Russell E. Travers

Guest Author

Russ Travers has served for 45 years in the Intelligence Community. He has held leadership positions in multiple intelligence organizations in the United States and overseas. He has served three senior-level tours on the National Security Council, most recently as the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor during the first year of the Biden administration.

Much of his time after 9/11 was spent working counterterrorism and he served three years as either the Acting Director or the Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. The Center was established in the aftermath of 9/11 to bring together analysts from all relevant U.S. Government organizations to integrate foreign and domestic data and analyze the terrorist threat. He was part of the leadership team that stood up the Center in 2003 and in the early years was responsible for developing and implementing post 9/11 improvements in the realm of information sharing, watchlisting, advanced analytic techniques, tracking terrorist incidents and support to non-Federal partners.

Throughout Travers’ career he held positions that required integration across both the Intelligence Community and whole-of-government. He was a Special Assistant to President Obama, doing two tours at the Senior Director level on the National Security Council – one focused on transnational threat integration and applying lessons learned from CT to other threats, and one that led the USG task force to develop responses to the Wikileaks disclosures. He also did two tours on the National Intelligence Council, one focused on developing National Intelligence Estimates on military force issues during the period marked by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the first Iraq war. During his second tour he led the USG effort to analyze the threat posed by Transnational Organized Crime.

His early career was spent in Defense Intelligence and culminated in his selection as the DIA Deputy Director for Policy Support, where he managed intelligence support for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as well as DIA’s overseas liaison offices and cadre of senior intelligence officers. He spent two years in London, integrated into British Defense Intelligence where he led the US Defense Intelligence liaison staff. And as a Defense Intelligence officer he worked the full range of strategic and crisis intelligence issues – serving both as the senior military analyst for DIA examining future threats, and working current intelligence as the senior civilian in the Headquarters of the Director for Intelligence, J2 on the staff of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He was, and remains, an analyst.

Over the course of his career, he received innumerable awards for his service; most notably, he is a two-time recipient of the Presidential Rank Award which is presented to the top Senior Executive Service officers in the USG.

Academically, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and has Undergraduate degrees in both Economics and Government from the College of William and Mary. He is also on LinkedIn.

Travers has published often in professional journals.  Some of his most notable articles are below:

Travers, R. E. (August 21, 2020). The terrorist threat is not finished. Foreign Affairs.
— (July 14, 2020). I’m a former civil servant. We are professionals, not a “deep” state. The Washington Post.
— (2015). A strategic framework for addressing the most tactical of problems: It’s all about the bad guys.
— (2015). Waking up on another September 12th: Implications for intelligence reform. Intelligence and National Security.
— (2009). Information sharing, dot connecting and intelligence failures: Revisiting conventional wisdom.
— (2007). The coming intelligence failure: A blueprint for survival.
— (2005). Failures, fallacies and fixes: Posturing intelligence for the challenges of globalization. The Intelligence Archipelago: The Community’s Struggle to Reform in the Globalized Era.
— (1997). A new millennium and a strategic breathing space. Washington Quarterly.

Articles by this author: