Matthew Zais is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative. He is also the vice president of government affairs for Hillwood and HKN Energy Ltd.

He previously served for two years in the White House as the director for Iraq and Kurdish Affairs on the National Security Council. Most recently he served as the principal deputy assistant secretary of international affairs at the US Department of Energy, where he advocated for regional energy collaboration, including through the Abraham Accords, through the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, and across the Middle East.

Zais is a retired US army officer and has over two decades of experience, including as an infantry officer and from strategic roles in combating weapons of mass destruction, cyber, and Middle East policy. 

He is the co-author of the two-volume official history of the US Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He taught international relations and US foreign policy as an assistant professor at the US Military Academy at West Point and served as adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Zais holds a BS in economics from the US Military Academy at West Point and an MPA and PhD in security studies from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.