Our Team

Languages Spoken:
















Overseas Experience:






















Sierra Leone



South Korea



The UK



Analytical Technology:








David Johnson, Executive Director


LTC David Johnson, US Army (Ret.) is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point; the Command and General Staff Course; the Joint Defense College at the Ecole Militaire in Paris; and holds a Master's degree in the History of Strategy from La Sorbonne. David served 23 years in the US Army in the Infantry and Special Forces. A decorated combat veteran and Army strategist with service on six continents and multiple overseas contingency operations, his career is outlined in the Congressional Record. Before coming to C4ADS, he worked for Intel Corporation as Director of Digital Security Products in the Software and Solutions Group. He speaks French, Russian, and Arabic.

Farley Mesko, Chief Operating Officer


Farley received his degree in Natural Resource Policy and Economics from Bowdoin College. He coauthored the 2013 World Bank study The Pirates of Somalia: Ending the Threat, Rebuilding a Nation and has briefed flag officers, ambassadors, and executive-level leadership at US combatant commands, joint task forces, the national security staff of the Vice President, and various embassies. Farley also works as a freelance journalist and has authored reports for the United Nations and Brookings. He has presented his research at New America Foundation, Yale University, Google Ideas, and American University. Farley has worked extensively in conflict zones across Africa, and speaks Arabic.

Varun Vira, Chief of Analysis


Varun received his undergraduate degree in International Relations and Economics from Syracuse University, and his Master's in International Affairs from George Washington. Varun previously worked in then-Senator Kerry’s office and at CSIS. Varun’s research at C4ADS focuses on South Asia and the Middle East. Varun has lived in India, Singapore, and the UK, and speaks Hindi and Urdu.


Niko Kakesa, Deputy Director of Finance


Niko has over 10 years of Finance and Operations experience after serving as the Finance and Operations Manager for Abt Associates, Inc. and the International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI, a CGIAR Center. He leads the Finance and Operations group at C4ADS. He hold a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Maryland and an MBA in Finance from Mount St. Mary’s University.  Niko speaks Kikongo, Lingala, French, and English. 

David Lynch, Analyst

David received degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic from Columbia University. He speaks Arabic and lived in Yemen for two years from 2012-2014, working as a journalist and security consultant. David's research at C4ADS focuses on illicit networks and natural resource constraints in Africa and the Middle East.  

Satori Shimizu, Analyst


Satori holds degrees in International Relations and History from Tufts University. She has experience as the US Department of State's Fulbright Fellow and at the Atlantic Council, Global Rescue, and Mercy Corps. She spent a year working in Tajikistan and speaks Japanese, Spanish, functional Tajik (Persian), and is learning Russian. Her research interests include Eurasian and Asian security issues, as well as human trafficking.

Jackson Miller, Analyst


Jackson received his undergraduate degree in international politics and Chinese studies from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.  He has worked and researched throughout China, including Xinjiang, as well as in Kenya, and speaks Mandarin and French. The coauthor of the 2014 C4ADS report Out of Africa, Jackson leads the C4ADS Environmental Crimes Fusion Cell. In addition to transnational wildlife crime, his work highlights East Asian security issues.

Evangeline Hines, Analyst


Evangeline received her undergraduate degree in International Studies from American University, during which time she also minored in Arabic. Additionally, she received her Master's from American University in International Affairs. She has lived and studied in Mexico and Jordan. Evangeline's research at C4ADS focuses on illicit networks and natural resource issues in Africa and the Middle East. 

Mary Utermohlen, Analyst


Mary received undergraduate degrees in International Relations and Accounting from the College of William & Mary. She also concentrated on Hispanic Studies and Economics. Mary is also a contributor for the Diplomatic Courier, where she writes on Latin American and human rights issues. She has studied in Spain and in the UK, and speaks Spanish and is learning Portuguese. Mary's research at C4ADS concentrates on international wildlife crime and Latin American security issues.

Jessica Hansen, Analyst


Jessica received her undergraduate degrees in International Affairs and Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, and concentrated in Economics and French. She has studied and worked in France; she speaks French and is learning Arabic. Jessica’s work at C4ADS concentrates on transnational environmental trafficking networks in Africa and South East Asia.

Buhendwa Mema, Analyst


Buhendwa received his undergraduate degree in International Relations from United States International University and a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of South Dakota. He has lived and studied in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and speaks French, Swahili, and Lingala, and is learning Mashi. Buhendwa’s research at C4ADS concentrates on conflict mineral networks and illicit trafficking in Central Africa.

David Thompson, Analyst


David received his undergraduate degree in political science and Chinese language and literature from George Washington University. He speaks Mandarin and has lived in China, studying at Peking University. David's work at C4ADS concentrates on illicit wildlife trafficking networks in Southern Africa and East Asia.

Yasin Ismail, Analyst


Yasin received his undergraduate degree in Politics and International Affairs from Wake Forest University, during which he minored in Middle East & South Asia studies. Before coming to C4ADS, Yasin worked at the International Rescue Committee. Fluent in Somali and Swahili, he has lived and researched in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Yasin's research at C4ADS focuses on security issues and illicit trafficking in East Africa.