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
Mark Mitchell
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism
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
Michael (Mick) Mulroy
Former CIA Officer;
former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East
US Department of Defense
Matt Castelli
Former CIA Officer; former Director for Counterterrorism
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
Michael R. Ortiz
Former Deputy Coordinator for Countering Violent Extremism
Department of State
Chris Costa
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism
National Security Council
Barry Pavel
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict
US Department of Defense
Kirsten Fontenrose
Former Senior Director for Gulf Affairs
National Security Council
Pamela Quanrud
Former Director, Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS
US Department of State
Danny Glaser
Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes
US Department of the Treasury
Nick Rasmussen
Former Director
National Counterterrorism Cente
r
Robert Grenier
Former Director of the Counterterrorism Center
Central Intelligence Agency
Norman Roule
Former National Intelligence Manager for Iran
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
Christopher K. Harnisch
Former Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism
US State Department
Nathan A. Sales
Former Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS 
US Department of State
Luke Hartig
Former Senior Director for Counterterrorism
National Security Council
Francis X. Taylor
Former Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis,
US Department of Homeland Security;
former Coordinator for Counterterrorism,
US Department of State
Bernard Hudson
Former Chief of Counterterrorism
Central Intelligence Agency
Russ Travers
Former Deputy Homeland Security Adviser
National Security Council
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
Lee Wolosky
Former Special Counsel to the President
White House Counsel’s Office
Michael McGarrity
Former Assistant Director of Counterterrorism
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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
Deputy Assistant to the President & Deputy Homeland Security Advisor
National Security Council
Christopher Maier
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations / Low-Intensity
US Department of Defense
Matt Olsen
Assistant Attorney General for National Security
US Department of Justice
Anne Witkowsky
Former Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism
US Department of State
Previous speakers – 2020
Christopher C. Miller
Former Director
National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
Ambassador Nathan Sales
Former Ambassador-at-Large and former 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
Dr. Julia Nesheiwat
Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security & Resilience
National Security Council
Previous speakers – 2021
Mr. Laurent Nuñez
National Coordinator of Intelligence and Combat against Terrorism
Presidency of the French Republic
Mr. Tom Hurd
Former Director General
Office for Security and Counterterrorism of the United Kingdom
Dr. Hamdullah Mohib
Former National Security Advisor
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Christopher Maier
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations / Low-Intensity Conflict
US Department of Defense
Josh Geltzer
Deputy Assistant to the President & Deputy Homeland Security Advisor
National Security Council
John T. Godfrey
Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Acting Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS
US Department of State
Ambassador Roger D. Carstens,
Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs
US Department of State
Christine “Christy” Abizaid
Director
National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)
Previous speakers – 2022
John D. Cohen
Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Intelligence and Analysis
US Department of Homeland Security
Lt. General Tariq Al Hassan
Chief of Public Security, Ministry of Interior
Kingdom of Bahrain
Rear Admiral Milton James Sands III
Commander, Special Operations Command Africa
US Special Operations Command
Defense Analysts
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence
The Kingdom of Norway

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

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

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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.

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Several tiny satellites photographed by an Expedition 33 crew member on the International Space Station. The satellites were released outside the Kibo laboratory using a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer attached to the Japanese module’s robotic arm on Oct. 4, 2012. Source: NASA, “Several tiny satellites,” Wikimedia Commons, October 4, 2012, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ISS-33_Several_tiny_satellites_1.jpg.

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By Atlantic Council

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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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