Small Wars Journal

El Centro Fellows

El Centro Fellows

The El Centro Fellows have expertise in and commitment to Latin America, support SWJ's particular focus on the small wars in the region, and agree with SWJ's general approach to advancing discussion and awareness in the field through community dialog and publishing.

El Centro Associates are actively engaged in research or practice in the region and in transnational organized crime or insurgency. The Fellows have already made significant and distinguished contributions to the field through the course of their career. The Senior Fellows are Fellows that are central to producing SWJ El Centro and are very active in managing our work in this focus area.

Senior Fellows

  • Robert J. Bunker
  • Nathan P. Jones
  • John P. Sullivan


  • Pablo A. Baisotti
  • Michael L. Burgoyne
  • Edgardo Buscaglia
  • Howard Campbell
  • Mahmut Cengiz 
  • Irina A. Chindea
  • Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera
  • José de Arimatéia da Cruz
  • Steven S. Dudley
  • Patricia H. Escamilla-Hamm
  • Douglas Farah
  • Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca
  • Ioan Grillo
  • Gary J. Hale
  • Paul Rexton Kan
  • Robert Killebrew
  • Max G. Manwaring
  • Molly Molloy
  • Robert Muggah
  • Luz E. Nagle
  • Stephen M. Noguera
  • Alexandra Phelan
  • Jonathan D. Rosen
  • Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán
  • Teun Voeten
  • Marzena Żakowska


  • Pamela Ligouri Bunker
  • Alma Keshavarz
  • David A. Kuhn
  • Marisa Mendoza
  • Daniel Weisz Argomedo


  • America Y. Alvarado Alvarez
  • Pilar Glaser
  • Zachary Z. Horsington

Past Fellows

  • George W. Grayson
  • Robert H. Scales
  • Graham H. Turbiville, Jr.


In alphabetical order, by last name:

America Y. Alvarado Alvarez is a junior at Sam Houston State University majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Middle Eastern Studies. She is currently learning the Arabic language in hopes to become trilingual. Additionally, she is interested in obtaining her master’s degree in homeland security and working in the federal law enforcement field. America is involved in several criminal justice organizations where she has held or currently holds executive board positions. Currently, America is employed with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a corrections officer.

Pablo A. Baisotti received his PhD in Politics, Institutions and History from the University of Bologna School of Political Science in 2015. Before that he received an M.Phil. in International Relations Europe-Latin America from the University of Bologna in 2008 and an M.A. in Law and Economic Integration from the University Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and University del Salvador in 2007. He was Fellow Researcher at the University Sun Yat-sen in China and Full-time Research Fellow at the Maria Sibylla Merian Center, University of Costa Rica. Currently he is Associate Researcher at the Department of Latin American Studies University of Brasilia, and External Lecturer at the Institute of Iberian and Ibero-American Studies, Warsaw University. As editor/author he has published more than 20 books on Latin American history, politics, literature and economic policy.

Michael L. Burgoyne is a former US Army Foreign Area Officer, he served in various policy and security cooperation positions in the Americas including assignments as the Army Attaché in Mexico, the Andean Ridge Desk Officer at U.S. Army South, and the Senior Defense Official in Guatemala. He deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in command and staff positions and served as the Defense Attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is the co-author of The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa, a tactical primer on counterinsurgency. He holds an M.A. in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College and an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University. He is currently a PhD student at King’s College London.

Pamela Ligouri Bunker is Managing Partner, C/O Futures, LLC, and is a researcher and analyst specializing in international security and terrorism related narratives. She holds undergraduate degrees in anthropology-geography and social sciences from California State Polytechnic University Pomona, an M.A. in public policy from the Claremont Graduate University, and an M.Litt. in terrorism studies from the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland. She is co-editor of Global Criminal and Sovereign Free Economies and the Demise of the Western Democracies: Dark Renaissance (Routledge, 2015) and has published many referred and professional works including additional books.

