Navigators Global

Security, Defense & Space Practice

The Navigators Global Security, Defense & Space Practice has unparalleled insight into the U.S. Congress, Executive Branch leadership, and key defense and national security policymakers throughout the federal government. Navigators focuses on comprehensive coverage of the annual authorization and appropriations process in Congress, global trends in space and warfighting technology, and pro-active engagement with the Administration on defense, foreign policy, space, and national security matters.

We use our team’s combined acumen to provide our clients with best-in-class expertise on specialties ranging from cyber to special operations and everything in between. The Navigators Global Security, Defense & Space Practice is led by Founding Principal Chris Cox and managed by Vice President of Legislative Affairs – Security, Defense & Space Doug Distaso, with strategic advice from retired U.S. Air Force General Thomas Trask.

Principals Ado Machida and Andy Keiser bring their national security, defense, and space policy expertise and relationships to the practice. Founding Principal Jim Pitts and Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain’s former national finance chair, Navigators Principal Susan Nelson, also provide strategic leadership.


Chris Cox

Chris Cox

Founding Principal

Mr. Cox served as Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs to President George W. Bush. Within this role, Mr. Cox managed and developed legislative strategy issues on behalf of the President, including defense, war on terror, intelligence, foreign policy and veterans affairs.

Tom Trask

Tom Trask

Senior Strategist – Security, Defense & Space

After over 30 years in the United States Air Force, Thomas Trask joined Navigators as the senior strategist for the Security, Defense & Space Practice. Most recently, General Trask served as Vice Commander of the Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, in which role he was responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing actions with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Services and other government agencies in the National Capital Region on behalf of the Commander USSOCOM. During his service, General Trask also worked with the White House and Congress to ensure appropriations for special operations were utilized effectively and with minimal risk to special operators.

Doug Distaso

Doug Distaso

Vice President, Legislative Affairs – Security, Defense & Space

After over 25 years in the United States Air Force, Distaso recently retired from assignment at the Pentagon for the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as the Special Assistant to the Vice Commander. He now leads the Navigators Global Security, Defense & Space Practice. Mr. Distaso also brings deep experience on all aspects of DoD, Congressional, and Executive Branch authorization and appropriations advocacy, having served as congressional liaison for USSOCOM, future strategy expert for the Joint Staff, and in senior advisor positions to defense leadership at all levels. During his tenure, billions of dollars’ worth of SOF aircraft, training capacity, and technology were added to appropriations legislation, while military construction projects quadrupled for aviation units. His efforts alone grew the House and Senate SOF Caucus by 300%.

Ado Machida

Andy Keiser


Mr. Keiser was Deputy National Security Senior Advisor to the pre-election phase of the Trump Transition, where he prepared and advised the transition’s policy, personnel, and agency action teams on all aspects of the national security portfolio, leading to the enactment of six Intelligence Authorization Acts and cyber threat information sharing legislation. Mr. Keiser also served 14 years on Capitol Hill for former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike.

Andy Keiser

Ado Machida

Senior Strategist

Mr. Machida serves as senior strategist to the policy arm of the Navigators Global Security, Defense & Space Practice. After serving as Director of Policy Implementation for the Trump Transition, Mr. Machida understands the significance of the President’s military priorities and his defense policy knowledge is unmatched in the region. Previous to his role in the White House, Mr. Machida served as the President of the International Stability Operations Association and as Vice President of Government Relations for defense, aerospace, and security leader BAE Systems.


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About Navigators

Navigators Global is a full-service issues management, government relations and strategic communications firm located in Washington, D.C. Our senior team members have advised Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, political candidates and some of the nation’s most prominent elected officials.

Founding Principals Phil Anderson, Jim Pitts, Chris Cox and Cesar Conda formed Navigators Global to provide exclusive services to clients whose needs demand solutions beyond the reach of other firms. By creating an elite team of federal lobbyists, political strategists and communications experts, Navigators Global proudly offers a broad range of services, unrivaled performance and proven results.


Navigators Compass is the strategic communications arm of Navigators Global. The team behind Navigators Compass is revered for developing innovative messaging and communications plans that bolster corporate and industry reputations and win tough policy fights.

Our team — led by Phil Anderson and Rob Stutzman — has designed and implemented a multitude of notable public relations and political campaigns by focusing on identifiable target audiences, internal and external influences, and key message analysis and development. Our ability to drive long-term integrated messaging campaigns that arm clients with a powerful platform for effective communications gives Navigators Compass the expert status that our clients have come to value.

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