Rick Francona

Rick Francona, a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and a renowned on-air TV Middle East analyst, will deliver the Keynote Address at the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday morning, July 25.
 
Col Francona, a fluent Arabic speaker, served most of his 27-year intelligence career operating in the Middle East. He has worked with the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency dealing with crises in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Gulf nations. He served as DoD liaison to Iraqi military intelligence during the Iran-Iraq war; as an advisor and interpreter with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf during the First Gulf War; and as Defense Attaché in the UAE, Air Force Attaché in Syria, and on other operational missions in the region.
 
A former Middle East analyst for NBC News, Col. Francona has provided on-air military analysis to CNN since 2013. His books include Ally to Adversary: An Eyewitness Account of Iraq’s Fall from Grace and Chasing Demons: My Hunt for War Criminals in Bosnia. His website is http://www.francona.com