Robert J. Bunker is Director of Research and Analysis, C/O Futures, LLC, and an Instructor at the Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. He holds university degrees in political science, government, social science, anthropology-geography, behavioral science, and history and has undertaken hundreds of hours of counterterrorism training. Past professional associations include Minerva Chair at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College and Futurist in Residence, Training and Development Division, Behavioral Science Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, Quantico. Dr. Bunker has well over 500 publications—including about 40 books as co-author, editor, and co-editor—and can be reached at   

Edgardo Buscaglia is presently a Senior Scholar in Law and Economics at Columbia University (USA); the Director of the International Law and Economics Development Centre; and President of the Institute for Citizens Action (Mexico).  Professor Dr. Buscaglia currently serves as Visiting Senior Academic at the Università degli Studi di Torino (Italy) and Visiting Professor at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires (Argentina).  Prof. Dr. Buscaglia has served as Visiting Professor of Law and Economics at the Mexican Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM–Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) between 2003-2013 and at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM–Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 2013, Georgetown University (USA) between 1995 and 1996 and Hamburg University (Germany) in 2014.  Prof. Dr. Buscaglia was affiliated as a Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University between 1991 and 2008, and Director of the International Law and Economic Development Center at the University of Virginia until 2005. Dr, Buscaglia also served as United Nations staff, United Nations external adviser and as World Bank staff. Dr. Buscaglia’s worldwide applied research field work on organized crime and terrorism financing covers 119 countries.  In 1995, he co-founded the Latin-American and Caribbean Law and Economics Association (ALACDE). He received his legal postdoctoral training in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at the University of California at Berkeley and received a master’s in law and economics and a PhD in law and economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.

Howard Campbell is a professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He is the author or editor of seven academic volumes including a 2021 book from University of Texas Press called Downtown Juárez: Underworlds of Violence and Abuse. Dr. Campbell received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1990. He has been a professor at UTEP since 1991, and chairman of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at UTEP since 2014. He is a specialist in Latin American Studies with a primary focus on Mexico. 

Mahmut Cengiz is an Assistant Professor and Research Faculty with Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Dr. Cengiz has international field experience where he has delivered capacity building and training assistance to international partners in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. He also has been involved in the research projects for the Brookings Institute, European Union, and various US agencies.

 Irina A. Chindea is a Political Scientist with the Washington D.C. office of the RAND Corporation. Irina's research interests focus on transnational illicit networks, irregular warfare, asymmetric threats, the nexus between finance and the activities of non-state armed groups, with a regional focus on Latin America and the Middle East. Irina has conducted extensive field research in Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and Canada for her doctoral dissertation on patterns of cooperation and conflict among criminal organizations. She holds a PhD in International Relations and an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a B.Sc. in Business Administration from the Academy of Economics in Bucharest, Romania. Prior to joining RAND, she was a post-doctoral research fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and a Visiting Assistant Professor with University at Albany (SUNY), where she taught classes on International Relations Theory, Comparative Foreign Policies, Homeland Security, and Research Methods. 

Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera is Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University. She holds a PhD in Political Science from The New School for Social Research. Her areas of expertise are organized crime, migration studies, US-Mexico relations, border studies, drug policy, social movements, and human trafficking. She is author of Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico (University of Texas Press, 2017; Spanish version: Planeta, 2018). Her newest book (co-authored with Sergio Chapa) is entitled Frontera: A Journey Across the U.S.-Mexico Border (Texas Christian University Press, 2024). Professor Correa-Cabrera is Past President of the Association for Borderlands Studies (ABS). She is co-editor of the International Studies Perspectives (ISP) journal.

José de Arimatéia da Cruz is a Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics, Department of Criminal Justice, Social & Political Science, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia. He holds a PhD in Political Science, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; M.A. in Political Science/Political Philosophy, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; M.S. in Criminal Justice (Cyber Affairs and Security) Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia; and B.A. in Philosophy, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. He has published in the Journal of Politics & Policy, Studies Revue Canadienne des Etudes Latino-Americaines et Caraib, Law Enforcement Executive Forum, International Social Science Review, The Latin Americanist, Latin American Politics and Society, and Journal of Third World Studies. 

Steven S. Dudley is the co-founder and co-director of InSight Crime, and a senior fellow at American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies in Washington, D.C. He is the former Bureau Chief of The Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia (Routledge 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba and Miami for National Public Radio and The Washington Post, among others. Dudley has a B.A. in Latin American History from Cornell University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2007, and is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. In 2012 to 2013, he was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His second book is MS-13: The Making of the World’s Most Notorious Gang (HarperCollins, 2020).

