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Our Team

Intelligence Studies Project Director
Stephen B. Slick

Steve Slick

Stephen B. Slick is the inaugural Director of the Intelligence Studies Project. He retired in 2014 after 28 years as a member of CIA's clandestine service.

Between 2005 and 2009, Steve served as a special assistant to the president and the Senior Director for Intelligence Programs and Reform on the staff of the National Security Council. He was previously the Director for Intelligence Programs at the NSC. While serving at the White House, Steve participated in efforts to restructure and reform the intelligence community informed by recommendations of the commissions charged with investigating the 9/11 attacks and the flawed pre-war analysis of Iraq's unconventional weapons programs. These efforts included a series of executive orders on U.S. intelligence issued in August 2004, key provisions in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the administration's responses to recommendations by the "WMD Commission," as well as significant amendments to Executive Order 12333 that were approved by President George W. Bush in 2008. Steve 1

Steve completed five overseas tours as a CIA operations officer and manager, including service from 2009 to 2013 as the chief of station and director of national intelligence's representative in a Middle Eastern capital. His assignments at CIA Headquarters included service as an executive assistant to the deputy director of central intelligence and leading CIA's operations in the Balkans. Steve received CIA's Medal of Merit, Commendation Medal and other awards. 

Prior to joining CIA, Steve was a litigation associate at the law firm of Rawle and Henderson in Philadelphia. Steve received a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University, J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, and Master in Public Policy from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

“Steve Slick for many years served the public with great distinction, both within the Intelligence Community and at the National Security Council. Now students and scholars will have the benefit of his sharp analysis, thoughtful perspective and extraordinary experience. It is a major step forward for the ISP and its effort to focus scholarly attention on the role of intelligence.” University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven

“Few people are better positioned than Steve Slick to bring a strategic and historical perspective to the work of the U.S. Intelligence Community. As our nation faces a world of increasingly difficult threats and challenges, Steve Slick will provide an important voice for guiding this work."Former National Security Advisor Steve Hadley

“It is a privilege to have someone with Steve’s background, knowledge and experience on our campus. With Steve’s leadership, the ISP will make The University of Texas at Austin a premier center for the study of the Intelligence Community.”Former University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers

“There has been far too little focus in the academic world on the Intelligence Community and the critical role it plays in our country’s national security. The hiring of Steve Slick to strengthen the work of the Clements and Strauss Centers positions UT- Austin to be the leading academic center on U.S. intelligence.” — Former NSA Director and former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Bob Inman 

Director of the Robert Strauss Center
Robert M. Chesney

RChesney Profilecrop

Robert "Bobby" Chesney holds the James Baker Chair and also serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Texas School of Law. In addition, he is the Director of the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, a University-wide research unit bridging across disciplines to improve understanding of international security issues.

In 2009, Professor Chesney served in the Justice Department in connection with the Detention Policy Task Force created by Executive Order 13493. He also previously served the Intelligence Community as an associate member of the Intelligence Science Board and as a member of the Advanced Technology Board. In addition to his current positions at the University of Texas, he is a member of the American Law Institute, and a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and a former non-resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution.

Professor Chesney is a co-founder and contributor to www.lawfareblog.com, the leading source for analysis, commentary, and news relating to law and national security. In addition to his blogging at Lawfare, those interested in national security law should consider following Professor Chesney on Twitter (@bobbychesney) as well as subscribing to the National Security Law Podcast (which he co-hosts with his colleague Steve Vladeck). Professor Chesney's scholarship focuses on U.S. national security policies and institutions, encompassing both domestic and international law issues. His articles may be downloaded from SSRN here.

Professor Chesney is a magna cum laude graduate of both Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School. After law school he clerked for the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Robert D. Sack of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He then practiced with the firm Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York (litigation), before beginning his academic career with Wake Forest University School of Law. There he received a teacher of the year award from the student body in one year, and from the school's dean in another. In 2008, he came to the University of Texas School of Law as a visiting professor, and then joined UT on a permanent basis in 2009. He became the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2011.

Professor Chesney teaches a variety of courses, including: Constitutional Law, National Security Law, Foundations of Cybersecurity: Law, Institutions, and Policy; Law of the Intelligence Community; History of U.S. Counterterrorism Law & Policy: 1970 to Present; Evidence, Civil Procedure, and an array of seminars.  

Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security
Dr. William Inboden

Will Inboden

Dr. William Inboden is the Executive Director and William Powers, Jr. Chair of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas-Austin. He also serves as Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and Editor-in-Chief of the Texas National Security Review. Dr. Inboden's other current roles include Associate with the National Intelligence Council, Member of the CIA Director's Historical Review Panel, and Non-Resident Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Previously he served as Senior Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council at the White House, where he worked on a range of foreign policy issues including the National Security Strategy, strategic forecasting, democracy and governance, contingency planning, counter-radicalization, and multilateral institutions and initiatives. Dr. Inboden also worked at the Department of State as a Member of the Policy Planning Staff and a Special Advisor in the Office of International Religious Freedom, and has worked as a staff member in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives.

