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Current News Releases
To contact any aviation expert, contact AOPA Media Relations at 301-695-2162, or email Chris Dancy. All calls after hours will page on-call staff.
Robert M. Jefferson
Independent Nuclear Safety and Security Consultant
12401 Pino Ave. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87122
Jefferson’s career spans 16 years teaching nuclear engineering part time at the graduate level, 27 years employed by Sandia National Labs in the field of reactor and transportation safety research and 17 years in the consulting field. His experience encompasses full scale testing of systems subjected to explosive attacks, full scale testing of spent fuel shipping casks, and the development of calculational techniques for assessing public impact of nuclear fuel cycle activities. He is also a private pilot.
Douglas R. Laird, CPP
President, Laird & Associates, Inc.
Expertise: Aviation security
Laird is a consultant who works with the international aviation industry and governments, specializing in operational and technical issues involving security. He has published articles on aviation security in international venues. He founded Laird & Associates, Inc., in 1995 and between 1997 and 2002 was the Vice President of BGI International Consulting Services, Inc., Washington, D.C., a company providing counterterrorism and aviation security advise to a variety of public and private sector international clients. Prior to 1995 he had a successful career as the Security Director for Northwest Airlines, Inc.
Laird is called on to comment on aviation security matters by Public Television’s The New Hour with Jim Lehrer, NBC’s DateLine and Today Show; National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, CNN, Fox News, the BBC, MSNBC, as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USAToday, and other leading newspapers and magazines.
He holds a Master’s of Science degree from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a B.S. degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota.
Dr. Amy Smithson
Senior Fellow, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
Expertise: Chemical and Biological Weapons
Dr. Amy Smithson is a Senior Fellow at the Washington, D.C., of the Janes Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Dr. Smithson specializes in in-depth field research on issues related to chemical and biological weapons proliferation, threat reduction mechanisms, defense, and homeland security. The author of a wide range of pertinent studies, she has addressed such topics as the reduction of U.S. and Russian chemical and biological weapon capabilities, the status of international treaties outlawing these weapons, the utility of export controls, unconventional terrorism, and U.S. preparedness to cope with biological and chemical disasters. Building issue alliances across communities that might not normally work together, Smithson's work recommends practical steps that blend technical and policy instruments to reduce chemical and biological weapon threats and to enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities.
Before joining the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Ms. Smithson worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Henry L. Stimson Center, where in January 1993 she founded the latter's Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project to serve as an information clearinghouse, watchdog, and problem-solver regarding chemical and biological weapons issues. While there, she authored a paper on the likelihood of terrorists acquiring and using chemical or biological weapons. The paper also addressed the challenges of aerial distribution of such weapons.
Previously, she worked for Pacific-Sierra Research Corporation and the Center for Naval Analyses.
The author, co-author, or editor of 16 books and book-length reports, as well as numerous articles, Dr. Smithson has appeared frequently before Congress and in the electronic and print media. She holds a PhD in political science from George Washington University, an MA in international relations from Georgetown University, and a BA in political science and Russian from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
June 29, 2010