SAFE Commanding Heights is a bipartisan initiative dedicated to advancing reliable sourcing – and reducing unsustainable dependencies – for products and materials essential to America’s energy, transportation, and national security needs.
We advance policies that:
- Promote the development and maintenance of secure supply chains for key energy and transportation systems, including advanced batteries and semiconductors.
- Incentivize responsible sourcing of critical minerals, metals, and fuels domestically and from nations that share U.S. interests and values.
- Re-shore and revitalize essential industries through regulatory shifts and other incentives that take advantage of American innovation and technology leadership.
- Leverage America’s values to build a competitive advantage and level the trade playing field by adopting common supply chain standards with other technologically advanced democracies.
We advance these goals by:
- Developing actionable policy recommendations based on research and stakeholder engagement.
- Driving policy changes through advocacy and communications.
- Educating U.S. political and business leaders.
- Forging bipartisan coalitions to advance legislative and executive branch solutions.
Why call it “Commanding Heights”?
The term refers to a nation’s most strategically important industrial sectors – those critical to America’s security, well-being, and ability to function as a modern society.
The Commanding Heights Initiative is home to the Ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, dedicated to building secure, sustainable and ethical supply chains for electric vehicle batteries in North America.
The American Semiconductor Center aims to strengthen the U.S. and allied semiconductor ecosystem and safeguard our economic and national security at a time of market change and strategic competition.
Commanding Heights In The News
Commanding Heights Team
Founder, President and CEO
Robbie Diamond is the Founder, President and CEO of Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE). In 2006, he came together with Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, and General P.X. Kelley, USMC (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the Marine Corps, to form SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council, a group of prominent business leaders and retired senior military officers dedicated to combating the nation’s dangerous dependence on oil. Since then, SAFE and the ESLC have been at the forefront of the energy policy debate, successfully helping to shape legislation in 2007 and shepherd a new, comprehensive energy bill through the Senate Energy Committee in 2009.
Diamond is also the President and CEO of the Electrification Coalition, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit group of business leaders committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security dangers caused by the nation’s dependence on petroleum. The Coalition was launched in November 2009, and as its first official act, released the Electrification Roadmap, a sweeping report outlining a vision for the deployment of a fully integrated electric drive network.
Prior to his roles with SAFE and the Electrification Coalition, Diamond served as Deputy Director of Community Outreach on Senator Joe Lieberman’s 2004 presidential campaign. Before that, Diamond was a Director at the Washington firm Fontheim International LLC, working in all practice areas of the firm. Prior to coming to Washington, he worked with senior executives at Seagram Spirits and Wine Group on special projects.
Diamond earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Peace and Conflict Studies and Political Science, as well as a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School.
Admiral Dennis C. Blair
FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
Admiral Blair served as Director of National Intelligence from January 2009 to May 2010. He led sixteen national intelligence agencies, administering a budget of $50 billion and providing integrated intelligence support to the President, Congress and operations in the field. Prior to rejoining the government, he held the John M. Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies with the National Bureau of Asian Research, served as deputy director of the Project for National Security Reform, and as a member of the Energy Security Leadership Council of Securing America’s Future Energy.
From 2003 to 2006 Admiral Blair was president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a federally funded research and development center based in Alexandria, Virginia that supports the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Intelligence Community. He has been a director of two public companies, EDO and Tyco International and served on the boards of many non-profit organizations.
Prior to retiring from the Navy in 2002, Admiral Blair served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, the largest of the combatant commands. During his 34-year Navy career, Admiral Blair served on guided missile destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and commanded the Kitty Hawk Battle Group. Ashore, he served as Director of the Joint Staff and held budget and policy positions on the National Security Council and several major Navy staffs.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Blair earned a master’s degree in history and languages from Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar, and was a White House fellow at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has been awarded four Defense Distinguished Service medals, three National Intelligence Distinguished Service medals and has received decorations from the governments of Japan, Thailand, Korea, Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan.
Jeffrey Jeb Nadaner
Executive Vice President, Government & Public Affairs
Jeffrey Jeb Nadaner is the Executive Vice President of Government & Public Affairs at SAFE and the Executive Director of SAFE’s Commanding Heights of Global Transportation.
He has served in key positions in Republican and Democratic administrations, including for several Secretaries of Defense and State, and Attorneys General. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, he played a leading role in Congressional passage of the CHIPS Act.
Earlier in his career, he was the Lockheed Martin Vice President of Corporate Engineering & Technology, JINSA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, Director of the USMC Krulak Center of Innovation, and founder of the successful start-up, Straight Trading.
He earned his Ph.D. at Yale University, J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and B.A. at Duke University.
Vice President and Director, Center for Critical Minerals Strategy
Abigail Wulf is the Director of the Ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy at SAFE. Abigail brings broad Earth science expertise to the Center, from researching rare earth- and lithium-rich pegmatites to working with NASA researchers to convey the connections between Earth’s component systems. She previously served as Senior Science Communicator for Research within NASA’s Earth Science Division. She also served as Policy Manager for the American Geosciences Institute, a nonpartisan federation of more than 50 professional scientific societies. While at AGI, Abigail co-led the Minerals Science and Information Coalition, a broad-based alliance of organizations representing all stages of the critical minerals supply chain.