Dr. Inboden has also served as Senior Vice President of the London-based Legatum Institute, and as a Civitas Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, and his commentary has appeared in numerous outlets including the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesWashington PostLos Angeles TimesWeekly Standard, NPR, CNN, Sky News, and BBC.  He has lectured widely in academic and policy settings, testified before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, and received numerous research and professional development fellowships. Dr. Inboden is the author of Religion and American Foreign Policy, 1945-1960: The Soul of Containment (Cambridge University Press) as well as numerous articles and book chapters on national security, American foreign policy, and American history. Professor Inboden has received multiple teaching awards including recognition as a “Texas 10” by the Texas Exes Alumni Association, and his classes Presidential Decision-making in National Security and Ethics & International Relations have been selected in recent years as the "Best Class in the LBJ School" and “Class Most Likely to Challenge Your Assumptions.”  His current research includes a book project on the Reagan Administration’s national security strategy and policy.  Inboden received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in history from Yale University, and his A.B. in history from Stanford University.

Professor of Practice, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Senior Fellow, Intelligence Studies Project
J. Paul Pope


J. Paul Pope retired from the CIA after multiple foreign tours, service as Chief of Station, and assignments as a Chief, Deputy Chief, and Chief of Ops in the Directorate of Operations’ three largest components.  As Chief of Training and Tradecraft Division, he was responsible for DO training, capture of “lessons learned,” and adapting to emerging technical challenges and mission imperatives.  He was acting ADNI for Partner Engagement for an extended period and Head of Delegation to NATO’s Civilian Intelligence Committee. Pope was DNI/DCIA Representative to Commander, US Pacific Command and his component commands.  Prior to the NCS, he served on the National Intelligence Council for the Near East and South Asia and led an analytic unit in the Directorate of Intelligence.  Pope was an Army officer, with service on the Army General Staff after twice commanding at the company level, including command of the only active firebase in the Army on the Korean DMZ.  He received his M.A. With Distinction from the Naval Postgraduate School and BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  He is a Distinguished Graduate of Command and General Staff College and a graduate of the National War College’s CAPSTONE course.

Senior Advisor, Intelligence Studies Project
John O. Brennan 

John Brennan CIA official portrait

John O. Brennan is the Senior Advisor to the Intelligence Studies Project and a Distinguished Non-Resident Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Brennan was sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on March 8, 2013. As Director, he managed intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign intelligence services.

Before becoming Director, Mr. Brennan served at the White House for four years as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. During that time, he advised the President on counterterrorism strategy and helped coordinate the US Government’s approach to homeland security, including its policies for responding to terrorism, cyber-attacks, natural disasters, and pandemics. Mr. Brennan began his service in government at the CIA, where he worked from 1980 to 2005. He spent most of his early career in the Agency’s main analytic arm, the Directorate of Analysis, specializing in the Near East and South Asia before directing counterterrorism analysis in the early 1990s. In 1994 and 1995 he was the Agency’s intelligence briefer to President Bill Clinton.

After an assignment as a Chief of Station in the Middle East, Mr. Brennan served from 1999 to 2001 as Chief of Staff to George Tenet, who was then Director of Central Intelligence. Mr. Brennan next worked as Deputy Executive Director of the CIA until 2003, when he began leading a multi-agency effort to establish what would become the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2004, he became the Center’s Interim Director. After retiring from the CIA in 2005, Mr. Brennan worked in the private sector for three years.

Mr. Brennan graduated from Fordham University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While enrolled at Fordham, he studied abroad at the American University in Cairo in 1975-1976. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin, where in 1980 he earned a master’s degree in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies.

Senior National Security Fellow, Intelligence Studies Project
Nicholas Rasmussen

Michele Malvesti

Nicholas "Nick" Rasmussen, the former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), holds joint appointments as Senior National Security Fellow at the Intelligence Studies Project, Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and Clements Center for National Security. Mr. Rasmussen is the Senior Director for Counterterrorism Programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Washington, D.C. He led the NCTC from 2014 to 2017, having previously served as the Center's Deputy Director, special assistant to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and the National Security Council's Senior Director for Counterterrorism. Mr. Rasmussen began his public service career in 1991 as a Presidential Management Intern at the State Department after earning a BA from Wesleyan University and an MPA from Princeton's University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


Senior National Security Fellow, Intelligence Studies Project
Dr. Michele Malvesti

Michele Malvesti

Dr. Michele Malvesti, a scholar and former White House counterterrorism advisor, holds joint appointments as Senior National Security Fellow at the Intelligence Studies Project, Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and Clements Center for National Security.

