Our Leadership:

Headshot for Luke Schleusener

Lucas F. Schleusener,

Chief Executive Officer

Speechwriter to the Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense, 2012-17

National Security Associate
Office of Presidential Personnel, The White House, 2011-12

Mr. Schleusener (he/him) is a Co-Founder and the CEO of Out in National Security and a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served on the speechwriting staff of Secretaries of Defense Panetta, Hagel, and Carter from 2012 to 2017. Previous to which, he worked in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel from 2011 to 2012. He worked on President Obama’s campaign in 2008.

He previously served on the Board of No One Left Behind, a 501(c)3 that serves Special Immigration Visa holders. He holds an A.M. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
He was a Zemsky Scholar of Arabic at Hebrew University in 2010, and attended the American University of Cairo.
James Osyf Headshot

James Osyf,

Chief Operating Officer

Chief of Staff, Corporate Strategy & Development
Lockheed, 2015-Present

OPNAV Operations and Plans, National Military Command Center
U.S. Navy Reserve, 2015-Present

Lead Cyber Policy Advisor, Navy Staff
U.S. Navy, 2008-15

Mr. Osyf (he/him) currently serves as Chief of Staff, Corporate Strategy and Development at Lockheed Martin and is a member of the U. S. Navy Reserve. He spent more than eight years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, working as both a submarine officer and advisor on the Navy Staff.

James holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, an M.P.P. from the Kennedy School of Government, a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy, and was a 2016 Shawn Brimley Fellow at the Center for New American Security.

Headshot for Rusty Pickens

Rusty Pickens,

Chief Administrative Officer

Founder and Principal
580 Strategies, 2017-Present

Senior Advisor for Digital Platforms 
Department of State, 2015-17

Acting Director for New Media
The White House, 2011-15

Mr. Pickens (he/him) is a Co-Founder Out in National Security. He served as Senior Advisor for Digital Platforms at the U.S. Department of State, and former Acting Director for New Media Technologies at the White House, where he led teams who operated cloud platforms for the Obama Administration to increase public engagement, improve user experience, enhance staff productivity, and heighten security posture. During this time, Rusty created new systems for and built new teams to lead Whitehouse.gov, the Presidential correspondence system, the We The People petitions system, the White House Appointment Center, and the U.S. Embassy contact management systems.

Rusty's two decades of leadership experience aligning organizational vision with technology strategy across top federal agencies and start-up environments included the Federal Salesforce Community of Excellence, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee, Obama for America 2008, and the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas Fitzgerald,

Vice-President of Development

Managing Director, City & State Berger Hirschberg Strategies, 2021-Present

Mr. Fitzgerald (he/him) is a trusted campaign consultant to political candidates at varying levels of government and has extensive experience in campaign finance and political operations. Throughout his career, he has developed, implemented, and executed numerous fundraising plans for candidates at various levels.

Currently, Thomas serves as the Managing Director of the City & State Team at Berger Hirschberg Strategies, a Political Consulting firm based in New York City and Washington D.C., specializing in campaign fundraising and development. In this capacity, he oversees the day-to-day fundraising operations for over a dozen political campaigns across New York State, having raised over $13 million this past election cycle.

He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Certificate in Public Policy from CUNY Hunter College, where he focused his studies on Foreign Policy and National Security.

He currently serves on the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s Victory Campaign Board, an organization that provides campaign, fundraising, and communications support to LGBTQ candidates running for all levels of office.

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Alexandra McCargo,

Vice-President of Professional Development

President and CEO
Precision Collective, 2018-Present

Ms. (Alex) McCargo (she/her) is the President and CEO of the Precision Collective, a management consulting company headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia focused on the advancement and strategic growth of government contracting companies of all sizes through services such as strategic planning, business development, workforce development and training, recruiting, marketing and proposal support.

Ms. McCargo began her career working as a writer and editor working with technology firms and media agencies deeply rooted and eventually transitioned into the government contracting. Ms. McCargo has held roles on both the direct and indirect side of defense contracting holding positions ranging from Operations Manager to Business Development and Capture as well as directly supporting Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threat focused customers.

Prior to founding Precision Collective, Ms. McCargo worked at TASC (later Engility Corporation and now SAIC) in both the DoD/CBRNE business sector as well as the civilian business units. 

Ms. McCargo holds an MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. 

Madison Strader Headshot

Madison Strader Arcangeli,

Vice-President of Public Policy

Co-founder and Managing Partner
Forza DC, LLC, 2018-Present

Senior Legislative Assistant
Congressman Adam Smith, 2013-2018

Ms. Strader-Arcangeli (she/her) is a co-founder and Managing Partner at Forza DC, LLC. She focuses on developing policy solutions and advocacy strategies for clients within the private and non-profit sectors involved in defense, Veterans’ affairs, and intelligence. She has also done work with philanthropic clients in the health and economic sectors, as well as non-profits focused on LGBTQ policy matters.

