoD over the next several years on cyber strategy and policy and to assist in developing the cyber workforce. Albania will welcome a Ministry of Defense Advisor (MoDA), who will directly support the MCU with advice and assistance as it grows and develops its cyber capabilities. The MoDA will reside in Albania for two years and contribute to ISG’s non-resident advising and education efforts. Albania is demonstrating a strong commitment to developing their cybersecurity capabilities and contributing to NATO, European Union, and United States efforts to reinforce the norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

ISG Cyber Capability Lead Mr. David Radcliffe notes “Albania is an important partner of the United States, and we continue to be impressed with the energy and enthusiasm our colleagues in Albania are devoting to improving their cyberspace capabilities. We look forward to continuing to work side-by-side with our Albanian friends on cyber institutional capacity building.”


ISG Facilitates Seminal South Asia Regional Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange

The first South Asia Regional Disaster Response Exercise and Exchange (DREE) ended successfully with the closing ceremony at the end of July at the National Guard Headquarters in Guam. Guam’s governor, the Honorable Lou Leon Guerrero, served as the keynote speaker.

The themes of the eight-day exercise were regional cooperation, civil-military integration, and coordinated Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response for disasters in South Asia. The event was sponsored by the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC). It brought together more than 120 participants from nine nations, as well as government, non-governmental, and international organizations. Personnel worked together either through phased events that included expert academic discussions; a special focus session on Women, Peace, and Security; a tabletop, and a field training exercise.

ISG led the facilitation of the expert academic discussions and tabletop exercise components of the training. ISG's Lead for Emergency Management & Resilience Mr. Scott Moreland observed that “what distinguishes this exercise is that it is truly a partner-led effort. Our partner planners have served on our core planning team from the very beginning.” Moreland emphasized that while presentations by experts were important, providing opportunities for participants to exchange knowledge and experiences was essential. “We deliberately designed the exercise together to ensure that participant-led activities were the main training events.”

USARPAC’s Master Sergeant Leia Puco is no stranger to the DREE series, having served on six national DREE events over the last few years. Master Sgt. Puco reinforced the power of participant-led exchanges. “We learn so much every time we get together with different people, different nations who come to solutions in their own creative ways.”

ISG’s Ms. Steph Meyer further noted that the enthusiastic participant interaction and immediate feedback to participants' questions made the event successful. “We couldn’t have asked for a better training audience. They are all experts with direct experience preparing for and responding to a whole range of disasters throughout the region.” Ms. Meyer further highlighted that, “we were truly facilitators of their event rather than experts teaching the uninitiated. We learned a tremendous amount from these senior leaders and career professionals over the course of the exercise.”


Darryl Long

In the ever-evolving landscape of international security assistance and defense cooperation, individuals like Darryl Long shine as beacons of dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment. For over a decade, Mr. Long has been an integral part of the Institute for Security Governance, leaving an indelible mark on the organization and its mission.

Mr. Darryl Long's journey with ISG began in April 2012, when he assumed the role of Western Hemisphere Regional Program Lead within its Regional Advising Division following a distinguished military career in the U.S. Army during the Cold War; the Drug War, the War on Terrorism; and culminating in consecutive U.S. Embassy assignments in Bolivia, Colombia, and Pakistan.

Since then, Darryl Long's expertise and dedication to the Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) mission has spanned over one dozen countries in the Western Hemisphere. His tireless ICB advocacy with allies and partners developed and/or strengthened bilateral and multilateral defense relationships. His visionary ICB leadership fostered increasingly sophisticated Department of Defense, NATO, and hemispheric leader discussions regarding defense and security policy, strategy, plans, and programs.

When asked about his advice for colleagues, Mr. Long's words echo his enduring spirit: “Continue to fight the good fight on behalf of our nation and our global partners.” As a life-long “Latin Americanist,” he inevitably also wanted to thank all his Central and South American friends and colleagues with whom he’s had the privilege of working for almost four decades.

Darryl, we thank you for your work with our partners, for your professionalism and kindness to your ISG colleagues, and for your investment in the mission of this organization. We wish you fair winds and following seas.


The ISG Team is comprised of over 110 civilian government faculty and staff, to include a robust contract support team. Drawing from their experience at ISG and their backgrounds in military, government, industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations, ISG personnel consistently bring to bear their subject matter expertise in both formal ISG mission work as well as in external intellectual presentations and publications.

In FY23, ISG experts engaged in +20 speaking and media activities, and published half a dozen articles and thought pieces, in venues aimed at academic, government, military, industry, and general public audiences. For example, speaking venues have included the United States Army Special Operations Command, the Tesla Government Civil Affairs Working Group, the International Studies Association, and the U.S. Naval Academy; while publishing venues have included the United States Air Force JAG Reporter, War on the Rocks, and Chatham House International Affairs Review.

Mr. Nicholas Tomb Speaks at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Mr. Nicholas Tomb spoke at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA to present to their summer program cohort on U.S. Security Cooperation and careers in international relations. Additionally, he was able to participate in a virtual presentation to the Tesla Government Civil Affairs Working Group, where his presentation centered on Civil-Military Operations (CMO) as a practical means to perform Civil Affairs to enhance Civil-Military Relations.

Ms. Michelle Cortez Participates in DSCA Resiliency Panel

Well done to Ms. Michelle Cortez for her participation in DSCA July Resiliency Panel. Ms. Cortez shared the story of her young daughter’s critical health issues and relayed how going through this unfathomable challenge has made her family not just stronger but more compassionate as well.

Mr. Dave Shealy Speaks to Northeastern University Students in Sarajevo

During a recent Institutional Capacity Building engagement in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, ISG Logistics Functional Lead Mr. Dave Shealy had the opportunity to mentor Northeastern University students on a study abroad program. Mr. Shealy shared insights on the Balkan war in the 90s, the status of NATO, the war in Ukraine, and the ICB work the U.S. is doing, both in the Balkans, and other critical Allies in Europe.

Dr. Whitney Grespin Awarded Fellowships

Congratulations to Dr. Whitney Grespin on her appointment as a Visiting Research Fellow with the prestigious King's College London at the Defence Academy, her alma mater. Considered to be one of the world's best universities, King's College London ranks in the top 35 universities worldwide. Dr. Grespin was also named a 2023-24 Non-Resident Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University.

Ms. Ashley Woodson Participates in Center for Climate Fellowship Program

Kudos to Ms. Ashley Woodson for being selected to participate in the Center for Climate and Security's "Climate Security Fellowship" program from September 2023 to May 2024. We're excited to see what she brings back to the Institute in light of the new climate security initiative supported by U.S. Department of State.


Working with Us

Working with ISG brings you into a rich community of individuals who strive to address emergent security challenges and to grow global partnerships through Institutional Capacity Building. Check for exciting opportunities to Join our Team.

Heron Spotting

The Heron is the unofficial mascot that roams the ISG lawn looking for moles and nesting on nearby Lake Del Monte. Herons are also symbols of partnership, exploration, intelligence, guidance, determination, and transformation—all of which ISG embodies in its important work.

Previous Issues of the Heron

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