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

Bobby New Profile

Bobby Chesney is the Charles I. Francis Professor in Law, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at the University of Texas School of Law. He also is the Director of the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law, which is a university-wide interdisciplinary research center.

Professor Chesney’s scholarship concerns the legal architecture that regulates the U.S. government’s national security policies, institutions and activities, with a particular emphasis on the disruptive impact of technological and strategic change over time. He teaches an array of courses including National Security Law, Constitutional Law, and the History of U.S. Counterterrorism Law and Policy (1970 to present). He is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution, a member of the American Law Institute, and a senior editor for the Journal of National Security Law & Policy. He previously served as a member of the Director of National Intelligence’s Advance Technology Board, and as an associate member of the Intelligence Science Board. In 2009, he served as an advisor to the President’s Detention Policy Task Force, which was charged with developing long-term policy options in relation to the capture, detention, trial, or other disposition of persons in the context of combat and counterterrorism operations. He is a magna cum laude graduate of both Harvard Law School and Texas Christian University.

 


Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security
William Inboden

Will Inboden

William Inboden is the Executive Director of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas-Austin. He is also an Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law.

Inboden's other current roles include Non-Resident Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Senior Advisor with Avascent International, and Associate Scholar with Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Project. 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. 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. 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 contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, and his commentary has appeared in numerous outlets including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Sky News, and BBC. He has lectured widely in academic and policy settings, and received numerous research and professional development fellowships. He 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. Inboden received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in history from Yale University, and his A.B. from Stanford University.

 


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

PopeBio

 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

The Honorable 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.


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Intelligence Studies Project
Dr. Kiril Avramov

 Avramov3Dr. Kiril Avramov is a post-doctoral research fellow of the Intelligence Studies Project (ISP) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Avramov was until December 2017 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
Kimberly Paige Bufkin

Paige Bufkin Headshot

 

Kimberly Paige Bufkin is the Research Program Coordinator at the Intelligence Studies Project (ISP). Prior to joining ISP, she served as a Legislative Director in the Texas House of Representatives where she concentrated on Criminal and Juvenile Justice policy reform. Her additional policy and political experience includes serving as a Policy Analyst with both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

Paige holds a Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in both Administrative Leadership and Direct Practice from Texas State University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from St. Edwards University.

 

 

 


ISP Student Fellows

Brumley Next Generation Senior Fellow
Michael Gibbs

MichaelGibbs

 

Michael Gibbs is a rising third year PhD student in the Department of Government. After receiving his AB from Princeton University in 2012, he worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Washington Institute for Near East Policy in DC for a year before joining the Peace Corps. Following Peace Corps, he started his doctoral program here at UT. Michael studies militias, civil-military relations in insurgencies, and evolving threats in civil wars. Regionally, he is focused on the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

 

 

 

 

Brumley Next Generation Graduate Fellow
Kingsley Burns

Kingsley Burns

 

Kingsley Burns is a master's student in Global Policy Studies at The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs. He previously studied international business and management of information systems as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma before turning towards public affairs. His studies center on national security with a focus own intelligence and counter-proliferation.