Orlando "Moses" Acosta
Orlando "Moses" Acosta is a retired career U.S. Air Force officer with 13 years serving at 4-star command headquarters: U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Florida, and the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan. As a combat officer, he commanded E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and ground radar station missions supporting multi-national humanitarian assistance, surveillance, and combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, South America, and the U.S. Moses later became the chief advisor to CENTCOM commanders on missile defense strategy, plans, policy, operations, exercises, foreign military sales and international engagement. Collaborating with the Joint Staff, other military Commands, U.S. Embassy staffs, and host nation militaries, Moses helped establish the U.S. missile defense forces and their supporting bi-lateral relationships that exist today in the Arabian Gulf region. Moses spent his last year of active duty first as aide de camp to Commander ISAF, Gen John Allen, helping manage his multi-national headquarters in Kabul; then as a military advisor helping State and USAID foreign service officers work with U.S. and ISAF militaries in transitioning security leadership to the Government of Afghanistan. He thereafter retired and worked at CENTCOM supporting the Commander with strategic plans, information operations, and passive defense initiatives.
Moses is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a B.S. in General Science, and earned an MBA from Touro University in 2005; was a Foreign Service candidate, political track, from 2014 to 2015; and is a member of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Leadership St Pete Class of 2015. Moses is currently the founder of UMD International, helping clients protect critical information and operations from commercial and military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
Ambassador Blake served for 31 years in the State Department in a wide range of leadership positions. In 2009, he was nominated by President Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, serving from 2009-2013, for which he was awarded the State Department's Distinguished Service Award.
From 2006-2009, he served concurrently as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Prior to that, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in India from 2003-2006, where he was named the worldwide DCM of the Year by the State Department.
Most recently, from 2013-2016, he was the US Ambassador to Indonesia, where he focused on building stronger business and educational ties between the US and Indonesia, while also developing cooperation to help Indonesia reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ambassador Blake has held a wide variety of key State Department positions as well, including Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2001-2003, Deputy Executive Secretary for the Department of State from 2000-2001, and Senior Desk Officer responsible for economic and political relations with Turkey from 1998-2000. He has also served in Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria.
He is currently Chairman of the Board of the US-Indonesia Society, and he is a member of the board of the Asia Foundation and the Bhutan Foundation.
Ambassador Blake holds a BA from Harvard College, and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.
Ambassador (Ret.) Prudence Bushnell is the author of the recently published story, Terrorism, Betrayal and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 US Embassy Bombings. In it she recounts policy and leadership lessons acquired as a U.S. foreign service officer in India, Senegal, Kenya, Guatemala and Washington, D.C.
As Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Africa Bureau (1998-96) and Ambassador to the Republics of Kenya and Guatemala (1996-2002) she practiced the leadership she preached as a management and leadership trainer before joining government service. Her efforts as a Washington policy-maker to bring attention to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda were featured in the 2005 film, Sometimes in April, in which she is portrayed by actress Debra Winger. As ambassador to Kenya, Pru led the community's response to the 1998 Al Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi, which was recognized with the Department's Award for Heroism. Glamour magazine named her one of the Top Ten Women of the Year and Vanity Fair magazine featured her in its Hall of Fame in 1998. During her final State Department assignment as Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute, she received the Service to America Career Achievement award (2004). After leaving the Foreign Service, Pru founded the Levitt Leadership Institute at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. She received the Rising Voice of Women Award from International Women's Associates of Chicago in 2010 and was cited as one of the 20 All Time Greatest Feds by Government Executive Magazine in 2011.
Pru was born in Washington, DC and raised in Germany, France, Pakistan and Iran, while her father was a member of the US Diplomatic Corp. She holds a BS from the University of Maryland, a MS from Russell Sage College and three honorary doctorates. She has written articles on leadership for the Foreign Service Journal and a co-authored Leadership in Disaster for the Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry, Cambridge Press, 2017.
Since retiring as a Senior Foreign Service Officer (Minister-Counselor) in 1995, Ambassador Marks has engaged in consulting, lecturing, and writing, primarily on terrorism, interagency coordination, United Nations affairs, and complex international emergencies. Ambassador Marks was recalled to active duty in 2002-5 to serve as the Department of State's advisor on terrorism to the United States Pacific Command.
He is a Member of the Board of Directors, American Diplomacy. A member of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) since 1959, Ambassador Marks most recently served as a Retiree Representative on the Governing Board (2011-15) and Governing Board Liaison to the Award Committee. He has also served as elected Member of the Governing Council and Chairman of the FSJ Editorial Board, and Member of the Board of Governors of DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired).
Past activities include Distinguished Senior Fellow. George Mason University Program on Peacekeeping Policy, and a Senior Mentor at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia. Between August 2012 and November 2014, Ambassador Marks was a Director and then Washington Representative of The Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation, a program of the Command and General Staff College Foundation of Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He was a Founding Trustee of the CGSC Foundation.
Ambassador Marks was appointed to the Foreign Service in 1956 with early assignments mainly in Africa. Senior positions included Ambassador to the Republics of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, the Department of State's Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Visiting Senior Fellow on terrorism at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Deputy Chief of Mission in Sri Lanka, Deputy United States Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in New York, and Senior Fellow at the National Defense University.
Born in Chicago, Illinois in April 1934, Ambassador Marks attended public schools in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from the Universities of Michigan (BA, 1956) and Oklahoma (MA Economics, 1976), the National War College (1981) and served in the United States Army (1956-58). He has written extensively, and co-authored the books US Government Counterterrorism Programs: Who Does What and US Government Counterterrrorism Programs: Nixon to Trump.