DEFCON AI Announces Six New Board Members and Advisory Board

DEFCON AI Announces Six New Board Members and Advisory Board

TYSONS, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–DEFCON AI (“DEFCON”), a cutting-edge software company building next-generation tools for the modern military mobility environment, today announced its Board of Directors and Advisors.

We’ve set out to tackle large, complex problems in mobility that will require the kind of intellect and experience that this Board and group of Advisors are uniquely positioned to bring to the table,” said retired General Paul Selva, a Board Member and Co-Founder of DEFCON. “Our Board and Advisors will be instrumental in shaping DEFCON’s approach to developing innovative technology for generating operationally relevant insights for decision making in global mobility and logistics.”

In addition to Gen. Selva, the Board consists of the following members: Honorable Dr. Mark T. Esper; Dr. Roger W. Ferguson Jr.; Honorable Christine H. Fox; Grant Verstandig; and Dr. Yisroel Brumer.

Dr. Mark T. Esper was the 27th Secretary of Defense, serving from 2019 to 2020. Currently he is a Director and the Chairman of the National Security Practice at Red Cell Partners, the parent company of DEFCON. Dr. Esper has held many roles inside and outside of government. He served as Secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019 and was a senior corporate executive at the Raytheon Company from 2010 to 2017. Prior, he served as an Executive Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Defense and International Affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association. Dr. Esper served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon during the President George W. Bush administration from 2002-04. He was also a senior Congressional staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations, Senate Government Affairs, and the House Armed Services committees, and served as national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

The tools the team at DEFCON are building are urgently needed within the Department of Defense,” said Esper. “In this new era of great power competition, the U.S. military must modernize to maintain its overmatch against China and Russia for years to come. To do so, there needs to be a different and better relationship between the Pentagon and the most innovative sectors of our economy. DEFCON intends to play a major role in that broader transformation and in narrowing critical defense gaps in particular.” will help our military leaders take an important step forward as they work to narrow a critical defense gap.”

Dr. Roger W. Ferguson Jr. was the 17th Vice Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, from 1999 to 2006, during which time he notably led the central bank’s economic response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Currently, Dr. Ferguson is the Chief Investment Officer and a Director at Red Cell Partners and a board member of Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL); Corning (NYSE:GLW); Blend Labs Inc. (NYSE:BLND), and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. (NYSE:IFF) as well as the Steven A. Tananbaum Distinguished Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields, and a Fortune 100 financial services organization from 2008 to 2021.

I’ve spent a large part of my career working with the U.S. government and major financial institutions, where I’ve learned that big, innovative ideas with the potential to drive meaningful outcomes to society require the kind of private-public partnerships that Red Cell and DEFCON are developing,” said Ferguson. “With the recent SBIR grant, the DEFCON team will be able to begin to build out the resources that mobility planners at the Department of Defense need, helping to ensure our nation’s security and ability to quickly and effectively respond to contested situations around the world.”

Honorable Christine H. Fox is a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Previously, she was the Assistant Director for Policy and Analysis at JHU/APL, a position she has held since 2014. Previously, she served as Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2013 to 2014. Additionally, she served as Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) in the Department of Defense from 2009 to 2013; and as president of the Center for Naval Analyses from 2005 to 2009, after working there as a research analyst and manager since 1981.

The tools that DEFCON is developing are greatly needed by the Department of Defense. DoD needs a better way to model outcomes if we are going to be able to meet the challenges ahead. Throughout my career, senior leaders have struggled to find ways to predict and assess potential outcomes. The DEFCON team is working to make models that will take advantage of new technologies to better support mobility planners as they adapt to a complex and rapidly changing world.”

Grant Verstandig is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO at Red Cell Partners. He is also the co-founder of Epirus, Inc., Zephyr AI, and DEFCON. Previously, he was Chief Digital Officer of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) from 2017 to 2021 and the founder and CEO of Rally Health, which was acquired by UNH. He currently serves as a senior advisor to the National Security Agency (NSA) on advanced analytics, technology, and artificial intelligence and holds several patents in these fields. He is the founder and chairman of the Verstandig Family Foundation, a member of the National Council for American Enterprise, and serves on the boards of the Third Option Foundation, the International Spy Museum, and the Greater Washington Partnership, where he is a founding member.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence, DEFCON is forging a new path forward that will rapidly enhance the mobility, analytics, and technological achievements within the Department of Defense,” said Verstandig. “I am proud to serve alongside this unparalleled Board and group of Advisors to provide the military leaders of this country the tools needed to maintain US supremacy on the battlefield in the coming decades.”

