The Atlantic Council’s Counterterrorism Study Group is a bipartisan network of former US government professionals with experience in counterterrorism policymaking and operations. Participants include former senior officials who have served in both Democratic and Republican administrations on the National Security Council staff; at the departments of State, Defense, Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security; as agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal law enforcement agencies; and at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Counterterrorism Center, and other elements of the US intelligence community. The Counterterrorism Study Group hosts meetings under the Chatham House Rule with current executive branch counterterrorism professionals; with members of Congress and key Congressional staff with responsibilities for counterterrorism laws, policies and resources; and with foreign counterterrorism partners. Many participants regularly offer public commentary on counterterrorism subjects, but their individual views should not be understood to reflect the views of other participants of the Counterterrorism Study Group.

Engage with our 9/11 series as we continue forecasting the future of counterterrorism

Participants
Javed Ali
Former Senior Director for Counterterrorism
National Security Council
Michael (Mick) Mulroy
Former CIA Officer;
former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East
US Department of Defense
Graham Brookie
Former Advisor to the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (Homeland Security Advisor)
National Security Council
Mike Nagata
Former Director, Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning
National Counterterrorism Center
David Cohen
Former Deputy Director for Operations, Central Intelligence Agency; former Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, New York City Police Department
Matt Olsen
Former Director
National Counterterrorism Center
Chris Costa
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism
National Security Council
Michael R. Ortiz
Former Deputy Coordinator for Countering Violent Extremism
Department of State
Kirsten Fontenrose
Former Senior Director for Gulf Affairs
National Security Council
Barry Pavel
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict
US Department of Defense
Danny Glaser
Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes
US Department of the Treasury
Pamela Quanrud
Former Director, Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS
US Department of State
Robert Grenier
Former Director of the Counterterrorism Center
Central Intelligence Agency
Nick Rasmussen
Former Director
National Counterterrorism Cente
r
Christopher K. Harnisch
Former Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism
US State Department
Norman Roule
Former National Intelligence Manager for Iran
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Luke Hartig
Former Senior Director for Counterterrorism
National Security Council
Nathan A. Sales
Former Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS 
US Department of State
Bernard Hudson
Former Chief of Counterterrorism
Central Intelligence Agency
Francis X. Taylor
Former Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis,
US Department of Homeland Security;
former Coordinator for Counterterrorism,
US Department of State
Tina Kaidanow
Former Coordinator for Counterterrorism
US Department of State
Thomas S. Warrick
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Policy
Department of Homeland Security
Matthew Levitt
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Intelligence and Analysis
US Department of the Treasury
William F. Wechsler
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combatting Terrorism
US Department of Defense
Mike LeFever
Former Director, Strategic Operational Planning
National Counterterrorism Center
Owen West
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
US Department of Defense
Mary McCord
Former Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security
US Department of Justice
Anne Witkowsky
Former Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism
US Department of State
Michael McGarrity
Former Assistant Director of Counterterrorism
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Mark Mitchell
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism
US Department of Defense
Former Counterterrorism Study Group members who have returned to government service
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
US Department of State
Josh Geltzer
Special Assistant to the President
Special Advisor to the Homeland Security Advisor on Countering Domestic Violent Extremism
National Security Council
Russ Travers
Deputy Homeland Security Adviser
National Security Council
Lee Wolosky
Special Counsel to the President
White House Counsel’s Office
Previous speakers – 2020
Ambassador Nathan Sales
Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Acting Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
US Department of State
Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani
Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution
Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar
Previous speakers – 2021
Mr. Laurent Nuñez
National Coordinator of Intelligence and Combat against Terrorism
Presidency of the French Republic
Mr. Tom Hurd
Director General
Office for Security and Counterterrorism of the United Kingdom
Dr. Hamdullah Mohib
National Security Advisor
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

*Not all speakers hosted by the group are listed above.

Tue, Aug 3, 2021

The future of counterterrorism: Twenty years after 9/11

National security experts examine how the United States and its allies and partners must reimagine their counterterrorism strategies to counter the next terrorist threat.

Explore the series Watch the launch

Tue, Oct 20, 2020

Improving counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation between the United States and the Arab Gulf States

Thomas S. Warrick and Joze Pelayo present recommendations to improve and increase cooperation in civilian counterterrorism, law enforcement, border security, and aviation security between the United States and the Arab countries of the Gulf.

In-Depth Research & Reports by Thomas S. Warrick, Joze Pelayo

Defense Industry Defense Policy

All content

Fri, Sep 10, 2021

Confronting the disaster left behind in Afghanistan

The United States screwed up the endgame in Afghanistan once again, but working with allies and private rescue efforts, there’s time to make things right.

New Atlanticist by Mir Sadat

Afghanistan Conflict

Fri, Sep 3, 2021

Kohistany interviewed by CNN on Afghanistan

Forward Defense nonresident senior fellow M. Lyla Kohistany speaks with CNN on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Crisis Management

Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Warrick in the Washington Post on the Special Immigrant Visa

Forward Defense nonresident senior fellow Thomas Warrick writes in the Washington Post on the urgent need for the United States to update its SIV program.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Crisis Management

Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Grundman in Aviation Week on the US defense-industrial base

Forward Defense nonresident senior fellow Steven Grundman writes in Aviation Week on changes in the US defense-industrial base.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Defense Industry

Wed, Sep 1, 2021

How to avoid another state-building failure after Afghanistan

Why did the United States continue a state-building policy after al-Qaeda was dismantled? And how can it learn to use force to negotiate the peaceful end to its next conflict?

New Atlanticist by Frank Ruggiero

Afghanistan Conflict

Tue, Aug 31, 2021

Hu in Foreign Policy on Afghanistan evacuations

Forward Defense nonresident senior fellow Evanna Hu quoted in Foreign Policy on evacuations in Afghanistan.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Civil Society

Tue, Aug 31, 2021

FAST THINKING: The war is over, but the Afghanistan mission continues

What will continued US engagement in Afghanistan look like? How will the Taliban govern? What will become of the country’s refugees?

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Conflict

Tue, Aug 31, 2021

Trusted connectivity: A framework for a free, open, and connected world

As democracies address the global demand for a free, open, and connected world while ensuring that local and global emissions targets are met, they need an organizing framework: the concept of “trusted connectivity.”

Issue Brief by Kaush Arha

China Cybersecurity

Mon, Aug 30, 2021

Sadat in USA Today on Americans in Afghanistan

Forward Defense nonresident senior fellow Mir Sadat quoted in USA Today on the need to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.

In the News by Atlantic Council

Afghanistan Civil Society

Middle East Programs

Through our Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, the Atlantic Council works with allies and partners in Europe and the wider Middle East to protect US interests, build peace and security, and unlock the human potential of the region.

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