Amy Zegart

Davies Family Senior Fellow

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

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

Analysis and Commentary

Al Qaeda is down, not out

by Amy Zegartvia Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

U.S. talk of defeating terrorism is dangerously premature...

Congress: A Pre-9/11 State of Mind

by Amy Zegartvia Advancing a Free Society
Friday, July 29, 2011

Ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of America’s intelligence system is not the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but the United States Congress.

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Congress: A Pre-9/11 State of Mind

by Amy Zegartvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Intelligence oversight on Capitol Hill remains in dismal condition.

In the News

Congress: A Pre-9/11 State of Mind

by Amy Zegartvia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Intelligence oversight on Capitol Hill remains in dismal condition...

Future Challenges: The Roots of Weak Congressional Intelligence Oversight

by Amy Zegart
Monday, June 14, 2010

This essay examines why, ten years after 9/11, the least reformed part of the US intelligence system is Congress, not the CIA or the FBI.

Future Challenges

by Peter Berkowitz, Benjamin Wittes, Tod Lindberg, Jessica Stern, Philip Bobbitt, Matthew Waxman, Jack Goldsmith, Kenneth Anderson, Amy Zegartvia Analysis
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Future Challenges essay series, a collaborative effort of Hoover’s Koret-Taube Task Force on National Security and Law, is an online volume that explores a variety of emerging national security and law challenges, including the crafting of rules for the detention of unlawful enemy combatants, the proper orientation for the United States toward the International Criminal Court, the deradicalization of terrorists, application of the principle of proportionality to asymmetric warfare, developments in the war-powers doctrine, cyber-warfare, the search for and regulation of weapons of mass destruction, and the reform of Congressional oversight of intelligence.

Analysis and Commentary

DNI - flawed by design?

by Amy Zegartvia National Journal Expert Blog: National Security
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Defense Department fought vigorously behind the scenes to strip the teeth out of measures that could have given the DNI budgetary and personnel control...