Amy Zegart

Davies Family Senior Fellow

Amy Zegart is the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a professor of political science (by courtesy) at Stanford University, and co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. Until 2011, she served as professor of public policy at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Zegart’s research examines the organizational challenges of American national security agencies. Her most recent publication is Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community (Hoover Institution Press, 2011). She is also the author of two award-winning books: Flawed by Design, which chronicles the development of the Central Intelligence Agency, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and National Security Council, won the highest dissertation award in political science; and Spying Blind, which examines why American intelligence agencies failed to adapt to the terrorist threat before 9/11, won the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award. She has also published in International Security, Political Science Quarterly, and other leading academic journals. She serves on the editorial boards of Terrorism and Political Violence and Intelligence and National Security.

Zegart was featured by the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. She served on the Clinton administration's National Security Council staff and as a foreign policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign. She has testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, provided training to the US Marine Corps, and advised officials on intelligence and homeland security matters. From 2009 to 2011 she served on the National Academies of Science Panel to Improve Intelligence Analysis. Her commentary has been featured on national television and radio shows and in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

A former Fulbright scholar, Zegart received an AB in East Asian studies magna cum laude from Harvard University and an MA and PhD in political science from Stanford University. She serves on the FBI Intelligence Analysts Association National Advisory Board,  the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counter-terrorism and Community Police Advisory Board, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation, the Kratos Defense and Security Solutions board, and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary


Insider Threats And Organizational Root Causes: The 2009 Fort Hood Terrorist Attack

by Amy Zegartvia Strategic Studies Institute
Monday, August 31, 2015

This essay examines the 2009 Fort Hood terrorist attack with two goals in mind: illuminating the organizational weaknesses inside the Defense Department which led officials to miss the insider terrorist threat; and contributing to a growing body of theoretical research examining the connection between underlying organizational weaknesses and disasters.

Analysis and Commentary

Cyberwar With Amy Zegart At TEDxStanford

by Amy Zegartvia TEDx
Monday, June 29, 2015

What makes today’s issues of cyber security different than any other threat we’ve faced as a nation? Co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution Amy Zegart lays out the five reasons cyberwar is a whole new world.

The Drone Age

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 19, 2015

The drone revolution will pose new threats—but also better ways to counter them.

Weak, In Review

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 19, 2015

When the Cold War ended, strategists became distracted by the dangers of the “weak state.” Powerful adversaries used the opportunity to grow even more powerful.

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Tomorrow's National Security Landscape

by Amy Zegartvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

There are four key areas of threat to which the United States should respond. 

an image
Analysis and Commentary

The Coming Revolution Of Drone Warfare

by Amy Zegartvia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

New technologies will allow many states—and nonstate actors—to make low-cost but highly credible threats.

Analysis and Commentary

Additional Thoughts On The DNI’s Annual Threat Assessment

by Amy Zegartvia Lawfare
Monday, March 2, 2015

Jack gave a terrific rapid reaction to the DNI’s 2015 annual threat assessment, delivered last Thursday. Here, I wanted to add a few more brief thoughts comparing this assessment to previous ones.

Analysis and Commentary

Stop Drinking The Weak Sauce

by Amy Zegartvia Foreign Policy
Monday, February 23, 2015

Washington’s paranoia over weak and failing states is distracting it from the real national security threats looming on the horizon.

Department of Defense

China Rising

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

But what is it rising toward, and how fast? For American leaders, the uncertainty itself poses a challenge.

CIA Headquarters
Analysis and Commentary

Let the C.I.A. Do What It Is Supposed to Do

by Amy Zegartvia New York Times
Monday, December 22, 2014

From its inception in 1947, the C.I.A. was designed with one overriding mission: preventing strategic surprise. Its controversial interrogation program is just the latest symptom of a larger disease, the tyranny of the current.