Patricia H. Escamilla-Hamm specializes in US-Mexico security and defense cooperation and the combat of transnational organized crime. She is a scholar and  independent consultant and former Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, National Defense University in Washington, DC. Dr. Escamilla conducts research and frequently lectures at academic and government institutions and other fora.  She taught at the University of California at Irvine (UCI), and was assistant professor at Iowa State University (ISU) and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Colef, Tijuana, Mexico). Dr. Escamilla has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California; M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Dr. Escamilla-Hamm was born and raised in Mexico City, but pursued her academic career in the US.

Douglas Farah is president of IBI Consultants, LLC and senior visiting fellow at the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. He specializes in field research, works as a consultant and subject matter expert on security challenges, terrorism and transnational organized crime in Latin America, both for the U.S. government and the private sector. For the two decades before consulting (1985-2005), Farah worked as a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter for The Washington Post covering the civil wars in Central America and the drug wars in the Andean region. He is the author of dozens of articles and monographs in peer reviewed journals and the media and Blood From Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (2004) and Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes and the Man Who Makes War Possible (with Stephen Braun, 2007). 

Vanda Felbab-Brown is Director of the Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors and a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy, Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology at the Brookings Institution. She is an expert on illicit economies and international and internal conflicts and their management, including counterinsurgency. She focuses particularly on South Asia, Burma, the Andean region, Mexico, and Somalia. Dr. Felbab-Brown is the author of Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs (Brookings Institution Press, 2009) which examines military conflict and illegal economies in Colombia, Peru, Afghanistan, Burma, Northern Ireland, India, and Turkey. She is also the author of numerous policy reports, academic articles, and opeds. A frequent commentator in US and international media, Dr. Felbab-Brown regularly testifies on these issues in the US Congress. She received her PhD in Political Science from MIT and her B.A. from Harvard University.

Luis Jorge Garay-Salamanca is an industrial engineer and Magister in Economics at the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia), and PhD in Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the Academic Director at the Vortex Foundation. Dr. Garay has been a Visiting Scholar at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He teaches at the Universities de los Andes and Nacional de Colombia. He served as a Visiting Scholar and Consultant at the InterAmerican Development Bank, and as a Consultant at the United Nations Program for Development in Colombia, the National Planning Department and Ministries of Finance, Foreign Trade and Foreign Affairs in Colombia. At the present is the director of the National Process of Verification of Human, Social and Economic Rights of the forced displaced population in Colombia. He has authored more than 40 books and published numerous essays in specialized journals in Colombia and the United States, in topics like international migration and remittances, international trade and economic integration, foreign debt management, industrial development and international competitiveness, globalization, corruption and capture of State, and social exclusion.

Pilar Glaser is pursuing a Master’s in Homeland Security Studies at Sam Houston State University. She is interested in using quantitative analytics to investigate transnational crime. She is a former intelligence designator for the United States Naval Officer Candidate School and Division I athlete at Loyola University Chicago. Her El Centro project assesses crimes in the United States and Mexico using social network analysis.

George W. Grayson was a founding El Centro fellow until his death in 2015. He was 1938 Professor of Government Emeritus at the College of William and Mary. He was a specialist on Latin American Politics, with a particular interest in Mexico. He wrote over 30 books and monographs on international affairs.  Most recently, these include The Cartels: The Story of Mexico's Most Dangerous Criminal Organizations and Their Impact on U.S. Security (Prager, 2013) and The Executioner’s Men: Inside Los Zetas (co-authored with Sam Logan, Transaction Press, 2012).  His other publications include: Consequences of Vigilantism in Mexico for the United States (Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2011); Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State? (Transaction, 2010), La Familia Drug Cartel: Implications for U.S.-Mexican Security (Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2010); Mexico’s Struggle with Drugs and Thugs (Foreign Policy Association, 2009); and Mexican Messiah: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Penn State University Press, 2007). He served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for 27 years and was a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, D.C. and an Associate Scholar of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. Grayson earned his B.A. at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), his M.A. and PhD at the Johns Hopkins University (Nitze School of Advanced International Studies), and a J.D. at the William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law.  He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Ioan Grillo is a journalist and writer based in Mexico City. He has covered Latin America since 2001 for media including Time Magazine, the New York Times, Reuters, BBC, Letras Libres and many others. He specializes on drugs cartels, gangs and crime wars. He has also worked on documentaries for the History Channel, National Geographic, and Al Jazeera. He is the author of Blood Gun Money: How America Arms Gangs and Cartels (2021), Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America (2016), and El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency (2011). 

