Amy Zegart

Davies Family Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Amy Zegart is the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, where she directs the Robert and Marion Oster National Security Affairs Fellows program. She is also a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies (FSI), professor of political science (by courtesy) at Stanford University, and a contributing editor to The Atlantic. From 2013 to 2018, she served as codirector of the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and founder and codirector of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program. She previously served as the chief academic officer of the Hoover Institution.

Her areas of expertise include cybersecurity, US intelligence and foreign policy, drone warfare, and political risk. An award-winning author, she has written four books. These include Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations (2019) coeditor with Herb Lin; Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity (2018) with Condoleezza Rice; Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and Origins of 9/11 (2007), which won the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award; Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC (1999); and Eyes on Spies: Congress and the US Intelligence Community (Hoover Institution Press, 2011). She has also published in leading academic journals, including International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and Political Science Quarterly.

Zegart has been 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 also testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee; provided training to the US Marine Corps; and advised officials on intelligence, homeland security, and cybersecurity matters. Her commentary has been featured on national television networks, NPR, the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and elsewhere. Before her academic career, Zegart spent three years as a McKinsey & Company management consultant advising leading companies on strategy and organizational effectiveness. She came to Stanford from UCLA, where she was a professor of public policy in the Luskin School of Public Affairs.  

She has won two UCLA teaching awards, the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Dissertation Award, and grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Hewlett Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

Zegart’s public service includes serving on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation, the FBI Intelligence Analysts Association National Advisory Board, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counter‑Terrorism and Community Police Advisory Board, the National Academies of Science Panel to Improve Intelligence Analysis, and the Social Science Research Council Task Force on Securing Knowledge. A former Fulbright Scholar, she received an A.B. in East Asian studies magna cum laude from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. She serves on the board of directors of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (KTOS) and the Capital Group. She is a native of Louisville, Kentucky.

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Tiananmen Dreams

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Throughout modern history, China has defied the experts and their expectations. Now, as always, the Middle Kingdom will move at its own pace.

Interviews

National Security Intelligence And American Threats With Guest Amy Zegart

interview with Amy Zegartvia Stanford Radio
Monday, October 7, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Amy Zegart discusses national security, intelligence, and threats against the US including cyber-security, drone warfare, and political risks.

Featured

The Whistle-Blower Really Knows How to Write

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Friday, September 27, 2019

Smoking guns are the stuff of spy movies. In real-life intelligence-gathering, they are exceptionally rare. That’s why the business of intelligence typically requires collecting and analyzing fragments of information—putting together secret nuggets with unclassified information—to try to make sense of complex reality.

Featured

In The Deepfake Era, Counterterrorism Is Harder

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

After failing to detect the 9/11 plot, spy agencies reinvented themselves for an age of terrorism, but a new generation of technological threats requires a new round of reforms.

In the News

Books For Beefing Up Business Security

featuring Condoleezza Rice, Amy Zegartvia Business Vancouver
Thursday, August 15, 2019

Political action can seriously affect businesses and attacks can come from multiple sources such as social media users, hackers and even local governments. Condoleezza Rice and Amy Zegart look at ways in which political activity can throw a company into crisis and what measures need to be taken to limit the damage. Whistleblowers and watchdog groups may also find this book of interest.

Featured

The Next Director Of National Intelligence

by Amy Zegartvia Foreign Affairs
Friday, August 9, 2019

At the end of July, Dan Coats, the U.S. director of national intelligence (DNI), announced his resignation. When he leaves office on August 15, the U.S. intelligence community will be left with two crises to confront. 

Featured

Debate Moderators Don’t Know Much About National Security

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Saturday, June 29, 2019

Viewers of the Democratic presidential debates learned quite a bit this week—from Joe Biden’s views of school busing to Marianne Williamson’s plan to defeat President Donald Trump with love. But I’d bet the next president will be consumed by an issue not a single person mentioned: cyber threats.

Featured

Not All Drones Are Created Equal

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Friday, June 21, 2019

Iran’s decision to shoot down an American RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone brought the United States to the brink of military retaliation. Beyond their enormous diplomatic and geopolitical implications, these events have also heightened anxieties around the world over the role of autonomous systems. Could drones lead humans down a reckless path to war?

Featured

Decades Of Being Wrong About China Should Teach Us Something

by Amy Zegart quoting Michael Spencevia The Atlantic
Saturday, June 8, 2019

Thirty years ago this week, I watched the news from Beijing and started shredding my bedding. It was the night before my college graduation, I had been studying Chinese politics, and news had broken that college students just like us had been gunned down in Tiananmen Square after weeks of peaceful and exhilarating democracy protests—carried on international TV. In the iconic square where Mao Zedong had proclaimed the People’s Republic decades before, bespectacled students from China’s best universities had camped out, putting up posters with slogans of freedom in Chinese and English. A “goddess of democracy” figure modeled after the Statue of Liberty embodied their hopes—and ours—for political liberation in China.

Featured

Offensive Cyber Operations In US National Security

by Amy Zegart, Herbert Lin, Bill Finanvia Brookings Institution
Friday, April 26, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows Amy Zegart and Herb Lin discusses their recent book Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations.

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