PSA Staff

Andrew K. Semmel
Executive Director

Andrew Semmel is the Executive Director of Partnership for a Secure America. In 2008, Dr. Semmel started AKS Consulting, representing international clients in Washington, D.C. He joined the Department of State in Spring 2003 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nuclear Nonproliferation in the Department’s Bureau of Nonproliferation and continued in that role in the newly formed Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. His primary responsibilities included the development and execution of policies and initiatives to stem the spread of nuclear weapons, associated technologies and know-how, including export controls. He represented the Department in inter-agency meetings, bilateral and multilateral international fora, conferences and negotiations on nuclear nonproliferation issues.

From September 2001 to January 2003, he served as the Executive Director of the U.S.-China Security Review Commission, a bipartisan government Commission of twelve private citizens appointed by the Congressional leadership. He was responsible for the Commission's public hearings, research, briefings, foreign travel, and the preparation of an annual report of findings and recommendations to the Congress on the security implications of economic and financial relations between the U.S. and China.

He served on the personal staff of Senator Richard G. Lugar from 1987 to 2001, where he was the Senator’s senior Legislative Assistant for Foreign Policy. He assisted Senator Lugar on political/economic/security issues in all regions of the world. Beyond current foreign policy/national security matters, he paid special attention to international exchange programs, trade, democracy promotion, sanctions policy, human rights, international organizations, and others.

He has authored or co-authored publications on diverse foreign policy and national security issues. He has served as President of the Comparative Foreign Policy Section of the International Studies Association and the Governing Board of International Studies Association.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and has been a Tenured Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He has also been an Adjunct Visiting Professor in the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program (MSFS) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 1981, he took a position with the Department of Defense as a Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA). He served as Chief of the Analysis Division of DSAA until he moved to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February 1985, where he had primary responsibility for the U.S. security assistance legislation, arms sales, and related foreign policy and national security issues.

He has traveled to nearly forty countries, has been an official observer to national elections in a dozen countries, and has spoken and lectured to various domestic and foreign audiences.

In 1995, he received the Ohio University College of Arts and Sciences Significant Achievement Award, and in 1996 he received the Moravian College Comenius Alumni Award for outstanding achievement. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Athletic Hall of Fame and the Moravian College Athletic Hall of Fame. He enjoys jogging, fishing, hiking, gardening, most sports, film, reading and cooking. He is married and has an adult son.

Nathan Sermonis
Deputy Executive Director

Nathan Sermonis is the Deputy Executive Director at Partnership for a Secure America (PSA). He oversees program development and operations in pursuit of PSA’s mission to advance bipartisan approaches to U.S. national security and foreign policy challenges. Nathan works largely on PSA’s Capitol Hill programming and efforts relating to international conflict resolution and energy security. Prior to working at PSA, he served as a policy adviser in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressional campaign aide, and political writer. Nathan holds a B.S. from Cornell University.

Nate Sans
Program Associate

Nate Sans is a Program Associate at Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) where he provides support to PSA's congressional programs, coordinates an international working group study on funding for International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear security and technical cooperation missions, and assists with special projects. Prior to joining PSA, Nate interned in Washington, DC at the Arms Control Association, where he provided research support on a variety of nuclear policy issues and wrote several pieces on modernization plans for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He has also interned at the Project on Managing the Atom of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Middlebury College, has studied Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies as a visiting student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and speaks Russian.

Sara Monteabaro
Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow

Sara Monteabaro is a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at Partnership for a Secure America. Sara received a master’s degree in global affairs from New York University, where she focused her studies on the nexus between international development, peacebuilding, and gender equality. While at NYU, she conducted field research projects in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on youth unemployment and in Yangon, Myanmar to study female entrepreneurship for her master’s thesis. Prior to her graduate studies, Sara was a program coordinator for a cross-cultural exchange program in Beijing, China and has interned at the Clinton Global Initiative and Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a B.A. from American University and speaks Mandarin.

Ken Cummings
Senior Adviser

Ken Cummings is a senior adviser to a leadership member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In his volunteer role with PSA Ken advises on matters relating to education programs, assists in coordinating input on all issues from the alumni of PSA's Congressional Partnership Program and provides senior-level advice and guidance on a wide array of PSA’s activities. Prior to his current position, he was director of international affairs for the Maryland Secretary of State. He has been a researcher and translator at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies and he is a veteran. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, American University, the Culinary Institute of America and is the author of articles on organizational management and of a forthcoming book on American politics.

Jenifer Mackby
Senior Adviser

Jenifer Mackby is a Senior Adviser at the Partnership for a Secure America. She is an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she works on the Asian and European Trilateral Nuclear Dialogues, U.S.-U.K. Nuclear Cooperation, Strengthening the Global Partnership project, a Russian-European project on bioterrorism, among others.

Previously, she served as senior political affairs officer for the negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Group of Scientific Experts, Transparency in Armaments and the Biological Weapons Convention review process in Geneva, and then as secretary of the Working Group on Verification at the CTBT Organization Preparatory Commission in Vienna. She also worked in the United Nations on nuclear, biological, conventional, and outer space issues.

She has co-authored a number of books, including, Detect and Deter: Can Countries Verify the Nuclear Test Ban?, Global Biosecurity: Towards a New Governance Paradigm, The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider their Nuclear Choices. She has also written articles for the New York Times, Newsweek, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, publications of the National Defense University and the European Union Joint Research Center. Ms. Mackby has served as rapporteur for several international conferences, and has spoken at conferences in Europe, Asia, South America and the US. She has lectured at universities and speaks fluent French and Spanish.

Jeffrey Meding
Adjunct Fellow

Jeffrey Meding is an Adjunct Fellow at Partnership for a Secure America (PSA). In his volunteer role with PSA, Jeff currently works on U.S. detainee interrogation policy. Prior to joining PSA, Jeff represented the IU McKinney Program in International Human Rights Law in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) as a Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP) representative. As a MCOP representative, he observed, analyzed, critiqued and published material on the 9/11 Military Commission hearings. His particular interests include counterterrorism policy, specifically, the legality of targeted killings under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, the Caroline Doctrine and the law of armed conflict. In addition, Jeff focuses his attention on U.S.-Russia relations and indefinite detention at GTMO. Mr. Meding received his J.D. with a Graduate Certificate in International and Comparative Law from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois.

Jessica Sadler
Foreign Affairs Intern

Jessica Sadler is a Fall Foreign Affairs Intern at PSA. She recently returned from Haifa, Israel where she completed coursework for her M.A. in Peace and Conflict Management at the University of Haifa. She also studied Arabic and interned at a community peacebuilding NGO in Tel Aviv called Windows for Peace. Ms. Sadler completed her undergraduate studies at Pacific Lutheran University in Philosophy and Environmental Studies where she was a Sustainability Fellow and Philosophy tutor. Additionally, she has studied abroad extensively England, Northern Ireland, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. She hopes to continue with a career in research regarding the Middle East and foreign policy.

Mikaila Smith
Foreign Affairs Intern

Mikaila Smith is a Foreign Affairs Intern and Jeffrey A. McLean Foundation scholarship recipient at Partnership for a Secure America. A third-year student at the University of Texas at Austin, she is spending the semester in D.C. as an Archer Fellow, taking classes on public policy and leadership through the UT system and interning full-time at PSA. At university she is a student in Plan II Honors, an interdisciplinary liberal arts program, and also studies nonprofit management. A lover of languages and strong believer in language as the key to cross-cultural understanding, she speaks Spanish, French, and Mandarin. After graduating she plans to pursue a career in public service working in the international development and foreign policy realms.