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Stephen E. Flynn

Stephen E. Flynn, PhD

CISAC Visiting Scholar

1 Massachusetts Ave NW
Suite 333
Washington, D.C. 20001

(202) 682-1800 (voice)
(202) 682-1818 (fax)

Research Interests

catastrophic terrorism; maritime and port security; border control modernization; critical infrastructure protection; trade and transportation security


In January 2010, Dr. Stephen Flynn became the sixth President of the Center for National Policy (, founded in 1981. Prior to being selected to lead the Center, he spent a decade as a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Following the election of President Barack Obama, he served as the lead policy advisor on homeland security for the presidential transition team. He currently serves as a member of the bipartisan National Security Preparedness Group, co-chaired by former 9/11 commissioners, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton.

Flynn is the author of the critically acclaimed The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (Random House, 2007), and the national bestseller, America the Vulnerable (HarperCollins 2004). He is a Consulting Professor at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford and a Senior Fellow at the Wharton School's Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 9/11 he has provided testimony on 22 occasions on Capitol Hill. Flynn is also a member of the Marine Board of the National Research Council. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, he served as an expert advisor to U.S. Commission on National Security (Hart-Rudman Commission), and following the 9/11 attacks he was the principle advisor to the bipartisan Congressional Port Security Caucus, and advised the Bush Administration on maritime and homeland security issues.

He is a frequent media commentator and has appeared on Meet the Press, 60 Minutes, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The Today Show, the Charlie Rose Show, CNN and on National Public Radio. Four of his articles have been published in Foreign Affairs. Excerpts of his books have been featured in Time, as the cover story for U.S. News & World Report, and as the subject of two CNN documentaries.

A 1982 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Flynn served in the Coast Guard on active duty for 20 years, including two tours as commanding officer at sea, received several professional awards including the Legion of Merit, and retired at the rank of Commander. As a Coast Guard officer, he served in the White House Military Office during the George H.W. Bush administration and as a director for Global Issues on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration.

Flynn received the M.A.L.D. and Ph.D. degrees in International Politics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1990 and 1991. He was a Guest Scholar in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1991-92, and in 1993-94 he was an Annenberg Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from Monmouth University.

Flynn is the principal for Stephen E. Flynn Associates LLC, where he provides independent advisory services on improving enterprise resiliency and critical infrastructure protection, and transportation and maritime security.

Born in Salem, Mass., in 1960, Flynn lives in Connecticut with his wife JoAnn and their daughter Christina.

Other Affiliations

U.S. Naval Institute