Mr. James J. Frelk has 30 years of experience as a leader in government and industry, shaping commercial and government programs on national security space, commercial satellite earth imaging, ISR, cybersecurity, and other fields. He is currently a Partner in Global Continuity Group, LLC and the Vice Chair of NSSA’s Moorman center for space studies. Prior to this, Mr. Frelk served as national security affairs analyst in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the Founding Executive Director and Treasurer of the George C. Marshall Institute and later served as Director of the Office of Space Commerce at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He represented the Department at the National Space Council and led efforts on legislation and regulatory changes for the licensing of US commercial satellite remote sensing systems. In addition, he led the first multi-Agency/Department and industry mission to Russia to facilitate cooperation on the international space station and other defense related programs. James has also served as Director of Headquarters Operations (SES) and Deputy Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation at NASA.
Mr. Frelk has also held numerous leadership positions in industry. He previously co-founded Lockheed/Space Imaging, WorldView Inc., and EarthWatch/Digital Globe (now known as MAXAR). His service also includes Vice President for Geospatial Information Systems for ERIM/Veridian, Senior Vice President for Government Services at TerreStar Networks, and Senior Vice President at Integral Systems.
Danica orchestrates the marketing and communications efforts of NSSA. With over ten years of nonprofit experience, she has helped some of the largest charities in the world raise millions of dollars through social media advertising, email communication, and digital campaign management. Most recently, Danica worked with the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation to create their updated website as well as with Juniper Systems Limited to help build a more targeted international social strategy. She earned her Bachelor’s of Biology and English from Washington State University.
Steve Jacques, Executive Director and Founder of the National Security Space Association, brings to his role decades of experience in and intimate knowledge of the National Security Space and Intelligence communities. A retired Air Force officer, Mr. Jacques supported DoD and Intelligence Community space programs, served as the Secretary of the Air Force’s Congressional Liaison for Space and S&T programs and policies, and served as the Secretary of Defense’s Legislative Liaison for Intelligence, Space, and Airborne Reconnaissance policies and programs. Mr. Jacques is currently a Managing Partner at Velos, where he routinely interacts with space and intelligence leadership in the Executive branch, industry, and Congress. In 2004, Mr. Jacques co-founded the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, preparing him for his role in leading the National Security Space Association as Executive Director.
Jeffrey T. Ley, CEM, CMM, brings decades of experience building best in class programs to drive growth and member engagement for non-profits to the National Security Space Association. Most recently, he helped build the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) into the premier organization supporting the Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Community.
Prior to his time at USGIF, Jeff worked for PGI, Inc. where he led the production of industry leading events in myriad industries globally. Some clients of note included the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Peoplesoft, and Oracle. Jeff has earned multiple professional certifications to include his CEM (Certified in Exhibition Management) and CMM (Certified in Meeting Management). Mr. Ley has taught courses in a multiple aspects of event planning and is a graduate of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Jeffrey T. Ley, CEM, CMM
Matt McNitt, Director of Operations, brings a passion for space and a broad understanding of the National Security apparatus to NSSA. Matt oversees day-to-day operations as well as strategic initiatives at NSSA. McNitt brings years of Executive Branch and space experience to NSSA. Most recently, McNitt served as a Special Advisor to the NASA Administrator where he managed strategic communications and advised NASA leadership on a range of topics and priorities. Matt is a graduate of American University's School of Public Affairs. Previously, Mr. McNitt served in the White House, managing personnel at National Security agencies including DOD, DHS, State Department and the Intelligence Community.
Kayla is currently the Manager of Association Development at NSSA. She previously served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HQ), where she worked closely with high-level foreign partners and domestic stakeholders to advance U.S. strategic objectives in areas of shared security interests including counterterrorism, enhanced cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, and maritime domain awareness. Kayla holds a Master of Letters in Middle East, Caucasus, and Central Asian Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Mike Tierney, trusted by senior executives in industry, government and media, provides timely and objective analysis of U.S. military investments in space capabilities.
A graduate of the University of Virginia (B.A., 2003) and the Catholic University School of Law (J.D., 2006), Mike joined Velos in January of 2011. Mike performs rigorous analysis for both public and private sector organizations on legislative, regulatory, budget and acquisition policies affecting the federal market. His analysis has been featured in SpaceNews, Aviation Week, The Denver Post, Breaking Defense and many other media outlets covering the space industry.
Organizations leverage Mike's legislative expertise and unique knowledge of the U.S. military space budget to inform and execute effective strategic engagement plans for the federal market. A talented and prolific writer, he is routinely relied upon for technical assistance in legislative drafting and persuasive writing. He is the co-founder and organizer of the annual Strategic National Security Space Budget & Policy Forum in Washington D.C., and he previously served in the 111th Congress as Military Legislative Assistant and lead legislative advisor on Defense, Intelligence, and National Security policy to U.S. Representative Frank Kratovil (MD-1), then a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
An entrepreneur with demonstrated success, Mike also has a passion for developing solutions that leverage analytics and visualization to efficiently distill value from complex, big data.
Leonor Tomero previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, supporting the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities by developing strategies, informing policies, and conducting oversight of nuclear deterrence policy, arms control and missile defense policy.
For over a decade, she was House Armed Services Committee Democratic professional staff lead for nuclear deterrence, nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, military space, and missile defense. In that capacity, she had responsibility for drafting and negotiating over 100 provisions and authorizing over $65 billion each year in eleven annual National Defense Authorization Acts, with regard to military space and related intelligence assets, nuclear forces and production capacity, hypersonic missiles, missile defense, non-proliferation, arms control, and nuclear clean-up programs.
Prior to joining the Committee, she was Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, responsible for analysis, Congressional education, Track II programs, and public and media outreach related to nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, missile defense and space policy. She also served on the congressional staffs of Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) working on nuclear waste and environmental issues.
Ms. Tomero holds a B.A. in Government from Cornell University, an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a J.D. cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law, and was a term-member on the Council on Foreign Relations.
Chris Williams, Vice President and Chair of the NSSA Moorman Center for Space Studies, provides expert analysis and insight to NSSA. Mr. Williams has held senior positions in the Executive and Legislative branches of government. At the Department of Defense, Mr. Williams served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense, and as acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Mr. Williams also served on various Government advisory boards that advised the Secretary of Defense on national security policy and military strategy matters. Mr. Williams held a series of Leadership and Committee professional staff positions in the United States Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, including National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader, Deputy Staff Director and Budget Director on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Professional Staff Member on the House Armed Services Committee.