Over the past two decades, Mr. Atallah has traveled to more than 108 countries and has met with 11 heads of state. He has advised two U.S. Secretaries of Defense and many other senior US officials on counterterrorism policies and strategies and has served as a trusted advisor to the U.S. Department of State and numerous US embassies across Africa. Mr. Atallah assumed the position of Africa Counterterrorism Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2003 and was concurrently East Africa Director from 2003-2007. 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. He is a Senior fellow with Atlantic Council and holds a BS in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Master of International Relations from Troy University.
Lt. Col. Rudolph Atallah, USAF (Ret.), is Chief Executive Officer of White Mountain Research LLC — a service-disabled veteran owned company dedicated to understanding and mitigating complex global threats to human security. A native of Beirut, Lebanon and fluent in Arabic and French, Rudy’s 21-year career in the United States Air Force spanned from aviation and special operations to intelligence and counterterrorism.
Mr. Atallah currently oversees the evacuation and rescue of persecuted religious minorities in Northern Iraq and Syria. Over the past year, he and his team have successfully relocated more than 15,700 Christians and Yazidis displaced by conflict and rescued countless Assyrian Christians from ISIS controlled territory. Through his own efforts, his team has also funded and rebuilt 50 Christian homes and provided temporary housing for those attempting to remain in Nineveh, Mosul and Erbil. White Mountain Research partners with other like-minded organizations to continue saving lives and resettling more persecuted families in the Middle East and around the world.
Regarded internationally for his ground truth insights on African and Middle East security matters, Rudy is a sought-after speaker and adviser on national security, counter-terrorism, and cultural intelligence issues. He has been a featured guest on networks such as ABC, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, BBC, CNN and programs such as OutFront with Erin Burnett, National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm Show, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and on the National Geographic Channel, where he discussed his involvement in African counter-piracy and the successful resolution of the 2009 Maersk Alabama incident.
Prior to his 2009 retirement, Mr. Atallah served as the Africa Counterterrorism Director and Morocco/Tunisia Country Director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2002, while working as US Air Force Defense Attaché (DATT) in Ivory Coast, West Africa, Mr. Atallah was instrumental in the evacuation of more than 1,700 American citizens following a coup d’état that plunged the country into civil war. He was also an accredited Air Force DATT to Ghana, Benin, Togo, Niger and Burkina Faso. Mr. Atallah has over 25 military honors to include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his direct involvement in the rescue of the Maersk Alabama’s Capt. Philips.