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Professor of Statecraft and National Security Affairs; Former Senior Director for Policy Implementation and Execution on the National Security Council Staff


  • National Security Affairs
  • National Security Strategy
  • Counterinsurgency

Professional Experience

S. John Tsagronis is the full-time Professor of Statecraft and National Security Affairs at The Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C., where he teaches graduate courses on the U.S. national security policy process, emerging threats and U.S. national security strategy, crisis management and decision-making, combatting violent extremism and the unique aspects of American irregular warfare (special and covert operations), and U.S. cyber and corporate statecraft.

He is the former Senior Adviser to U.S. Special Operations Command (National Capital Region) on interagency planning and operations.

His leadership in the corporate world included serving as a Senior Principal at SRA International, a company that provides technical consulting services to support the U.S. national security community, where he was Division Director for National Security Emergency Preparedness programs; and, he was formerly the Vice President and Director for National Security Strategy and Execution Support in the Defense Solutions Group of SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) in McLean, Virginia.

Before re-entering the private sector in 2009, he served at the White House, where he was the Senior Director for Policy Implementation and Execution on the National Security Council Staff.  In that capacity, he reported directly to the National Security Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser on a broad range of issues at the nexus of policy development and operational planning.  He was responsible for a new NSC strategic review and management process that monitored the implementation of U.S. national security objectives, and he conducted a two-year review of the overall performance of the U.S. national security system.

Immediately prior to joining the NSC Staff, he was the Senior Director for Security Programs in the State Department’s Bureau for Foreign Assistance where he managed the political-military portfolio together with representatives from State, Defense and the Joint Staff.  Previously, he served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development where he was responsible for the policy and program oversight of the Agency’s efforts in the global war on terrorism, countering violent extremism, coordination on counterinsurgency operations with other U.S. Government officials, and liaison with international donors on matters of interest to U.S. national security.

Before joining President Bush’s Administration in December 2001, Mr. Tsagronis spent 17 years providing analytical and policy support to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Intelligence Community on counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, asymmetric warfare, and homeland security from various positions he held in the private sector, academic and think tank communities.  His work in counterinsurgency these last 26 years has brought him to nearly 50 countries ranging from Turkey, Jordan, India and Pakistan to the Philippines, Thailand, Nepal and Colombia.

Mr. Tsagronis is a student of Bates College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  He is a long-standing member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, both in London.  He was born in Ohio, grew up in New England, and now resides in Virginia.