Dr. Yisroel Brumer is a Co-Founder and the CEO of DEFCON, the President of Red Cell Partners, and the Co-Founder, Executive Vice Chairman, and former Chief Executive Officer of Zephyr AI, a Red Cell portfolio company. He was previously the Acting Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) within the Department of Defense, where he worked for 14 years. He has been a member of the DoD’s most senior decision-making bodies, including the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Missile Defense Executive Board, and the Deputy Secretary’s Management Action Group, among many others.

To stay ahead, the United States must develop technologically advanced tools that can help the military quickly respond to a wide range of global threats,” said Brumer. “In building the game-changing companies of tomorrow like DEFCON, Red Cell is committed to making our nation’s defense and healthcare sectors the strongest in the world, and to delivering better outcomes and security to all.”

General (Retired) Paul Selva is a Co-Founder and the Chief Strategy Officer at DEFCON, and an operating partner in Red Cell’s National Security Practice. Gen. Selva retired from the United States Air Force in July 2019 as the 10th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second highest-ranking military officer in the nation, a position he held from July 2015. Gen. Selva was previously appointed commander of United States Transportation Command, responsible for overseeing all global air, land, and sea transportation systems for the entire Department of Defense. Prior to this role, he was the commander of Air Mobility Command, and spent 39 years holding numerous positions of staff, leadership, and command in nearly every operational tier of the Air Force.

The Advisory board consists of the following members: Alan Shaffer, Robert Schmidle, Jamie Morin, Ken Bedingfield, and Jeff Sherman.

Honorable Alan Shaffer served as the former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. From 2015 to 2018, Shaffer served as the Director, NATO Collaboration Support Office in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. Previous to his role at NATO, Shaffer was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering from 2007-2015. He has also served twice as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering from 2007-2009 and 2012-2015.

Lieutenant General (retired) Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., USMC, served as Deputy Commander for U.S. Cyber Command, Assistant Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps for Programs and Resources, Deputy Chief of Staff for Integrated Product Team 1, among other staff positions. Operational assignments include multiple tours flying the F-4 and F/A-18 aircraft as well as serving as the operations officer and air officer of an Infantry Battalion, First Battalion 9th Marines.

Jamie Morin is vice president of Defense Systems Operations at The Aerospace Corporation where he is also the executive director of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy. Previously, Morin served as Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation for the Department of Defense, Acting Under Secretary of the Air Force, and the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller). Before joining the Department of Defense, Morin was lead analyst for defense, intelligence, and foreign affairs for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget.

Ken Bedingfield is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Epirus, Inc. Previously, he spent over eight years at Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) where he was Chief Financial Officer for five years. Prior to that, he spent 17 years at KPMG, with the last six as an audit partner.

Jeff Sherman is the Chief Technology Officer of Red Cell and the Chief Technology Officer at Zephyr AI. Previously, he led the design and development of a state-of-the art Recommendation Engine leveraging healthcare and behavioral data at scale for Rally Health. Prior to joining Rally, he worked as a Scientist at BBN Technologies from 2008 to 2012 where he performed on DARPA and IARPA sponsored R&D programs involving Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, Sensor Fusion, and Graph Mining. In 2013, he co-founded Adaje Inc., a SaaS company in the financial services space that applies Machine Learning to bond, swap, and credit modeling.

About Defcon AI

DEFCON AI is a modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A) company that provides cutting-edge technology solutions for the next generation of logistics and mobility decision making. Visit us at and follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram).

About Red Cell Partners

Red Cell Partners is an incubation firm building rapidly-scalable technology-led companies that are bringing revolutionary advancements to market in healthcare and national security. United by a shared sense of duty and deep belief in the power of innovation, Red Cell is developing powerful tools and solutions to address our Nation’s most pressing problems. Visit us at and follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram).

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