Gary J. Hale is a law enforcement and intelligence professional who retired from the federal government in 2010 after a 37-year career with various intelligence community and federal law enforcement agencies. His last assignment was as the Chief of Intelligence in the Houston Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Hale also served with the Army Security Agency from 1972-1978 throughout Europe. He joined the DEA in 1979 while serving as a Task Force Agent and Narcotics Officer detached from the Laredo, Texas Police Department where he served from 1978-1979.  While at DEA he served at the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), La Paz, Bolivia, Bogotá, Colombia, New Orleans, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Hale was also assigned as the DEA intelligence chief at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City where he participated in the hunt for Amado Carrillo-Fuentes, the “Lord of the Skies.” In 2011 and 2012, he served as the Law Enforcement-Intelligence Program Coordinator for the Mérida Initiative at the US Embassy in Mexico City.  Hale has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Franklin Pierce University), a Master’s Degree in Judicial Policy (Universidad de Almería, España), and is an alumnus of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Leadership. In 2010, Hale was appointed as a Drug Policy Fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Zachary Z. Horsington has been involved with The Global Security Initiative ( since 2020 and plans to pursue a doctoral program in the future. He holds a Bachelor of International Security Studies from the Australian National University and just completed a Master of Sciences in Counterterrorism, Risk Management and Resilience from Cranfield University. He wrote his Masters thesis on unconventional counterterrorism red-teaming exercises, has language proficiency in Mandarin and Swiss German, and has traveled to over thirty countries. His SWJ-El Centro internship broadly focuses on Criminal Armed Groups (CAGs), Climate Conflict, Hybrid Threats and Transnational Organized Crime, and the Use of Generative AI to Counter Threats related to these issues. 

Nathan P. Jones is an Associate Professor of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University and a Non-resident Scholar for Rice University’s Baker Institute Mexico Center. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Irvine and won an Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation Fellowship to conduct fieldwork in Mexico on organized crime. He participated in the National Defense Intelligence College-University of San Diego Mexico Project. He presented his work “The Four Phases of the Arellano Felix Organization” at the University of Guadalajara, the University of San Diego and the National Defense Intelligence College in Washington, D.C. He also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of San Diego, Trans-Border Institute. Jones published Mexico's Illicit Drug Networks and the State Reaction (Georgetown University Press, 2016).

Paul Rexton Kan is currently Professor of National Security Studies at the US Army War College. He is also the author of the books Drugs and Contemporary Warfare (Potomac Books, 2009) and Cartels at War: Mexico's Drug Fueled Violence and the Threat to US National Security (Potomac Books, 2012). His most recent book is Drug Trafficking and International Security (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). In 2011, he was the Senior Visiting Counternarcotics Advisor with ISAF in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Alma Keshavarz previously served in the Office of Policy Planning at the Department of State where she covered Iran and Iraq. She received her PhD in Political Science at Claremont Graduate University. Her dissertation focused on hybrid warfare applied to the Islamic State, Russia, and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. She previously earned a MA in political science at the same institution. She also holds an MPP from Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy and a BA in Political Science and English from University of California, Davis. Her research interests include non-state actors, cyber security and warfare, and national security strategy with a regional focus on Middle East politics, specifically Iran, Iraq, and Syria. She has written a number of SWJ articles and has also co-published a number of the works for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), Fort Leavenworth, KS. She is fluent in Spanish and Farsi and is a past Non-resident Fellow in Terrorism and Security Studies at TRENDS Research & Advisory.

Robert Killebrew is a private consultant in national defense issues. He is a retired Army infantry colonel with service in US Army Special Forces and airborne units, and he has taught national and military strategy at the US Army War College. He is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Center for a New American Security and co-author of Crime Wars; Gangs, Cartels and U.S. National Security (CNAS, 2010).

