Biographies of our Holiday Luncheon Panelists
Retired Rear Admiral John Hutson
John Hutson served for 30 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring in 2000 as the Judge Advocate General of the Navy in the grade of Rear Admiral. Among many other positions during his career, he served as the Director of Legislation for the Navy in the Pentagon, Staff Judge Advocate and Executive Assistant for the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, Commanding Officer of the Navy Legal Service Office for Europe and SW Asia located in Naples, Italy, and the Commanding Officer of the Naval Justice School in Newport, RI.
After his retirement, he became the Dean and President of what was then the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, NH which under his leadership became the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He also taught National Security Law.
Admiral Hutson is a Director Emeritus for Human Rights First where he organized a group of retired admirals and generals to address issue of human rights issues as they affect national security. He is still actively involved with HRF.
He has appeared numerous times on Hardball with Chris Mathews, Bill O'Reilly, 60 Minutes, Diane Rehm, NBC News, and other national media outlets. He has testified before Congress over a dozen times.
Admiral Hutson spoke at both the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.
Brian Nelson’s career bridges broadcast journalism both in the US and Canada, as well as corporate communications. Currently, he performs communications consulting services under Nelson Communications.
Until July 2010, Nelson served as Director of International Communications for Boeing Defense, Space and Security in India, mapping media and communications strategy for the aerospace giant’s successful entry into India’s lucrative defense market.
Nelson joined Boeing in 2002 as Director of Communications and External Relations for Boeing Florida Operations, Kennedy Space Center. He and his team supported numerous NASA space shuttle launches as well as Boeing commercial rocket missions, and managed Boeing’s crisis communication efforts after the loss of the Space Shuttle Colombia. He served as launch commentator for Boeing’s own unmanned Delta launches. In 2004, he went on to become Director of Communications for Boeing Information Technology before accepting a position leading Boeing’s worldwide international defense communications team.
In 1984, Nelson began an 18-year career with Ted Turner’s CNN. As the network’s Miami-based correspondent, he chronicled the early years of NASA’s space shuttle program, including the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion and the subsequent investigation into the accident. Relocated to Atlanta in 1986, he anchored CNN’s domestic morning news show, Daybreak, until 1989 when he was sent to Tokyo to become executive producer and host of two CNN weekly Asian-focused newsmagazines, East Meets West and This Week in Japan. He has traveled widely in Japan and throughout Asia. In Hong Kong, he produced a documentary chronicling the British colony’s anxiety before the handover to Chinese authority in 1997. Returning to the US in 1991, Nelson hosted numerous CNN Headline News programs before helping to launch and anchor CNN’s new international news network, CNN International. In 1994, he returned to reporting as a correspondent for CNN Future Watch, where he conceived, produced and hosted a documentary on Florida’s endangered Everglades. In 1995, he went on to host and report for The CNN Computer Connection, a popular newsmagazine show chronicling the emergence of the Internet and the explosive growth of computer technology. In 1999, he returned to the CNN anchor chair, leaving it again in 2001 to become part of the CNN team at Ground Zero following the 9-11 attacks on New York, and later, both in the field and at the U.S. Pentagon, military preparations for the invasion of Afghanistan.
Nelson embarked on his journalism and broadcasting career in 1970 in his home country Canada. In Ottawa, he served Parliamentary Bureau Chief for Canada’s largest radio network, Standard Broadcast News. Moving back to his hometown Montreal in 1976, he became Chief Political Reporter for Montreal’s CFCF Television and closely followed Quebec’s first tumultuous attempt at independence. In 1983, he joined Canada’s CTV Television Network as a National Parliamentary Correspondent in Ottawa.
Nelson graduated cum laude from Loyola College of the University of Montreal with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is fluent in French, and has a good knowledge of Spanish and limited ability in Japanese.
Ambassador Nancy Soderberg
Nancy Soderberg is an American foreign policy strategist. She served President Bill Clinton as Deputy National Security Advisor and as an Ambassador at the United Nations. She is currently President and CEO of Soderberg Global Solutions and Director of the Public Service Leadership Program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL.
Soderberg was appointed by President Obama to serve as Chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board (2011-2014) and has also previously served as President of Connect U.S. Fund, as Vice President of the International Crisis Group, and on the Board of the Jacksonville Port Authority. She was a senior advisor to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and worked on four presidential campaigns. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she is a regular commentator on national and international television and radio, having appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC, Fox, National Public Radio, the Lehrer News Hour, CNN Crossfire, and The Daily Show.
She is the author of numerous articles on American foreign policy and two books: "The Prosperity Agends" (2008) written with Brian Katulis, and the Superpower Myth (2005). In 1984, Soderberg received a Master of Science Degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, concentrating on development economics and political risk analysis. She received her Bachelor of Arts in 1980 from Vanderbilt University.