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 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). She is a native of Louisville, Kentucky.

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Featured

An Intelligent History

by Amy Zegartvia The American Interest
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Spying has always been part of great power conflict. Egyptians chiseled the oldest surviving intelligence reports on clay tablets 3,000 years ago. Even spy-themed entertainment has deep roots.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Says Russia Isn’t Still Targeting The U.S.—But He’s Wrong

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Putin’s government is waging information warfare against America, but the president is ignoring his intelligence advisers as they sound the alarm.

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.

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