David A. Kuhn is an Associate with C/O Futures, LLC and the Principal of VTAC Training Solutions. He has over 3200 hours in the planning and execution of complex and hazardous underwater operations along with extensive training and certification in HAZMAT, WMD, IED, and incident and project management from US military and related entities. He provides specialized law enforcement and first responder training throughout the United States, focusing on terrorism incident response, threat mitigation, and interdiction.  He is a recognized authority in the area of military standoff weapons and deployment, MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems), and forensic analysis of incident areas where such weapons or explosives have been deployed. Additionally, Mr. Kuhn has developed a number of comprehensive, advanced training courses designed to provide law enforcement agencies and Special Response Teams with the knowledge needed to address these emerging threats. He has taught these courses to more than 51 law enforcement agencies including police department special response teams (SRT), EOD units, FBI, DOJ, US Secret Service, US Marshal’s Service, TSA (Transportation Security Administration), US Coast Guard, and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since 1999. He has published a wide variety of articles and reports related to weaponry and munitions analysis pertaining to the Mexican cartels and terrorist groups. 

Max G. Manwaring, is a retired Professor of Military Strategy at the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College, has held the General Douglas MacArthur  Chair of Research at the USAWC, and is a retired US Army colonel. Over the past 30+ years, he has served in various military and civilian positions.  They include the US Southern Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Dickinson College, and Memphis University.  Dr. Manwaring is the author and co-author of several articles, chapters, and books dealing with intra-national and international security affairs, political-military affairs, insurgency, counter-insurgency, and gangs.  His recent works include The Complexity of Modern Irregular War,University of Oklahoma Press, 2012,  “El lexico de seguridad desde Wesfalia hasta hoy:  Un cuento aleccionador” (“The Security Lexicon from Westphalia to Today:  A Cautionary Tale”),  Air and Space Power Journal in Español, 2017, and Manwaring’s Confronting the Evolving Global Security Landscape:  Lessons from the Past and Present, Praeger, 2019. Dr. Manwaring is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, and holds an M.A. and a PhD in political science from the University of Illinois. Dr. Manwaring remains active in the national security community, and may be contacted at

Marisa Mendoza is a PhD student in Political Science (Politics and Policy Concentration) at Claremont Graduate University. She has extensive expertise in government contracts and grant proposals, securing a total of $100 million to fund academic and support services for various government and non-profit agencies. Ms Mendoza holds an Executive MBA from the Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University and a Master of Social Work (MSW) and BS in General Studies (English concentration) from the University of Southern California. She has a research interest in prison gangs and transnational organized crime and is fluent in Spanish. 

Molly Molloy is a research librarian and border and Latin American specialist at the New Mexico State University Library in Las Cruces, NM. She is the creator and editor of the Frontera List, a forum for news and discussion of border issues. Since 2008 she has provided detailed documentation of homicides in Mexico, with an emphasis on Ciudad Juarez. More than 11,000 people have been murdered in Juarez since 2008, making that border city the epicenter of the recent hyperviolence in Mexico. She translated and co-edited El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin (Nation Books, 2011) and has written for The Nation, Phoenix New Times [here and here], Narco News Bulletin, and other publications. Molloy is often called upon to consult with academic researchers, attorneys and journalists about the violence in Mexico.

Robert Muggah is a Principal at SecDev, a digital risk group that works with governments, companies and international organizations. He also co-founded the Igarapé Institute, a think and do tank working at the interface of public, digital and climate security. He is a non-resident fellow or faculty at Princeton University, Singularity University, the Graduate Institute in Geneva, the University of British Columbia and the University of San Diego. In the past, he directed research at the Small Arms Survey (2000-2011). Robert has consulted with McKinsey´s, Google and Uber as well as the United Nations, Inter-American Development Bank, and World Bank, among others, in over 30 countries. He is a regular contributor to the Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Guardian, Globe and Mail, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and other media outlets. Robert is the author of eight books, including most recently (with Ian Goldin), Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years (Penguin/Random House, 2020). He delivered talks at TED in 2021, 2017, and 2015, the Web Summit, and the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Dubai, Medellín, and Geneva. He is the founder and executive editor of Stability Journal and serves on the editorial board of several academic journals. Robert is also affiliated with the WEF Global Risk Report, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Bosch Academy, and other international networks. He earned his Dphil from the University of Oxford. He can be contacted at

Luz E. Nagle is a former Colombian judge and a Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law, specializing in international law and international criminal law.  She serves as an External Researcher in the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College, and has been involved as a trainer and advisor in several rule of law and military reform projects sponsored by the US Departments of Defense, Justice, and State in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama.  She is active in several international legal societies and currently holds seats on the ABA’s Criminal Justice Council and on the International Bar Association’s Legal Practice Division Council.  Her scholarship focuses on US foreign policy and regional security in the Americas, internal armed conflict, and transborder crime.

