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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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.

Devin Nunes's Fake Oversight

by Amy Zegart
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The House Intelligence Committee chairman’s actions are toxic to the democratic process and dangerous to American national security.

IntellectionsFeatured

Why Cyber Is Different

by Amy Zegartvia PolicyEd.org
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cyber attacks are a new type of dangerous threats that are vastly different from traditional warfare. Cyber attacks threats are increasing, making powerful nations even more susceptible. Because cyber attacks can occur unexpectedly, we need to be more vigilant and increase coordination among organizations to prevent attacks.

Featured

The Specter Of A Chinese Mole In America

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The case of a suspected turncoat couldn’t come at a worse time for the intelligence community.

Analysis and Commentary

New Year's Resolutions Are Predictions About The Future

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, January 8, 2018

2017 was a wild ride, and 2018 doesn’t seem inclined to put on the brakes. Who could have guessed last year that Matt Lauer would go from Today to yesterday—felled, along with Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Bill O’Reilly, and so many others, by the open discussion of their creepy “open secrets”? 

Featured

How Cyber Attacks Threaten Our Security

by Amy Zegartvia Policyed.org
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

There are many ways that cyber attacks threaten our national security. For instance, cyber warfare could affect our nation’s communication systems, intellectual property, or the military’s capability to react and defend the country. Understanding the nature of cyber attacks will help us prevent and defend against them.

Featured

The Tools Of Espionage Are Going Mainstream

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, November 27, 2017

Great-power deception is no longer designed just to trick a handful of leaders. It’s designed to trick us all.

Featured

Trump Isn't The Only Problem With Trump's Foreign Policy

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

America’s approach to the world is a complicated mess, for reasons that predate the current president.

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