Amy Zegart

Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow
Biography: 

Amy Zegart is the Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at Stanford University. She is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Chair of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence and International Security Steering Committee, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. She specializes in U.S. intelligence, emerging technologies and national security, grand strategy, and global political risk management.

Zegart has been featured by the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. Most recently, she served as a commissioner on the 2020 CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force (co-chaired by Avril Haines and Stephanie O’Sullivan) and has advised the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. She served on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council staff and as a foreign policy adviser to the Bush 2000 presidential campaign. She has also testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and advised senior officials on intelligence, homeland security, and cybersecurity matters.

The author of five books, Zegart’s award-winning research includes the leading academic study of intelligence failures before 9/11 — Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (Princeton 2007). She co-edited with Herbert Lin Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations (Brookings 2019). She and Condoleezza Rice co-authored Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity (Twelve 2018) based on their popular Stanford MBA course. Zegart’s forthcoming book is Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence (Princeton 2022). Her research has also been published in International Security and other academic journals as well as Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

Previously, Zegart served as codirector of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, founding codirector of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program, and chief academic officer of the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Stanford, she was Professor of Public Policy at UCLA and a McKinsey & Company consultant.

She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Dissertation Award, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award, two UCLA teaching awards, and grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Hewlett Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Zegart 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. 

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Recent Commentary

In the News

National Bloviation Strategy

mentioning Amy Zegartvia Reason
Monday, March 25, 2019

I know. The title could be talking about pretty much any national strategy written in the last 15 years. And that's the point. In the interview, Dr. Amy Zegart and I discuss the national cyber strategy and what's wrong with it, besides all the bloviating. We also explore the culture clash between DOD and Silicon Valley (especially Google), and whether the right response to the Mueller report would be to conduct a thorough investigation into how the Intelligence Community and Justice handled the collusion allegations at the start of the Trump Administration.

Interviews

Amy Zegart: Episode 256: National Bloviation Strategy (30:35)

interview with Amy Zegartvia Steptoe
Monday, March 25, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Amy Zegart discusses the divide between Google and the military. Zegart notes that encouraging undergraduates to study technology, security, and privacy would help them understand the need to protect the national interest.

Featured

The Battle For American Minds

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, March 4, 2019

Russia’s 2016 election interference was only the beginning. New tactics and deep fakes are probably coming soon.

Featured

Hoover In D.C. Puts Scholars In Conversation With Policymakers

featuring Hoover Institution, Mike Franc, Amy Zegart, Herbert Lin, Russ Roberts, Adam J. Whitevia Stanford News
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

When policymakers in Washington D.C. want an outsider perspective on a problem, they don’t need to leave the nation’s capital to get a 10,000-foot view.

 
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? 

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