Vice President, Energy & Transportation Policy
Jeff Gerlach is a Senior Policy Analyst at Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), where he supports the research, writing, and content development of SAFE’s policy team. Prior to joining SAFE, Jeff worked at a management consulting firm, where he supported the Department of Energy’s Office of Petroleum Reserves and Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. He previously interned and consulted for SAFE in 2013, contributing to the Oil Security Index and the Commission on Energy and Geopolitics’ Oil Security 2025. Additionally, he worked on multiple political campaigns in Minnesota and completed a year of service in AmeriCorps.
Mr. Gerlach received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Anthropology from the University of St. Thomas in 2011 and his Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago in 2014.
A former senior Pentagon official, Peter has advised the Defense Department, U.S. Navy, and private industry on topics ranging from semiconductors — including development of the 2020 CHIPS Act — to management and organization, and strategy toward China. He previously served as an Assistant Secretary of Defense, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment, and Special Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and worked in industry as Vice President, International for QinetiQ North America. Peter holds a J.D. from Georgetown and an Honors B.A. from McGill University.
Vice President, Public Affairs
Thayer Scott is a writer and consultant focusing on national security-related policy, technology, and energy issues. Previously he worked in communications and government affairs positions for The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin. From 2004 to 2011 he served in the U.S. Department of Defense, the last four years as Chief Speechwriter for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Earlier he was communications director for the International Republican Institute, an independent organization promoting democratic governance overseas. Mr. Scott has a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.S. from University of California-Berkeley. After college he served on active duty in the U.S. Army as a Field Artillery officer.
Vice President of Development
Gourang Wakade is the Vice President of Development for SAFE and its sister organization, the Electrification Coalition (EC).
He leads a lean development team to develop and execute a comprehensive fundraising strategy that yields sustained multi-year funding results. Building on the success achieved to date by SAFE EC, Gourang manages a collective fundraising portfolio of $16 Million and is in charge of the overall development systems and strategy while focusing primarily on identifying, cultivating, and soliciting high net worth individuals and foundations, with particular attention on increasing unrestricted funding for both organizations.
He is an experienced fundraiser with a large and varied global network and has proven success in raising and securing multi-year six-figure plus funding commitments for complex and demanding projects across a variety of industries including non-profit, corporate finance, and higher education. Prior to SAFE, Gourang served as the Vice President of Development for the Council on Competitiveness, a non-profit membership association of CEOs, University Presidents, Labor Leaders, and National Lab Directors. In addition to managing membership, and development at the Council on Competitiveness, Gourang was the lead for the organization’s bi-annual fundraiser, the America Competes Award, that honored Business and Civic Leaders for their contributions to ensure American Competitiveness. He also produced and managed sponsorships for the organization’s Annual National Competitiveness Summit. Gourang also served as the Director of Conferences and Engagement, for the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils where he actively recruited leaders from around the world to join and fund the establishment of the organization.
Gourang has a Bachelor’s in Arts degree from the College of Wooster, Oh. He also serves on the Fundraising Committee for the Spring Gala of the Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens in Washington, DC.
Director of Government Relations
Over the past 8 years, Alexander has worked with Congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle to introduce, negotiate, and pass bipartisan laws. Alexander’s areas of policy expertise include technology, transportation, foreign policy, intelligence, defense, and homeland security.
As Legislative Director, Alexander ensured Rep. Steve Russell became one of the most prolific and effective lawmakers in his Freshman class. As a result, Rep. Russell is currently ranked the #4 most effective legislator (out of a peer group of 59 Representatives newly elected in 2014). Alexander has facilitated the Congressman’s introduction of 37 bills (149% above peer group), of which 9 bills passed the House (176% above peer group) and 4 bills were signed into law (408% above peer group).
As Dep. Chief of Staff, Alexander leveraged deep knowledge of political leadership dynamics to propel Rep. Russell into the chairmanship of the National Security Subcommittee, and secured the Congressman’s status as the presumptive Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the conclusion of the current leader’s term—a rare honor for such a junior lawmaker.
Director of Communications
Manager, Ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy
Danielle Woodring is the Manager of the Ambassador Alfred Hoffman, Jr. Center for Critical Minerals Strategy at SAFE. Danielle brings real-world geological and science policy expertise to the Center. After obtaining her Master of Science in structural geology and geological mapping, Danielle worked as a geologist for the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Geological Survey, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Prior to her master’s research, she served as a Policy Associate for the American Geosciences Institute and worked for the American Geophysical Union. Her multi-faceted career provides her with insights into the science and policies informing all aspects of the critical minerals supply chain, from discovery and extraction to development and manufacturing.
Chief of Staff
Policy Analyst, SAFE
Programming and Policy Associate
Critical Minerals Research Fellow