Mass Atrocity Response Simulation Team Leader Bios

The following six former U.S. government officials will each lead one of the six country and organization teams during the IRLS program’s mass atrocity response simulation at BCLS on October 4 and 5, 2019.

Julia Fromholz

Julia Fromholz serves as Director of the International Rule of Law and Security Program at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. She teaches international human rights law in Washington, DC, where she is based, as well as a class in Phoenix on law and foreign policy. Before joining ASU Law, Professor Fromholz worked at the U.S. Department of State, both in Pakistan and Washington. She served as the Senior Director, Rule of Law at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, and in Washington advised the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on a range of issues, including mass atrocity prevention and human trafficking.

Prior to joining the State Department, Prof. Fromholz worked at human rights organizations in Washington, DC and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on accountability for and prevention of mass atrocities, protection of human rights defenders, and improving the rule of law in developing countries. In that capacity, she was part of a team that developed a simulation exercise involving a developing mass atrocity, which was used at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute to train diplomats faced with potential such crises.

Prof. Fromholz earned her A.B. from Harvard College and her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where she served as Editor in Chief of the California Law Review.

Brian Mohler

Brian J. Mohler retired from the Senior Foreign Service of the United States in 2009 at the rank of Minister-Counselor (equivalent to two-star general).  During his thirty-five years’ service, he was consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Strasbourg, France and directed the economic sections of the U.S. Embassies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tokyo, Japan, and Ottawa, Canada.  Brian served as Deputy Chief of Mission and later was Acting Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates during the first Gulf War and its aftermath in the early nineties.  He was periodically Acting U.S. Ambassador to Canada during his Ottawa assignment.

In the State Department in Washington, Brian headed the Offices of Economic Sanctions Policy and Japanese Affairs and also served as an Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.  He directed an interagency task force that spearheaded a multi-billion dollar international effort to rebuild Iraq’s economy after the second Gulf War in 2003.  In retirement, he worked as a senior inspector in the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General, evaluating the management and effectiveness of its Department offices in Washington as well as those of Ambassadors and their staffs at U.S. diplomatic posts in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Brian’s work received recognition through multiple State Department Meritorious Honor and Superior Honor Awards, merit cash awards, the Secretary of Transportation’s Award, and the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award.

Brian received his B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.  Before entering the Foreign Service in 1974, he was an economic analyst at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress.  He also served as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army for fifteen years.

Col. Bruce Pagel

Bruce A. Pagel is a Professor of Practice in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. Colonel Pagel served for 28 years, active and reserve, as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army, having deployed to Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He was the Staff Judge Advocate for U.S. Central Command, responsible for providing legal advice to General Mattis and overseeing the judge advocates who were operating in support of military operations in the Middle East. He was the Deputy International Security and Assistance Force Legal Advisor, supporting General David Petraeus and General John Allen on law of armed conflict, detention, special operations, and rule of law issues, while also conducting a series of command directed investigations involving general officer misconduct, line of duty deaths, and war crime allegations. He was also the senior legal adviser at the Afghan Ministry of Defense, Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Office of Military Commissions responsible for investigating and prosecuting law of war detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for alleged war crimes. 

In addition, he was a federal prosecutor in Virginia and Washington, DC, where he worked on complex drug and money laundering cases and advised senior policy makers. He has taught and lectured extensively on trial skills, detention, military commissions, and law of war issues for DoJ, DoD, FBI, DEA and trained prosecutors and judges in multiple sites around the world.  He currently serves on the Veterans Furniture Center Board of Directors and is a volunteer mentor in the veterans court program in federal court in Phoenix, Arizona

Scott Ruston

Dr. Scott Ruston (Ph.D., University of Southern California) is a Research Scientist with Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative, a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for researching complex challenges in the global security arena, where he leads the GSI’s Narrative, Disinformation & Strategic Influence research pillar. Also a core faculty member of ASU’s Center for Strategic Communication, Dr. Ruston’s research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of the information domain. He has applied his expertise in narrative theory and media studies to a variety of national security and strategic communication research contexts, including: analysis of extremist narratives; analysis of disinformation and propaganda narratives; strategies for counter or alternative narratives; and the neurobiology of narrative comprehension.

He is co-author of Narrative Landmines: Rumors, Islamist Extremism and the Struggle for Strategic Influence (Rutgers University Press, 2012), as well as articles on strategic communication, extremist videos and the narrative potential of new media technologies.  He has presented widely on topics intersecting media, narrative/counter-narrative and terrorism to military, academic and non-governmental organization audiences.  Current research projects focus on detecting and tracking adversarial framing as an indicator of so-called Gray Zone operations, as well as narrative-based interventions influencing attitude, belief and behavior.  Dr. Ruston is also 27-year veteran of active and reserve service in the US Navy. Much of his recent military experience has involved operations in or capability development for the information domain, such as participation in the Multi-National Information Operations Experiment (MNIOE) and a year deployed to Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa where he served as the Deputy Director for Effects (J39) and Military Coordination Cell Mogadishu OIC.

Brette Steele

Brette Steele serves as the Director of Prevention and National Security at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Prior to joining the McCain Institute, Steele served as the Regional Director of Strategic Engagement for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Terrorism Prevention Partnerships. Steele also established and served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, which coordinated all federal efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States.

Prior to establishing the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, Steele served as Senior Counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General under Rod Rosenstein, Sally Yates, and Jim Cole. Steele also served in the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy. In these roles, Steele designed and managed the National Commission on Forensic Science; drafted rule-making documents concerning criminal justice reform, disability accommodations, and regulatory review; negotiated the strategic plan for the Office of Dispute Resolution; and coordinated public health approaches to terrorism prevention. 

Steele graduated with a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law. After graduating from law school, Steele clerked for the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked as Supreme Court and Appellate Associate at Mayer Brown LLP. Steele researched and drafted briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and federal and state appellate courts and served as an appellate consultant with primary briefing responsibilities for four trials.

Amb. Clint Williamson

Ambassador Clint Williamson joined ASU in 2014 as Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Senior Director for the International Rule of Law and Security Program at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. From 2011-2014, he served as Lead Prosecutor for the European Union Special Investigative Task Force, which is conducting a full and impartial criminal investigation into the allegations of war crimes and criminal activity contained in the Council of Europe (CoE) report of January 2011 by Senator Dick Marty, as well as other possible crimes connected to those allegations.

Immediately prior to this position, he was Special Expert to the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The tribunal is charged with prosecuting senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those most responsible for mass crimes committed in Cambodia during the 1970s. From 2006-2009, Professor Williamson served as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. From 2003-2006, he served in a number of capacities at the National Security Council, including Acting Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Relief, Stabilization, and Development, as well as Director for Stability Operations. During his tenure at the White House, he was instrumental in developing the proposal for the creation of a standing civilian U.S. Government post-conflict response capacity. While with the NSC, Williamson also served in Baghdad in 2003 as the first Senior Adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. In this capacity, he was responsible for re-instituting judicial operations and ministry functions in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion. From 2001-2002, he served as the director of the Department of Justice in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), overseeing the justice and prison systems.

From 1994-2001, he worked as a Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. While at the ICTY, he supervised investigations and field operations in the Balkans, compiled indictments, and prosecuted cases at trial. Among the cases handled by Williamson were those against Slobodan Milosevic and the notorious paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic, aka “Arkan,” as well as cases arising from the Yugoslav Army attacks on Vukovar and Dubrovnik in Croatia. Prior to joining the tribunal, Professor Williamson served as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Section and as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Share this post