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Amy Zegart
Commentary

The Next Director of National Intelligence: A Thankless Job Is Getting Even Harder

Amy Zegart
Foreign Affairs, 2019 August 9, 2019

At the end of July, Dan Coats, the U.S. director of national intelligence (DNI), announced his resignation. When he leaves office on August 15, the U.S. intelligence community will be left with two crises to confront. One is obvious and immediate: how to protect the objectivity and professionalism of the intelligence agencies against the rising tide of politicization by the White House.

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Commentary

Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: Why U.S. Intelligence Agencies Must Adapt or Fail

Amy Zegart, Michael Morell, Michael Morell
Foreign Affairs, 2019 May 1, 2019

For U.S. intelligence agencies, the twenty-first century began with a shock, when 19 al Qaeda operatives hijacked four planes and perpetrated the deadliest attack ever on U.S. soil. In the wake of the attack, the intelligence community mobilized with one overriding goal: preventing another 9/11. The CIA, the National Security Agency, and the 15 other components of the U.S. intelligence community restructured, reformed, and retooled. Congress appropriated billions of dollars to support the transformation.

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Books

Bytes, Bombs, and Spies - The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations

Herbert Lin, Herbert Lin, Amy Zegart
Brookings Institution Press, 2019 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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Commentary

George Washington Was a Master of Deception

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegar
The Atlantic, 2018 November 25, 2018

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

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Commentary

The Self-Inflicted Demise of American Power

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegart
The Atlantic, 2018 July 12, 2018

NATO leaders have a lot to worry about. The U.K. government is a Brexit hot mess. Germany’s Angela Merkel, who has been holding a unified Europe together on her shoulders like Atlas, may not be able to last much longer. Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been channeling his inner authoritarian, and he’s not the only one. And then there’s President Donald Trump.

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Books

Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegart, Condoleezza Rice, Condoleezza Rice
2018 May 1, 2018

From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it.
The world is changing fast.

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Journal Articles

Cheap fights, credible threats: The future of armed drones and coercion

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegart
Journal of Strategic Studies, 2018 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. Moreover, drones offer three unique coercion advantages that theorists did not foresee: sustainability in long duration conflicts, certainty of precision punishment which can change the psychology of adversaries, and changes in the relative costs of war.

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Journal Articles

Introduction to the special issue on strategic dimensions of offensive cyber operations

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegart, Herb Lin, Herb Lin
Oxford Academic, 2017 March 1, 2017

Nations around the world recognize cybersecurity as a critical issue for public policy. They are concerned that their adversaries could conduct cyberattacks against their interests—damaging their military forces, their economies, and their political processes. Thus, their cybersecurity efforts have been devoted largely to protecting important information technology systems and networks against such attacks.

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Journal Articles

Pragmatic Engagement: A National Security Strategy for the Next President

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegart, Stephen Krasner
American Interest, 2016 May 4, 2016
The United States is exceptionally secure. No country today presents a clear and imminent security threat in the way that Germany, Japan, or the Soviet Union did in the 20th century. In the short and medium term, there is also no alternative value system that could displace America’s conception of individual liberty and a market-oriented economy—principles that have been embraced by all of the world’s wealthy industrialized countries in Western Europe, North America, and East Asia.
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Commentary

A Clear-Eyed Focus on our Interests: A guide for the Next President

Amy Zegart, Stephen Krasner
War on the Rocks, 2016 February 11, 2016
For the past two years, we have convened a bipartisan group of Hoover and Stanford scholars to better understand foreign policy challenges and develop a strategy for the next administration — whomever wins — to address them. Our conclusion: U.S. foreign policy needs to get back to basics. A smart national security strategy starts with three guiding principles and focuses on three key strategic challenges: Russia, China, and “black swan” threats comprised of biological, nuclear, and cyber dangers.
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Working Papers

Pragmatic Engagement Amidst Global Uncertainty

Amy Zegart, Stephen D. Krasner, Karl Eikenberry, James D. Fearon, Frank Fukuyama, David M. Kennedy, Abraham D. Sofaer
Hoover Institution Press, 2016 February 2, 2016
The Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy has produced a national security strategy that acknowledges this uncertainty and hedges as well as engages, recognizing that resources are not limitless. This strategy also endeavors to lay out the conceptual and policy road map for success
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Journal Articles

An INS Special Forum: The US Senate Select Committee Report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program

Amy Zegart, Mark Pythian
Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group, 2015 November 2, 2015
Eight leading experts in the areas of intelligence ethics and oversight and accountability were invited to contribute their perspectives on the US Senate Select Committee Report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program The responses that follow, presented in alphabetical order, offer a range of views that together provide an excellent guide to the questions and concerns posed by the report and its reception, ...
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Journal Articles

Insider Threats and Organizational Root Causes: The 2009 Fort Hood Terrorist Attack

Amy Zegart, Amy Zegart
The US Army War College Quarterly Parameters, 2015 August 31, 2015
This essay examines the 2009 Fort Hood terrorist attack with two goals in mind: illuminating the organizational weaknesses inside the Defense Department which led officials to miss the insider terrorist threat; and contributing to a growing body of theoretical research examining the connection between underlying organizational weaknesses and disasters.
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Commentary

Stop Drinking the Weak Sauce

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2015 February 23, 2015

For 25 years now, a weak-state fixation has transfixed U.S. foreign policy, Amy Zegart writes in this Foreign Policy piece. But Washington's paranoia over weak and failing states is distracting it from the real national security threats looming on the horizon.

