NOVember 28 STrategy Forum - Speakers 

Will Jessett

Will took up the new role of Director for Strategic Planning in MOD Head Office in September 2014. In this role he led MOD’s work on the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and revision of the National Security Strategy. His portfolio recently expanded to include policy leadership on space, cyber, BMD, arms control and CBRN issues. For the previous four years, he worked as Minister (Defence Materiel) at the British Embassy in Washington DC, where he was responsible for all aspects of the UK-US defence relationship.

Will has degrees from Leicester and London Universities. Since joining the MOD in 1985, he has held a series of policy, planning, operational and resource management positions.  He has spent more than a third of his career working overseas (Namibia, Poland, Cyprus, USA), and several years working in operational delivery, crisis and financial management roles outside Whitehall. 

He has held several posts in Ministry of Defence Head Office, including responsibility for NATO policy and planning, the forward defence programme, supporting the MOD’s top committees, and policy on counter terrorism and UK operations.  Before his posting to Washington, he spent the previous 15 months as Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary (first Bob Ainsworth, then Liam Fox).

Married to Sally, a teacher, they have four children: three daughters and a son.  Leisure pursuits include walking, cycling, tennis, jazz and literature.  

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Fred Lamb

Professor Fred Lamb is Research Professor of Physics and a Professor in the Program in Arms Control & Domestic and International Security at the University of Illinois. He has actively participated in efforts to advance national and international security for nearly four decades. He is an expert on space policy, military uses of space, ballistic missiles, missile defenses, anti-satellite weapons, and the technical aspects of nuclear test bans, verification of arms control agreements, and nuclear nonproliferation.

In 1981 Lamb initiated and co-developed an undergraduate course titled "Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear War, and Arms Control". This course has been taught every year since, usually by Lamb until 2013, when Professor Grosse-Perdekamp took over teaching it. It is thought to be the longest-running course on this subject in the United States.

Lamb has served as a consultant on international security and arms control questions to the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and various Congressional committees, including the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees and Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has been a consultant to the Institute for Defense Analyses and U.S. national laboratories, including Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia. He has also served on numerous U.S. government panels concerned with national security issues. He is currently advising the U.S. government on questions related to North Korean ballistic missiles, defenses against long-range ballistic missiles, and the Iran Nuclear Deal.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lamb helped develop verification methods for underground nuclear explosions, carrying out some of the first multi-dimensional computations of such explosions and showing that their evolution can be described by a semi-analytical scaling theory. During this period he advised the test ban negotiators in Geneva in real time and became one of the lead scientists for the U.S. test ban verification program. During 2001–2003 he co-chaired a national study of ground-, air-, and spaced-based boost-phase missile defense that was sponsored by the American Physical Society.

Lamb’s physics and astrophysics research has focused on problems in high-energy and relativistic astrophysics. He pioneered the study of neutron star cosmic X-ray sources and developed the standard theory of X-ray pulsars. His modeling of the high-frequency X-ray oscillations produced by neutron stars has made possible accurate measurements of their masses and radii and strong-field general relativistic effects, and interesting constraints on the properties of ultradense matter.

Lamb has served on numerous NSF and NASA scientific advisory committees and panels. He played a major role in the conception, design, development, and operation of NASA's highly successful Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer space astronomy mission from 1979 onward. He was a member of the scientific panels that guided the development and operation of the mission from 1994 until it ended in 2012, and served as Chair of the Rossi Users Group from 1997 to 2008. He is a key member of the Science Team for NASA’s NICER space astronomy mission, which was launched on June 3, 2017 and is currently returning science data on neutron stars and black holes.

In 2005, Lamb was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for his pioneering research in X-ray astronomy and shared the American Physical Society’s Leo Szilard Award for his work on nuclear test bans and his leadership of the 2003 APS sStudy of boost-phase missile defense.

Lamb is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society (London), and a Member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union. He has been a Marshall Scholar, a National Science Foundation Fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, and a Carnegie Foundation Science Fellow.

Lamb received his bachelor's degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1967 and his D.Phil. in theoretical physics from Oxford University in 1970 where he was also a Fellow of Magdalen College from 1070 to 1972. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 articles, monographs, and chapters in books on topics in physics, astrophysics, and national and international security.

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Carissa Christensen

Carissa Bryce Christensen is the founder and CEO of Bryce Space and Technology. She previously co-founded The Tauri Group, LLC and was a partner in CenTauri Solutions, LLC (acquired by CSC in 2010).

Ms. Christensen is an internationally- recognized expert in commercial space. For over two decades she has engaged the leading edge of the space industry with innovative analysis of space systems and advanced technology. She led the creation of widely-used financial and economic indicators now considered global metrics for the commercial space and satellite sectors.

A frequent speaker and author on space and satellite trends, Carissa serves as a strategic advisor to government and commercial clients, and has been an expert witness and testified before Congress on market dynamics. She is also an active investor in technology-focused startups and advises several companies she has helped seed. She serves on the board of QxBranch, an early stage quantum computing software firm in which she is a partner.

Ms. Christensen holds a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where she specialized in science and technology policy. She also completed the General Course in Government at the London School of Economics and was a Douglass Scholar at Rutgers University. She is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan is Senior Fellow and Head of the Nuclear & Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi. Dr. Rajagopalan joined ORF after almost five years at the National Security Council Secretariat (2003-2007), where she was an Assistant Director. Prior to joining the NSCS, she was Research Officer at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. She is the author of five books including, Nuclear Security in India (2015), Clashing Titans: Military Strategy and Insecurity Among Asian Great Powers (2012), The Dragon's Fire: Chinese Military Strategy and Its Implications for Asia (2009). She has also co-authored and edited five other books, including Space India 2.0: Commerce, Policy, Security and Governance Perspectives (2017), Locating India within the Global Non-Proliferation Architecture: Prospects, Challenges and Opportunities (2016) and Awaiting Launch: Perspectives on The Draft ICoC for Outer Space Activities (2014). Her research articles have appeared in edited volumes, and in peer reviewed journals such as India ReviewStrategic Studies QuarterlyAir and Space Power JournalInternational Journal of Nuclear LawStrategic Analysis and CLAWS Journal. She has also been invited to speak at international fora including the UN COPUOS (Vienna), Conference on Disarmament (Geneva), UNIDIR (Geneva), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the European Union. She has also lectured at Indian military and policy institutions such as the Defence Service and Staff College (Wellington), National Defence College (New Delhi), Army War College (Mhow), and the Foreign Service Institute (New Delhi).