RUSSELL E CONNER
Russ Conner is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Sheepdog International Inc. Russ founded Sheepdog International in 2012 to pursue his passion for justice and fighting for the oppressed. Russ is a Licensed Private Investigator and Licensed Security Guard & Patrol by the North Carolina Private Protective Services Board. Sheepdog International Inc. is certified by the Veterans Administration as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business.
Russ is a veteran of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division and served in Operation Desert Storm. Russ was a law enforcement officer for more than twenty years serving as a patrol officer, criminal investigator, SWAT operator, District Attorney’s Office investigator, and instructor. Russ works internationally as a military trainer under the US State Department’s ACOTA (African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance) program, now called GPOI (Global Peace Operations Initiative).
Through Sheepdog International, Russ provided Human Trafficking investigations and consulting services under a UNC Chapel Hill grant, Project No Rest. Russ is the founder and director of Warrior Clan, Inc. a 501(c)(3) veterans organization focused on combatting PTSD and suicide among veterans. Russ serves on the Board of Directors for Vet Smiles, a 501(c)(3) that provides dental care to veterans.
Russ holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a focus in Counterterrorism and Criminal Justice from Liberty University. Russ earned an Intermediate Law Enforcement certificate from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Training and Standards Commission and the Criminal Investigator Certification Program through the North Carolina Justice Academy. Russ holds a General Instructor Certification through the North Carolina Justice Academy and an Unarmed Guard Instructor Certification through North Carolina Private Protective Services.
David E McCracken
Advisor, Strategy and Assessment
David E McCracken, is the Advisor on strategy and assessment for Sheepdog International. In this role he will use his extensive national security background and his specific experience at developing and implementing the initial program of instruction for the Africa Crisis Response Initiative and his role as the leader of all initial assessments for participating African countries. Additionally, he developed and implemented multinational workshops at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Center to counter network adversaries working with an interagency team.
In addition to advising Sheepdog International, David serves as a consultant on global military exercises conducted annually by regional combatant commands, developing crisis response options that educate and train joint staff members in national security decision procedures. He also founded a nonprofit, public charity that educates and provides financial support to veterans seeking improved dental health in Western North Carolina. Between the start of the VET SMILES pilot in 2018, to its completion in 2020, that effort aided 69 veterans with over $ 68,000 with dental services in collaboration with the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine. Based on the pilot success, a new nonprofit, public charity was founded to expand the program statewide with ECU.
Throughout his lifetime of public service, David E McCracken served 29 years on active duty with the U.S. Army, retiring in 2003 as a Colonel, Special Forces. He then served until 2012 as a civil servant in the Department of Defense at both the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. During those years he commanded from operational detachment through group levels, with specific experience working complex solutions within international and interagency challenges to national security, focused on peace operations, combating terrorism and combating weapons of mass destruction. The majority of his operational experience is working with partner nations and their respective military and paramilitary forces.
David holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, as well as certificates as a national security fellow from both Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.