Senior Leadership


NESA Center Director DesrocherAmbassador John Desrocher – Director

John Desrocher is the Director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. Ambassador Desrocher joined the NESA Center as Director in June 2024 and came to NESA from a 35-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria from 2017 until 2020. After departing Algiers, he served as Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassies in Doha and Cairo, as mediator of negotiations on the maritime boundary between Israel and Lebanon, and as Senior State Department Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.  Most recently he served as Deputy Commandant of the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University.  From September 2014 until August 2017, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Egypt and Maghreb Affairs. Prior to that, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He also served in Baghdad from 2009-2010 as Minister Counselor for Economic Coordination, responsible for U.S.-Iraq economic policy issues. In the interim, he served in the Department of State as the Director of the Office of Iraq Affairs and briefly as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Maghreb Affairs. Between 2006 and 2009, he served as the U.S. Consul General in Auckland.

Ambassador Desrocher has extensive experience in international trade and in the Arab world. Immediately prior to his assignment to Auckland he served as Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and he has also served in Jerusalem, Monrovia, Bonn, and in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative among other Washington assignments.

Ambassador Desrocher is a graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and is a recipient of the State Department’s Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards.


LammDavid W. Lamm – Deputy Director

David Lamm is the Deputy Director of the NESA Center and a native of Hamburg, New York. He is a Distinguished Military Graduate of Canisius College in Buffalo and was commissioned in 1977. As of October 2013, Mr. Lamm assumed the duties as the Deputy Director of the NESA Center in 2010 after serving as the Chief of Staff (2007-2009).

Mr Lamm held a variety of staff and command positions, beginning his career as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Support Platoon Leader, and Battalion Logistics Officer with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Infantry, Berlin Brigade. From 1981-1985 he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, serving consecutively as a Company Commander; Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company; and Brigade Adjutant. Mr. Lamm then served as a Battalion and Brigade Operations Officer in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division from 1991-1993 and as Chief of Training, XVIII Airborne Corps from 1993-1994. He commanded Phantom Command, III Corps and Fort Hood from 1994-1996 and was the Secretary of the General Staff, III Corps and Fort Hood in 1997.  READ MORE

Mr. Lamm then served as the Joint Staff’s Chief of Plans and Operations, Operations Directorate (Information Operations) from 1997-1999. He was the Commander, U.S. Army Central Command, Kuwait (2000-2002) and then the Chief of Staff, Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan (2004-2005). From 2006-2007 he served consecutively as the Director for Afghanistan (Office of the Secretary of Defense) and as the Interagency Coordinator for the Defense Policy Analysis Office, (Office of the Secretary of Defense).

On the academic side, Mr. Lamm completed course work for a doctorate at Duke University (1985-1990) and served as an Assistant Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. During 2003, he served as Professor of Strategy at the National War College (National Defense University). In June 2006, he completed the NESA Center’s Executive Seminar on “Strategic Communication and the Challenges of Globalization.” Mr. Lamm’s military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Artillery Officer’s Advance Course, the Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College. He is a qualified Joint Staff Officer.

His analytical works include: “From Kabul to Baghdad and Back,” analyzing the key strategic decisions that shaped the courses of the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq; “Manning the Machine,” a critical examination of the Army’s individual replacement system, conducted for the Chief of Staff of the Army in 2001; “The Post-Cold War Army,” an analysis conducted for the Chief of Staff of the Army, later published in Military Review, (1991); “The War of 1812,” an annotated bibliography for the Book of Days.

His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (3 awards), the Legion of Merit (3 awards), the Bronze Star Medal (2 awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (2 Awards), the Joint Service Commendation Medal (2 Awards), and the Army Commendation Medal. He is authorized to wear the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Joint Staff Badge.

Ares of Interest

  • Military History
  • Philosophy and history of science
  • US Army Doctrine



From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq, co-authored by John R. Ballard, David Lamm and John K. Wood was published on October 15, 2012. The book provides challenging views about the successes of the global war on terrorism and the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. It enables discussions about U.S. defense policy from 2001 to Obama administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and the decision to ‘go to war on two fronts,’ examining the current military campaigns from a strategic perspective. Several questions regarding operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, including the campaign strategies and leadership are addressed by experts in the field.


  • BA, History, Canisius College
  • PhD (ABD), History and Philosophy of Science, Duke University


KangasDr. Roger Kangas – Academic Dean

Dr. Roger Kangas is the Academic Dean and a Professor of Central Asian Studies at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. Previously Dr. Kangas served as a Professor of Central Asian Studies at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Deputy Director of the Central Asian Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC; Central Asian Course Coordinator at the Foreign Service Institute for the U.S. Department of State; Research Analyst on Central Asian Affairs for the Open Media Research Institute (OMRI) in Prague, Czech Republic; and as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Mississippi.

