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Wed, Jul 14, 2021

FAST THINKING: The geopolitics of Iran’s kidnapping plot

How should the United States respond to a kidnapping plot on American soil? And what do the revelations mean for sensitive nuclear negotiations with Tehran? Our Iran experts are on the case.

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Human Rights Iran

Mon, Jun 28, 2021

FAST THINKING: What Biden’s airstrikes left behind

What does this mean for the future of drone warfare and the US military presence in Iraq? Our experts sort through the fallout.

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Conflict Iran

Thu, Jun 24, 2021

No, the US shouldn’t withdraw from the Middle East

Wechsler responds to the New American Engagement Initiative's latest publication. Read his recommendations and analysis on why the US should not withdraw from the Middle East.

Issue Brief by William F. Wechsler

Middle East Politics & Diplomacy

William F. Wechsler is Director of the Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council.

Wechsler’s most recent government position was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combatting Terrorism. He advised multiple Secretaries and helped coordinate interagency policies on a wide range of direct and indirect actions. His portfolio included the Department’s policies, plans, authorities and resources related to special operations and irregular warfare, with an emphasis on counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, information operations and other sensitive operations. He also helped provide civilian oversight for the service-like responsibilities of the United States Special Operations Command.

Previously Wechsler served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, where he directed a budget of $1.6 billion and oversaw military and civilian programs around the globe. His key areas of focus included integrating law enforcement operations into our military campaigns in Afghanistan and institutionalizing military counter threat finance structures and doctrine.

During the Clinton Administration Wechsler served as Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, where he helped establish the legal regime and policies we use to impose foreign sanctions and combat money laundering. He had previously served as Director for Transnational Threats on the National Security Council staff, and prior to that was a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Wechsler is currently also President of the Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime and the Treasurer of the American Historical Association. He was previously a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Wechsler has also had a separate career in finance. He has been Vice Chairman of Capitol Peak Asset Management and Managing Director of Greenwich Associates. He is a CFA charter holder and also holds the Series 7 and Series 63 securities licenses.

Wechsler is a graduate of Cornell University and received a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He has been an adjunct lecturer at SIPA and is currently an executive committee member of the SIPA alumni association. He has contributed chapters to two edited volumes and has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, and the National Interest, among others.