“I am delighted to add Rudy Atallah to our team,” said J. Peter Pham, director of the Ansari Africa Center. “He greatly deepens our expertise in military, counterterrorism, and other security issues affecting Africa.”
Atallah is a 21-year veteran of the US Air Force, retiring in 2009 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. His military career included aviation, special operations and intelligence, and counterterrorism. In his last service posting, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Africa Counterterrorism Director (2003-2009), while also concurrently holding positions as East Africa Director (2003-2007) and Country Director for Morocco and Tunisia (2007-2009). His responsibilities included advising the Secretary of Defense and other senior US officials on counterterrorism policy and strategy and serving as an advisor to the US Department of State and numerous US embassies across Africa. He had also previously served as an Air Force Defense Attaché accredited to six West African countries and Director of the Sub-Saharan Africa Orientation Course at the Joint Special Operations University as well as a pilot with over 4,000 flight hours, including combat flight time. At the time of his retirement, he was the only Foreign Area Officer in the Air Force holding three concurrent regional specialization designations: Africa, Middle East, and Europe.