Ben TaylorDirector of Business Operations
Kristen R. HajdukDirector of National Programs
Harlan KefalasChief Financial Officer
Jen SovadaDirector of External Engagement
Scott AughenbaughDirector of Marketing
Justin LynchBusiness Operations Team Member
Ben is a full-time Army officer in Washington, DC. His interest in defense innovation began while writing his masters thesis on the need for militaries to constantly innovate to support the power status of the countries they serve. His degrees are in political science and defense studies, but his passions include connecting disparate disciplines for social improvement, the value of networks and motivated people, and the transformative power of good leadership.
Kristen R. Hajduk works at the Pentagon and is an adjunct fellow with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies with expertise in counterterrorism, special operations, strategic war-gaming, and defense innovation policies. Kristen was co-founder and co-director of the No Exceptions initiative, a non-partisan coalition of post-9/11 military veterans and national security leaders who support full gender inclusion in the military. She is German Marshall fellow and received her master’s degree at the University of Chicago. In short, Kristen is a nerd who is passionate about those who serve our country – both in and out of uniform – and their ideas for making our world a better place.
Harlan is an active duty enlisted Army transporter whose intellectual curiosity led him to DEF. Knowledge is the equilibrium of opposing ideas. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Fort Hays State University. After his DC day job, he ponders how to attract and involve more enlisted personnel to DEF. If you are enlisted and interested, shoot him a message.
Jen is passionate about enabling change within the national security enterprise. She loves to connect people so they can work together to find innovative ways to solve problems. She is also focused on empowering and supporting people so they attack problems head on, find innovative solutions and unique ways of thinking to tackle obstacles.
During the day he serves as the Deputy Acceleration Portfolio Manager at MD5, the National Security Technology Accelerator, a DoD entity. Previously, Scott served as Fellow and Deputy Director of Strategic Futures at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, where he specialized in emerging technologies. His global trends analysis and forecasting work is used in CSIS’s flagship presentation, “Seven Revolutions: Scanning the Horizon Out to the Year 2035 and Beyond.” He has briefed the findings of this research at numerous colleges and universities, corporations, and government agencies. He holds a B.A. in history, politics, and government from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.A. in history, with a focus on the Cold War, Europe, and China, from Kent State University. He has also worked at the Lyman L. Lemnitzer Center for NATO and EU Studies at Kent State University and studied at Beijing University.
Justin Lynch is an Army infantry officer. He is currently attending a graduate program at Johns Hopkins University. Justin is passionate about improving national security, particularly military education, doctrine, and operating concepts. He lives with his wife and dogs in Silver Spring, MD.