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

In the News

3 Ways The Pentagon Could Improve Cyber Intelligence

quoting Amy Zegartvia Fifth Domain
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The United States needs to expand its cyber intelligence authorities and capabilities to meet the Trump administration’s new cybersecurity strategy, according to top current and former government officials and academics.

Featured

America’s Misbegotten Cyber Strategy

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Trump administration’s National Cyber Strategy rests on a pair of convenient fictions.

In the News

Can The Government Make Cyber Cool For College Grads?

quoting Amy Zegartvia Fifth Domain
Friday, February 1, 2019

One by one, six intelligence officers made a pitch for tech-savvy college graduates to join their ranks. “There is nothing more rewarding than protecting the American people,” FBI Director Chris Wray said when asked by Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., how the government can draw in engineers and ingenuity to help secure the nation in the face of big data-driven adversaries.

Featured

Amy Zegart And Herb Lin: Bytes, Bombs And Spies

interview with Amy Zegart, Herbert Linvia CSPAN
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows Amy Zegart and Herb Lin talk about the use of offensive cyber weapons by the US military.

Analysis and Commentary

Bytes, Bombs, And Spies: The Strategic Dimensions Of Offensive Cyber Operations

by Herbert Lin, Amy Zegartvia Lawfare
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Today the Brookings Institution is publishing our edited volume, "Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations." And here is the first introductory chapter, in which we overview the books and its arguments.

Bytes, Bombs, and Spies

by Herbert Lin, Amy Zegartvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Offensive cyber operations have become increasingly important elements of U.S. national security policy. From the deployment of Stuxnet to disrupt Iranian centrifuges to the possible use of cyber methods against North Korean ballistic missile launches, the prominence of offensive cyber capabilities as instruments of national power continues to grow. Yet conceptual thinking lags behind the technical development of these new weapons. How might offensive cyber operations be used in coercion or conflict? What strategic considerations should guide their development and use? 

Featured

The Divide Between Silicon Valley And Washington Is A National-Security Threat

by Amy Zegart, Lt Col Kevin Childsvia The Atlantic
Thursday, December 13, 2018

Closing the gap between technology leaders and policy makers will require a radically different approach from the defense establishment.

Featured

George Washington Was A Master Of Deception

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Founding Fathers relied on deceit in championing American independence—and that has lessons for the present.

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.

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