US Foreign Policy

Transparency and Accountability in U.S. Counterterrorism Strikes

In recent years, U.S. air operations in Somalia have surged. However, with this increase, questions remain about the targets of such strikes, the strategy guiding strike decisions, and the outcomes and implications of such operations – including regarding civilian casualties. Join us at the Stimson Center for an expert discussion on the challenges posed by the United States’ approach to airstrikes in Somalia and around the world, and the impact of these operations on standards for transparency and accountability.


MISSY RYAN, Pentagon Correspondent, The Washington Post
Missy Ryan has covered the Pentagon, military issues and national security for the Washington Post since 2014. Previously she was a foreign correspondent and Washington reporter for Reuters, including stints as Acting Bureau Chief for Mexico & Central America and Deputy Bureau Chief for Iraq. She has reported from Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Chile. She obtained a Bachelors in English from Georgetown University and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Missy received a New York Press Club award for political reporting in 2012.

SARAH HOLEWINSKI, Professor of Practice at Arizona State University and New America Senior Fellow
Sarah Holewinski was senior advisor to the Chairman’s Action Group (CAG) and the Trans-regional Threats Coordination Cell (T2C2) on The Joint Staff at the U.S. Department of Defense. She was also a senior fellow with the Center for a New American Security during that time. Previously, Sarah served as Ambassador Samantha Power’s deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Mission to the United Nations. Sarah served for nearly a decade as executive director of Center for Civilians in Conflict, leading the organization’s efforts to advise warring parties on civilian harm in Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere. Sarah was named in the top 100 Most Influential People in Armed Violence Reduction by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) in 2014, and in 2015, received the Truman Award for Extraordinary Impact. She consulted for Human Rights Watch, the Clinton Foundation in Rwanda, and the Ford Foundation and is currently a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

BRIAN CASTNER, Senior Crisis Advisor, Arms and Military Operations, Amnesty International
Brian Castner is Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Advisor for arms and military operations, where he provides expertise in explosive ordnance and military affairs to investigate and prevent war crimes. He is also a bestselling author of three nonfiction books: Disappointment River, All the Ways We Kill and Die, and The Long Walk. Castner served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer in the United States Air Force.

RACHEL STOHL, Managing Director, Stimson Center
Rachel Stohl is the managing director at the Stimson Center and leads the Center’s Conventional Defense Program. Her areas of expertise focus on issues relating to the international arms trade, including drones, small arms and light weapons, and children in armed conflict. She is co-author of two books, The International Arms Trade and The Beginners Guide to the Small Arms Trade.


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