Lt. Col. Rudolph Atallah, USAF (Ret.), is the Chief Operating Officer of The Nazarene Fund. He also serves as 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 counter-terrorism.
Rudy 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 3,900 Christians and Yazidis displaced by conflict and rescued 27 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.
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, Rudy 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 Defense Attaché in Ivory Coast, West Africa, Rudy 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 has over 25 military honors to include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his direct involvement in the rescue of the Alabama Maersk's Capt. Philips.
Over the past decade, Rudy has traveled to over 100 countries and has met with numerous 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. Rudy assumed the position of Africa Counterterrorism Director 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.
Rudy is a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, he holds a bachelor of science in electrical and biomedical engineering and a master of science in international relations. He also runs a small non-profit established to help under-developed communities with education, clean water and schools. Rudy is also a published photographer of landscapes, nature and indigenous peoples.
Biography by The Nazarene Fund.