Dr. Malvesti is a Vice President at the Financial Integrity Network in Washington, D.C. Her public service began in the early 1990s as a terrorism analyst in the intelligence community and culminated with her appointment as the National Security Council's Senior Director for Combatting Terrorism Strategy. Dr. Malvesti was a Professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where she earned her MALD and Ph.D. degrees. She also taught at Yale University where she was a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Dr. Malvesti led a popular seminar in "The Power and Politics of Gender in Global Affairs" during UT's 2019 spring semester.


 Fellow to the Intelligence Studies Project
Dr. Kiril Avramov

DAvramov3r. Kiril Avramov is a non-resident Fellow to the Intelligence Studies Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Avramov was the Acting Vice-Rector for International Relations and Research at the New Bulgarian University (NBU) in Sofia, Bulgaria and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at NBU. He studied previously at Gustavus Adolphus College (USA/MN), the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), University of Sofia (Bulgaria), Central European University (Hungary), and NBU. He taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Sofia until 2005 and, from 2006-2010, was also the Director of the international consultancy and research institute “Political Capital” in Bulgaria. In 2010, he was appointed as the Director for International Relations of Political Capital at the firm’s headquarters in Budapest.

Dr. Avramov’s main research interests are information warfare, psychological operations and mass cognitive hacking, as well as the “weaponization of information” and their respective application and effects on individual and group decision-making processes in the Central and Eastern Europe and MENA regions. Additional areas of interest include political elites’ and non-elites’ decision-making resilience mechanisms and radicalization in post-transition democracies during identified active “psyops” and third party information operations. 

Dr. Avramov is a member of the Bulgarian Political Science Association and the ECPR’s standing groups on Extremism & Democracy, Central and East European Politics, Elites and Political Leadership, Politics and the Arts, and Southeast Europe. He is also a member of the RAN-DERAD network under the Migration and Home Affairs Directorate of the European Commission.

Dr. Avramov was a Fulbright Senior Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015-2016. He earned a full scholarship for his PhD research at the University of Sofia and received an “Open Society Institute-Sofia” scholarship for his year-long PhD specialization at the Central European University in Budapest.

Research Program Coordinator, Intelligence Studies Project
Kim-Anh Nguyen

Kim NguyenKim Nguyen is the Research Program Coordinator for the Intelligence Studies Project. Prior to assuming this position, she served as an intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Technology and Long-Range Analysis Office. At DIA, she conducted S&T intelligence analysis to warn senior policy makers, to include officials at the White House and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, of foreign adversaries’ pursuit of emerging and disruptive technologies and technology transfer issues. In addition to her duties as an intelligence officer, Ms. Nguyen represented her office at the DIA’s Directorate of Analysis Council of Employees, advocating for workforce issues.

Ms. Nguyen served at City Schoolyard Garden (CSG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Charlottesville, Virginia, as the Program Coordinator for over a year. She led and managed the logistical operations of CSG’s academic and health program and led the integration of the Farm-to-School concept into the Charlottesville City School District’s Nutrition Department. She represented CSG at community networks including the Charlottesville Food Justice Network and the Move2Health network, aimed towards improving the community’s policies and perceptions on food inequalities and health.

Ms. Nguyen obtained her Professional Geologist license while employed at URS Corporation, an engineering and environmental consulting firm. For 7 years, she operated as a hydrogeologist, assistant project manager, HAZWOPER supervisor, and site safety officer for multiple environmental projects with the Department of Defense, state and local entities, and the oil and gas industry. 

Ms. Nguyen graduated as the Valedictorian of her undergraduate class at the University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences with a B.S. degree in Geological Sciences. 


ISP Student Fellows 

Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellow
Gabriel Cortez

Gabriel CortezGabriel Cortez graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration with summa cum laude honors. As a Charles B. Rangel Fellow with the U.S. State Department, Gabriel will join the Foreign Service after completing his Master’s in Global Policy Studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Gabriel has an extensive work history with the U.S. federal government, working and interning with different offices and agencies like the U.S. Helsinki Commission, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Department of Health, and U.S. Department of State at its General Consulate in Milan, Italy. He has lived abroad in several countries, including Japan and Italy, and served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine for three years as a Volunteer Leader. His policy areas include U.S. Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, National Security, the European Union, Eastern Europe, and Intelligence. As a Brumley Fellow, Gabriel will work with ISP Director Stephen Slick.


Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellow
Marigny Kirschke-Schwartz

Marigny Kirschke Schwartz

Marigny Kirschke-Schwartz is a second-year Master of Global Policy Studies candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Peace, War, and Defense and a minor in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research examines the efficacy of counterterrorism policy and reforms in the U.S. Intelligence Community, with broad interests in covert action and national security. She is spending the summer of 2020 working as a Research Associate for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, focusing on terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation policy. Upon completion of her degree, Marigny plans to pursue a career in public service. As a Brumley Fellow, Marigny will work with Professor Paul Pope, Senior Fellow at the Intelligence Studies Project.