From 2013 to 2018, Madison served as the Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) when he was Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). She supported his work on the HASC, assisting in the advancement of legislation related to military personnel, readiness, and installation issues in addition to managing a large and diverse domestic policy portfolio.

Upon leaving the Hill, Madison trained as a Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. She returned to DC to pursue her passion for sound and impactful public policy. Madison has honed her ability to develop and execute effective legislative strategies while working at two boutique multi-client government affairs firms, most recently at Sixkiller Consulting.

She is a board member of the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council. Madison is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she focused on international security, foreign policy, and social implications of the law and criminal justice system.

Our Volunteers:

Ava Hartwell Headshot

Ava Elaine Hartwell Bagley,

Mentorship Program Lead

Senior Defense Analyst
Government Accountability Office, 2016-Present

Department of Defense, 2014-2016 

Department of State, 2011-2014

Ms. Bagley (she/her) has served in several executive branch national security organizations for more than ten years. Since 2016, she has served in the Government Accountability Office. As a senior analyst, Ava has written reports on key issues facing the Department of Defense, including program delays and cost overruns of vital naval shipyard improvements, cybersecurity concerns in weapons system software, and challenges the military services encounter in prepositioning military materiel. Ava has also been a member of and President of GAO’s Toastmaster’s group and a member of the GAO’s Gender Identity Information Group and Gay and Lesbian advocacy group. She has participated in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workshops at GAO, presenting on transgender issues. 

Prior to beginning her service at the GAO, Ava worked in various capacities across DOD and the Department of State, as well as the Voice of America. At DOD, researched and evaluated cybersecurity tools, and worked on positive messaging around the Littoral Combat Ship. At State, she served as program liaison to South and Central Asia for the Overseas Security Advisory Council, among other positions. At VOA, Ava taught the newsroom how to leverage social media to engage directly with citizens across North Africa involved in the Arab Spring and produced a comprehensive report on press freedom issues across Asia. 

Ms. Bagley holds an M.A. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Oberlin College from Oberlin College. Ava is currently pursuing a certificate in the Fleet Seminar Program at the Naval War College. 

Annie Wong Headshot

Annie Wong,


Product Designer
Loeb.nyc, 2021-Present

Ms. Wong (she/her) is a volunteer for Out in National Security with graphic design. She has a background in marketing design and is currently a product designer at a VC based in NYC. 

Previously, Annie was a product designer at an IT startup where she worked on the development of a proprietary enterprise application. In May 2016, Annie received her BA with honors in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology with a minor in Media Arts and Technology.

Abby Sonnier Headshot

Abby Sonnier,

Comms Associate

Policy Analyst Consortium Networks, 2022-Present

Graduate Student
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, 2021-Present

Abby Sonnier is a second-year M.A. in International Relations candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a B.A. in Public Policy from the University of Mississippi. In addition to school, she is the policy analyst at Consortium Networks, a cybersecurity concierge firm responsible for translating the government and world of cybersecurity for business leaders.

Abby is originally from southwest Louisiana but now lives in Washington, DC, with her dog, Malbec.

Matt Snow Headshot

Matt Snow,

Comms Associate

Graduate Student
The George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, 2022-Present

Matt Snow is a first-year global communications graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.

He received his Bachelor of Science in political science with a minor in communications from Arizona State University in the fall of 2021. Matt was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina, and spent eight years post-high school touring and playing in a rock band called The Apprehended, where he developed a sense of wanderlust and a love for building connections with people of diverse backgrounds.

As a graduate student and aspiring public diplomacy FSO, he wants to work in the intersection of intercultural communications, human rights advocacy—particularly those of the LGBTQ+ community—and diplomacy. He is a loving partner, a dog dad to three pit mixes, and enjoys Star Wars, TTRPGs, and hiking. Matt uses He/Him pronouns and identifies as a cisgender, bisexual male.

Our Advisors:

Jesse Salazar Headshot

Jesse Salazar

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

Brian Hale Headshot

Brian Hale

Former Assistant Director for the Office of Public Engagement, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Our Former Colleagues:

Zach Volpe,

Comms Fellow


Staff Assistant

The Office of Senator Cory Booker, 2022-Present

Graduate Student
Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, 2021-Present

Matthew Buckwald Headshot

Matthew Buckwald,

Events and Comms

General Dynamics Information Technology, 2021-Present

Nathan Eckstein Headshot

Nathan Eckstein,

Policy and Research

Political Officer, Foreign Service
U.S. Department of State, 2021-Present

SINSI Fellow, Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense, 2017-2019

Shawn Skelly Headshot

Shawn Skelly, Former Vice-President

Out in National Security, 2017-2021

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness
U.S. Department of Defense, 2021-Present

National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, 2017-2020

Executive Secretary
Department of Transportation, 2016-17

Special Assistant to the Undersecretary for AT&L
Department of Defense, 2013-16

Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)