Amy Zegart

Davies Family Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Amy Zegart is the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, professor of political science (by courtesy), and co-director and senior fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). She directs the Cyber Policy Program and is a contributing editor to The Atlantic.

Before coming to Stanford in 2011, Zegart served as professor of public policy at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research examines U.S. intelligence challenges, cyber security, grand strategy, and American foreign policy. She has authored several books, including Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC, which won the highest national dissertation award in political science, and Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11, which won the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award. Her most recent book is Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community.

Her current research includes a book with Condoleezza Rice on how business leaders can manage political risk (Twelve Books, 2018), a project on drones and coercion, and a book about intelligence challenges in the digital age.

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 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 TimesWashington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

Before her academic career, Zegart spent three years at McKinsey & Company advising leading companies about strategy and organizational effectiveness.

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 served on the FBI Intelligence Analysts Association National Advisory Board and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counter-terrorism and Community Police Advisory Board. She also served on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She currently serves on the Social Science Research Council Task Force on Securing Knowledge and on the board of directors of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

The Effect Of Trump’s Foreign-Policy Doctrine

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Thursday, July 12, 2018

NATO leaders have a lot to worry about.

Featured

A Prime Opportunity To Get Inside Kim Jong Un’s Head

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Friday, June 1, 2018

Following news updates about President Trump's on-again, off-again nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can make it feel as if the White House is prepping for the opening night of a Vegas show: If only the curtain goes up, all will be fine.

The Atlantic Daily: Life Did Its Thing

by Amy Zegart
Thursday, May 31, 2018

U.S. and North Korean officials are meeting to discuss the agenda and logistics of the summit that President Trump abruptly canceled last week, suggesting that the meeting might be back on—and that Trump’s unorthodox maneuvers might have worked.

Interviews

Amy Zegart: Businesses Are Bracing For Political Surprise

by Amy Zegartvia KERA
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hoover Institution fellow Amy Zegart discusses how everything from global conflicts and terrorist actions, to hackers and even individual Twitter users can impact our lives and organizations like never before.

Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity

by Condoleezza Rice, Amy Zegartvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The world is changing fast. Political risk-the probability that a political action could significantly impact a company's business-is affecting more businesses in more ways than ever before. A generation ago, political risk mostly involved a handful of industries dealing with governments in a few frontier markets. Today, political risk stems from a widening array of actors, including Twitter users, local officials, activists, terrorists, hackers, and more. 

In the News

Managing 21st-Century Political Risk

by Condoleezza Rice, Amy Zegartvia Harvard Business Review
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

In 2010, Gabriela Cowperthwaite read a news article that changed her life. It described how an orca whale had killed a trainer during a show at SeaWorld in Orlando.

Analysis and Commentary

The 'First Woman CIA Director' Is A Smokescreen

by Amy Zegartvia Atlantic
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gina Haspel's gender is the least important fact about her.

Featured

Cheap Fights, Credible Threats: The Future Of Armed Drones And Coercion

by Amy Zegartvia Journal of Strategic Studies
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Drones are considered poor coercion tools: They cannot operate in contested airspace and they offer low-cost fights instead of more credible, costly signals. However, this article finds that technological advances will soon enable drones to function in hostile environments.

Devin Nunes's Fake Oversight

by Amy Zegart
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The House Intelligence Committee chairman’s actions are toxic to the democratic process and dangerous to American national security.

IntellectionsFeatured

Why Cyber Is Different

by Amy Zegartvia PolicyEd.org
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cyber attacks are a new type of dangerous threats that are vastly different from traditional warfare. Cyber attacks threats are increasing, making powerful nations even more susceptible. Because cyber attacks can occur unexpectedly, we need to be more vigilant and increase coordination among organizations to prevent attacks.

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