Melissa S. Hersh

Former Nonresident Fellow

This is the profile of a former staff member, affiliate, intern, or guest author. Biographical information is not maintained and may be out of date.

Melissa S. Hersh brings 20 years of experience operating at the nexus of commercial and public sector policy and operations. Her areas of expertise include: global public health and biosecurity, Unmanned Systems (drones), disaster preparedness and response, and nuclear energy. 

As a noted risk expert, Hersh regularly advises governments, IGOs and Fortune 500 companies on risk across a variety of sectors. She comes to the Stimson Center while serving as the Principal of Hersh Consulting LLC, a boutique risk consultancy based in Washington, D.C. advising clients in aerospace, defense, and security, nuclear energy and extractives, transport and logistics and global health issues including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE).

She previously held the position as Vice President of Supply Risk Management at Marsh Risk Consulting were she was responsible for helping global clients minimize their risk exposure and optimize strategic partnerships and opportunities. Before that she worked as a technical expert for the U.N. and the WHO on health security and CBRNE issues. She has also been a researcher and consultant to various international think-tanks including the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Hersh is often asked to provide testimony, to chair, moderate and speak on panels on her areas of expertise in countries such as U.S., U.K., Australia, South Korea, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Jordan, UAE – most recently at the 2015 GEOINT Symposium and the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense.

Hersh is a Truman National Security Fellow and an affiliate of the Nuclear Economics Consulting Group (NECG). She frequently contributes with articles to publications such as The National Interest, Defense News, Defense One, European Energy Review, The Hill, The Diplomat and Hürriyet. She was educated at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, The Medical College of Wisconsin, and Skidmore College.

Research & Writing

Commentary
Melissa Hersh Op-Ed with Michael Hopmeier on Civilian Air Space Drone Use

What happens when a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS)—or drone—enters sensitive civilian air space? When such aircraft threaten public safety, law enforcement agencies face a significant challenge. Most technologies developed to take out intentionall…

Commentary
Law Enforcement Agencies Face a Host of Challenges in Countering Drone Threats

By Melissa Hersh and Michael Hopmeier:  It’s no surprise that the proliferation of commercial drones operating in United States has spawned interest in technologies to counter such drones when they pose a threat. What’s not well und…

Op-Ed
Melissa Hersh’s Op-ed in The National Interest on Refugees and Public Health

They came. They saw. They left. Leaders convened in Brussels earlier this week to discuss how to move forward in earnest with the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan on refugees. The informal summit was certainly much ado about nothing. They proposed twel…

Commentary
Getting Real About Refugees and Public Health

They came. They saw. They left. Leaders convened in Brussels earlier this week to discuss how to move forward in earnest with the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan on refugees. The informal summit was certainly much ado about nothing. They proposed twel…

Commentary
Refugees, Europe, and Good Public Health Policy

By Melissa S. Hersh:  In advance of a major summit on migration between Europe and Turkey slated for today, the Sweden Democrats — Sweden’s far-right, anti-immigration party — is the latest in a series of European parties to highlight infectious d…

Commentary
Behavioral Change and Public Health: An Opportunity for Populations, Health Care Workers and Decision-Makers

By Melissa Hersh:  We already knew before the latest Ebola epidemic in West Africa that emergency planners should plan for how communities and individuals will act as opposed to how we want them to act. The international community steadfastly clun…

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