 

 

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Commentary

Tough Witness

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2013 February 8, 2013

CISAC Faculty Member Amy Zegart discusses the confirmation hearings of CIA Director nominee John Brennan. Brennan has been subjected to increased scrutiny due to a leaked Obama administration paper concerning drone strikes. Zegart called Brennan's performance a "masterpiece of political maneuvering."

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Commentary

Controversy Dims as Public Opinion Shifts

Amy Zegart
The New York Times, 2013 January 7, 2013

CISAC Faculty Member Amy Zegart discusses how changing American attitudes towards torture have impacted presidential appointments to key intelligence positions, such as the Obama administration's appointment of John Brennan to lead the CIA. Four years ago, he withdrew from consideration for the position because of his role as a senior CIA official during the Bush administration and his association with enhanced interrogation techniques. His nomination as CIA Director is much less contentious this time around. 

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Commentary

Transportation SNAFU Administration

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2012 December 19, 2012

Foreign Policy blogger and CISAC Faculty Member Amy Zegart explains the good, the bad, and the ugly of aviation security. She notes that the increased use of bomb-sniffing dogs and LAX's ARMOR program, which uses an algorithm to conduct random times and locations for searches, are two examples of positive developments in the TSA's airline security measures. 

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Commentary

Spooks, Incorporated

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2012 December 5, 2012

Foreign Policy blogger and CISAC Faculty Member Amy Zegart explains how major private companies are increasingly developing their own intelligence that conduct surveillance and analyze information that places the reputation, personnel or business interests of their company. These units look and act like government intelligence agencies, and are staffed with former CIA, FBI, and military professionals that maintain their government ties. Companies operating globally cannot afford to ignore political events, natural disasters, and other risks. 

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Commentary

Focus on Officers, Not the Media

Amy Zegart
The New York Times, 2012 December 3, 2012

CISAC Faculty Member Amy Zegart explains the politics behind leading the CIA: winning trust and support within the organization and with outsiders. David Petraeus excelled at maintaining outside support for the CIA, but could not win over the intelligence community. 

Thee next CIA director will need to address major problems such as the military's increasing influence over the "spying business" and the agency's role in the tactical operations, all while the DoD increases its own intelligence activity.  

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Commentary

King David

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2012 November 21, 2012

In this blog post for Foreign Policy, Zegart discusses how the military's organizational and operational culture clashes with that of intelligence agencies. When military leaders are tasked with running an intelligence agency, three distinct concerns arise. The first is that a military leader will focus on short-term tactical operations over long-term strategic assessments. Military leaders are also accustomed to a hierarchical structure where orders from leaders are rarely questioned-- this clashes directly with the CIA's analytical culture.

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Commentary

Failing History

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2012 October 10, 2012

CISAC Faculty Member Amy Zegart outlines how the CIA's mindset has not changed since the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Fifty years since the crisis, the CIA and other intelligence agencies still operate in an organizational and psychological mindset that favors consensus and consistency. Zegart argues that these "invisible pressures" led to intelligence failures in Cuba in 1962 and Iraq in 2002, where dissenting opinions or internal disagreements were downplayed.

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Commentary

Torture Creep

Amy Zegart
Foreign Policy, 2012 September 25, 2012

According to Amy Zegart, CISAC faculty member, Americans have become more hawkish on counterterrorism policy since Barack Obama took office. In a blog post for Foreign Policy, Zegart conducted an online poll and found that 25 percent of Americans would stop a terrorist attack by using a nuclear weapon. Support for harsh interrogation techniques and assassination have also increased since similar polls were conducted in 2005 and 2007.

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Commentary

Taking Resilience Too Far

Amy Zegart
Slate.com, 2012 March 19, 2012

Article excerpt:

Last week, the shooting rampage by an American soldier in Afghanistan prompted renewed debate about why U.S. forces are there and how fast they should come home. As the withdrawal date nears, troops are racing to stabilize security and shore up the Afghan government to withstand a Taliban resurgence and prevent the re-emergence of terrorist safe havens. Nobody mentions “winning” the war. Instead, our goal is resilience: We are training Afghans to soldier on without us.

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Books

Implementing Change: Organizational Challenges

Amy Zegart
The National Academies Press, 2011 December 31, 2011

An excerpt from "Implementing Change: Organizational Challenges" (pp. 309-310):

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Commentary

Al Qaeda is Down, Not Out

Amy Zegart
Los Angeles Times, 2011 September 7, 2011
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