Stephen M. Noguera, CFE serves as a federal contractor in support of implementation of the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) in Guatemala and Belize. CARSI a is multi-million dollar US Government effort to help combat the effects of transnational organized crime and gangs as well as strengthen the rule of law in seven Central American countries. He previously served as the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Chair, Deputy Program Director for the Countering Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) Program and Professor of National Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, College of International and Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Stephen holds an MA in Management, a Diploma from the US Naval War College and is currently a PhD candidate in Criminal Justice. Stephen has over 30 years of law enforcement experience and began his career in Southern California in 1987 and worked at several local agencies in a variety of assignments to include positions focused on drugs, gangs, organized crime and criminal intelligence. From December 1997 to December 1998 he served in the United Nations International Police Task Force (UNIPTF) in Bosnia-Herzegovina and was seconded to the United Nations International Drug Control Program (UNDCP) as a drugs & organized crime instructor/advisor to the Bosnian Government. Following 14 years of service in local law enforcement, Stephen joined the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in 2001 and retired after over 20 years of service in 2022. During his career as a special agent with NCIS, he served in a variety of general criminal investigations, counterintelligence and counterterrorism positions around the world. As an academic researcher, his main themes of research focus on countering transnational organized crime, international gangs, prison gangs and the crime/terror nexus. Stephen speaks fluent Spanish and basic Portuguese and his region of focus and expertise is Latin America.

Alexandra Phelan is Deputy Director of Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre (Monash GPS), and a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Monash University. Her research interests include insurgent governance and legitimation activities, insurgent women, political violence and organised crime with particular focus on Latin America. Alex completed her PhD in 2019 at Monash University. Her dissertation examined why the Colombian government alternated between counterinsurgency and negotiation with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Based on an extensive examination of negotiation documents and primary FARC material, fieldwork and interviews with former and active FARC, ELN, M-19 and AUC members, she critically examined the role that insurgent legitimation activities had on influencing Colombian government response between 1982-2016. Before she was appointed a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Monash GPS. Alex's research at GPS focuses on gendered approaches to understanding terrorism and violent extremism. She currently serves on the editorial board for the journal, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. She can be found on Twitter at @Alex_Phelan.

Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán is the current Director of SciVortex. By applying artificial intelligence, neuroscience and social networks analysis, he has researched in the areas of transnational organized crime, kidnapping, corruption, drug-trafficking and State Capture. He served as advisor for the Colombian Presidency and security agencies in Colombia. He has also worked with foundations, institutes, and public and private agencies in Latin America and the United States. He is part of EDGE Foundation, composed by thinkers “who are at the center of today's intellectual, technological, and scientific landscape”. Some of his books: Corrupción, Cerebro y Sentimientos (2007), La Mente Inorgánica (2009), El Crimen Como Oficio (2007), La Captura y Reconfiguración Cooptada del Estado (2009), and Illicit Networks Reconfiguring States: Social Network Analysis of Colombian and Mexican Cases (2010).

Robert H. Scales was involved as a founding El Centro fellow until his death in January 2024.He was one of America’s best known and most respected authorities on land warfare. He was President of Colgen, Inc, a consulting firm specializing in issues relating to landpower, wargaming and strategic leadership. Prior to joining the private sector Dr. Scales served over thirty years in the Army, retiring as a Major General. He commanded two units in Vietnam, winning the Silver Star for action during the battles around Dong Ap Bia (Hamburger Hill) during the summer of 1969. Subsequently, he served in command and staff positions in the United States, Germany, and Korea and ended his military career as Commandant of the United States Army War College. He is the author of Certain Victory, Firepower in Limited War, Future Warfare, Yellow Smoke: the Future of Land Warfare for America’s Military, The Iraq War: a Military History (with Williamson Murray), and Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment (with Barry McCaffrey). He was a graduate of West Point and earned his PhD in history from Duke University.

