Meet Our Team

Aaron Novy, President TFPI

Aaron Novy, TFPI Founder and President, holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Colorado, a masters in US foreign policy from American University and is currently in the continuing education program at the institute of world politics. He also studied Middle East Conflict at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Aaron was first published at the age of 19 and his research has been used in Senate Confirmation Hearings, presented to the Defense Intelligence Agency, and even the White House.

Outside of academia, Aaron was the Senior Diplomatic Advisor to a religious mission credited with compelling congress to pass legislation to save over 12,000 persecuted Christians fleeing Iraq and Syria from ISIS. This accomplishment included guiding religious clergy through meetings at the State Department, Members of Congress, and the Helsinki Commission. Prior to that, Aaron was also an open source intelligence analyst with a private company in the Middle East. He also briefed Congress Members and their staff on a wide range of foreign policy issues in relation to the Middle East and North Africa.

His area of expertise is in geopolitical threat analysis – allowing him to work with Subject Matter Experts over a wide range of topics; a fitting role given that he held a coveted internship on the House Armed Services Committee during an NDAA markup period. Outside of international relations, aaron started his own LLC, was a white water rafting guide in Colorado, and helped President Trump score the first Republican victory in 44 years in the city of Pueblo, Colorado. This background makes Aaron the ideal president of a think tank start up.

James O’Brien, Director, TFPI

James O’Brien is a trusted strategist, synthesizing 25 years of entrepreneurial, marketing and public affairs experience on highly regulated verticals and complex public affairs issues. He has been invited to speak and train on digital compliance and reputation by leading technology associations and corporations in the US and EU. James has served on the Public Affairs Committee of the Online Trust Alliance (OTA) and the Best Practices Committee of the London Action Plan (LAP), a global consortium of regulatory enforcement agencies and industry leaders.

As a political consultant and advocate for improving democracy, he has worked on over 200 political and issue campaigns, from Presidential to City Council, served as Publisher of Campaigns & Elections magazine and as a member of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC). Current research is focused on rural audiences and advocacy for underserved markets. James has traveled extensively in rural America including each of the 114 counties in Missouri.

James received an Instructor’s Certificate from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Center for Government Services, Continuing Studies, Rutgers University and most recently was an Adjunct Instructor for Marketing at the ex’Treme Institute by Nelly for Vatterott College. James did undergraduate and graduate work at the School of Public Affairs and Campaign Management Institute, American University in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Michael Oehler, Chief Editor, TFPI

Dr. Oehler has more than 30+ years of global experience involving 25+ nations in the areas of Conflict/Crisis/Risk Management; Global Education and Training in Cultures, Intercultural Communication, Languages, and Linguistics; Organizational Management Consulting; and Safety/Security – including teaching experience at Harvard University. He also spent many years as a faculty member at a top Japanese national university as well as a distinguished Japanese state university. He specializes in Critical Mission Support to C-level executives/senior management to successfully finish complex projects on time and to a high-degree of quality.

Michael is currently an executive contributing to the successful operations of numerous organizations in the Washington DC Metro area including functioning as Director of Operations and Global Training Coordinator at Planet Defense LLC, Fairfax, VA; Director of Communications and Operations at Uchean Technologies, Fairfax, VA; Senior Director of Global Operations at Nextec, Inc., Herndon, VA; Vice President of Global Operations at Nextec Services, Herndon, VA; and Vice President/Chief Financial Officer at Miguel Angel Moreno LLC & Associates LLC. Michael also is the President and Treasurer for a leadership training charity, plus works as the Vice President and Treasurer for a SuperPac that supports traditional American values and the American-Latino/Hispanic community nationwide. 

Dr. Oehler was educated and trained in four countries including varying periods of post-graduate study at the universities of Cambridge (UK), Harvard (USA), Oxford (UK) and two distinguished research institutes – one in Oxford (UK) and the other at an Australian National Research Center in Sydney. He holds a D.Min. in Conflict Management, an MA in Teaching, and a B.A. in Sociology and 15+ certificates. Previously, he qualified for five homeland security-related certifications from two professional industry associations and currently holds an additional professional industry certification as a: Certified Anti-Terrorism Officer with the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals (IACSP). Between 2011–2017, Michael also functioned as a member of three professional boards related to the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security (ABCHS) and held the post of Secretary for two of those boards.He is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World (from the 2007 edition on) and Marquis Who’s Who in America (from the 2009 edition on). In 2017, 2018 and 2019, Dr. Oehler was selected by Marquis Who’s Who as a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, he was also selected as the 2018 Top Consultant of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP).

Dr. Oehler’s vast experience includes editing numerous publications making him the perfect TFPI chief editor.  Through a rigorous peer review process, he insures academic integrity of everything TFPI publishes.

Tower Foreign Policy Institute Fellows

Capt. John “Rusty” Stephens, USN (Ret.)

John “Rusty” Stephens is a U.S. Navy veteran with over 27 years of service. Rusty graduated from the Naval Academy in 1974 and completed nuclear powered training [for a career] entering service in the submarine force during the Cold War. Over his time in service, Rusty spent 10 years as a NATO submarine operations controller – leading Submarine Battle Staff watch sections in World War Three exercise scenarios. Following the Cold War he commanded the reserve unit supporting the (then) largest submarine squadron in the world in Norfolk, VA. He also commanded the Navy’s only deep ocean submarine rescue reserve unit.

As a Navy Captain he served as Reserve Director, Joint Warfighting Center and, following the 911 attacks, served as Deputy Director for several exercises enabling U.S. Northern Command to achieve full operational capability in their homeland defense mission. Upon retiring from he Navy he served as Europe Regional Director for a large humanitarian NGO. Rusty volunteers his vast knowledge and experience with Tower Foreign Policy Institute’s Project on NATO Sea Power.

Rear Admiral Hank Bond, USN (Ret.)

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