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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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Langley Goes Hollywood

by Amy Zegartvia Foreign Policy
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Analysis and Commentary

No Easy Day For Secrecy

by Amy Zegartvia Foreign Policy
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Resilience Is Not Enough

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Monday, August 13, 2012

Bouncing back from national-security setbacks is no substitute for overcoming or avoiding them in the first place. By Amy B. Zegart.

Analysis and Commentary

Taking Resilience Too Far

by Amy Zegartvia Slate
Monday, March 19, 2012

Resilience isn’t always a good thing, especially when it comes to national security...

Analysis and Commentary

Taking Resilience Too Far

by Amy Zegartvia Slate
Monday, March 19, 2012

Resilience isn’t always a good thing, especially when it comes to national security...

Osama bin Laden stencil

Strange Defeat

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 23, 2012

The “strategic defeat” of Al-Qaeda? A feel-good story . . . that’s too good to be true. By Amy B. Zegart.

Eyes on Spies

by Amy Zegartvia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of America’s intelligence system is not the CIA or the FBI, but Congress. The September 11 terrorist attacks sparked major efforts to transform executive branch intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the FBI.

Wanted posters

Eyes on Spies

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The 9/11 attacks were the clearest possible call for effective national intelligence. Why are we still waiting? By Amy B. Zegart.

Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community
Books

Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Institution Press
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of America’s intelligence system is not the CIA or FBI but the US Congress.

Al Qaeda is down, not out

by Amy Zegartvia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Talk of strategically defeating Al Qaeda is all the rage in the

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