Dr. Kangas has been an advisor to the Combatant Commands, NATO/ISAF, the US Air Force Special Operations School, National Democratic Institute, International Research and Exchanges Board, American Councils, Academy for Educational Development, USIA, USAID, and other US government agencies on issues relating to Central and South Asia, Russia, and the South Caucasus. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. Dr. Kangas holds a B.S.F.S. in Comparative Politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University.    READ MORE

Areas of Expertise

  • Central and South Asia
  • Former Soviet Union
  • Transnational Threats and Terrorism
  • International Security Organizations
  • Energy Security



  • Kangas, R. (2008, Fall). Battling Misperceptions: Challenges to U.S. Security Cooperation in Central Asia. Joint Force Quarterly, 50(3). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (2007). The Changing Face of the Russian Far East: Cooperation and Resource Competition between Japan, Korea and China in Northeast Asia. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 6(1-3).
  • Kangas, R. (2004, April 15). Wearing Thin. Transitions Online. [download]
  • Kangas, R. (2003, April 09). Challenging the ‘Island of Stability’. Transitions Online. [download]
  • Kangas, R. (2002, December). Memories of the Past: Politics in Turkmenistan. Analysis of Current Events, 14(4).
  • Kangas, R. (2002, January 04). Afghan Windfall? Transitions Online. [download]
  • Kangas, R. (2001, January 20). From the Top Down. Transitions Online. [download]
  • Kangas, R. (2000, January 21). Challenging Authoritarianism. Transitions Online. [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1997, February 07). Central Asia: Holding the Course in Uzbekistan. Transitions, 3(2). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1996, September 20). Much Discussion, Little Action to Stem Drug Trafficking in the CIS. Transitions, 2(19). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1996, September 06). Imposing Order on Uzbekistan. Transitions, 2(18). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1996, August 09). Central Asian Militaries Practice Cooperation. Transitions, 2(16). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1996, May 03). Uzbekistan: Taking the Lead in Central Asian Security. Transitions, 2(9). [download]
  • Kangas, R., et al. (1996, March 08). Approaching Anarchy in the Transcaucasus and Central Asia. Transitions, 2(5). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1995, December 29). The Myth of Militant Islam: Uzbekistan. Transitions, 1(24). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1995, December). Uzbek Military Doctrine Emerges. Jane’s Intelligence Review, 7(12).
  • Kangas, R. (1995, October 06). Uzbek Media Remains Restricted and Devoid of Criticism. Transitions, 1(18). [download]
  • Kangas, R. (1994, Summer). The Problems of State-Building in the Central Asian Republics of the Former Soviet Union. World Affairs, 157(1).
  • Kangas, R. (1994, April). Uzbekistan: Evolving Authoritarianism. Current History, 93(582).
  • Kangas, R. (1992). Recent Developments with Uzbek Political Parties. Central Asia Monitor, 4.[download]
  • Kangas, R. (1991, April). The Challenge of Nationalism to the Gorbachev Reform Agenda. Current World Leaders, 34(2).

Book Chapters

  • Kangas, R. (2006). Domestic Politics, Bureaucratic Strategies and Culture in Central Asia. in B. Shaffer (Ed.), Culture and Foreign Policy: Islam and the Caspian, (pp. 193-218). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Kangas, R. (2005). Legal Reform in Central Asia. in T. Sabonis-Helf (Ed.), In The Tracks of Tamerlane, (pp. 65-92). Washington, DC: NDU Press.[download]
  • Kangas, R. and Robertson, L. (2002). Central Power and Regional and Local Government in Uzbekistan. in T. Clark et al. (Eds.), Center-Periphery Relations in the States of the Former Soviet Union, (pp. 265-290). New York: Praeger Press.
  • Kangas, R. (2002). The US Perspective on the Turkic Republics: From Economics to Geopolitics. in E. Gursoy-Naskali and E. Sahin (Eds.), Turk Cumhuriyetleri: Bagimsizliklarinin 10. Yilinda, (pp. 207-224). Haarlem: SOTA Press.
  • Kangas, R. (1997). Turkmenistan. in A. Karatnycky, A. Motyl, and B. Shor (Eds.), Nations in Transit: 1997, (pp. 381-389). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
  • Kangas, R. (1995). State Building and Civil Society in Central Asia. in V. Tismaneanu (Ed.), Political Culture and Civil Society in the Soviet Successor States, (pp. 271-291). New York: M.E. Sharpe.


  • Kangas, R. (2007). Playing Solitaire: Competing National Security Strategies in Central Asia. Book Manuscript.
  • Kangas, R. (2003). Uzbekistan in the Twentieth Century. New York: Palgrave Macmllan.
  • Kangas, R. (2001). The Caspian and Central Asian Oil & Gas Report: Developing the Energy Sector’s New Frontier. London: SMI Publishers.


  • Ph.D., Political Science, Indiana University
  • B.S.F.S., Comparative Politics, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University