John P. Sullivan was a career police officer. He is an honorably retired lieutenant with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, specializing in emergency operations, transit policing, counterterrorism, and intelligence. He is currently an Instructor in the Safe Communities Institute (SCI) at the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California. Sullivan received a lifetime achievement award from the National Fusion Center Association in November 2018 for his contributions to the national network of intelligence fusion centers. He completed the CREATE Executive Program in Counter-Terrorism at the University of Southern California and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the College of William and Mary, a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research, and a PhD from the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya). His doctoral thesis was “Mexico’s Drug War: Cartels, Gangs, Sovereignty and the Network State.” He can be reached at

Graham H. Turbiville, Jr. was involved as a founding El Centro fellow until his death in April 2012. He was a Senior Consultant and Researcher for Courage Service, Inc., McLean, Virginia (a Centra Technology Company), addressing Department of Defense and Intelligence Community programs dealing with cultural and geographic assessments in several areas of the world; a Senior Consultant for the Tribal Analysis Center, Leesburg, Virgina, producing history-based assessments of tribal/clan societies in contemporary war and conflict; and an Associate Fellow with the US Special Operations Command/Joint Special Operations University (USSOCOM/JSOU). Earlier, Dr. Turbiville served 30 years in intelligence community analytical and leadership positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of the Army. These included as director/chief of long-range and current intelligence offices and directorates, director of a Joint Reserve Intelligence Center, and other assignments dealing with foreign combined arms, security, and special operations forces.

Teun Voeten is a war photographer. Voeten studied philosophy and cultural anthropology in the Netherlands. Since 1990, he covered conflicts in Israel, Rwanda, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Lebanon, Sudan, for publications such as Vanity Fair, National Geographic, and Newsweek. He was shot by a sniper in Bosnia, nearly executed by drugged up child soldiers in Sierra Leone, kidnapped at gunpoint by Colombian rebels and survived several Taliban ambushes. Voeten lived 5 months with an underground community of crack addicted homeless and wrote the book Tunnel People. In his book How de Body. Hope and Horror in Sierra Leone he describes the violent civil war in that country. In 2012, he published the photo book Narco Estado: Drug Violence in Mexico. Together with film maker Maaike Engels, he made documentaries on the Calais refugee camp and Mexican sicarios. In 2018, he obtained his PhD from Leiden University. His totally rewritten study appears as a Small Wars Journal book: Mexican Drug Violence. Hybrid Warfare, Predatory Capitalism and the Logic of Cruelty. Recently Voeten researched drug related crime for the city of Antwerp. For the Dutch government he investigated the emergence of crystal meth on which he is now writing a book. His new research project focuses on global trends in drug induced disintegration.

Daniel Weisz Argomedo earned his PhD in Political Science at the University of California Irvine with a focus on International Relations and Comparative Studies. His dissertation focused on the war on drugs and its impact on women’s security in Mexico. He holds an M.A. in Political Science from San Diego State University where he wrote a dissertation on ‘Hacktivism and social movements; and earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Alberta where he wrote a thesis on the Mexican war on drugs. He wrote "Climate Change, Drug Traffickers and La Sierra Tarahumara" for the special issue on climate change and global security at the Journal of Strategic Security. He is a founder and secretary of the Leonora Carrington Foundation. He is fluent in Spanish and his research interests include cyberwarfare, the war on drugs, women’s security and contemporary Latin American politics and history.  He can be reached at

Marzena Żakowska is an assistant professor at the National Security Faculty at the War Studies University in Warsaw. Poland. She holds a PhD. in Security Science from the National Defence University, Warsaw, Poland. She is Director of the Global Affairs and Diplomacy Studies at National Security Faculty, War Studies University and Chair of War Studies Working Group at the International Society of Military Sciences. Professional associations include the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding, and the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. She is a Research Fellow at the Royal Military College of Canada. As editor and author, she has published books and articles on armed conflict, mediation in armed conflict, migration issues, and social security issues.