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John McLaughlin

Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies

About

John E. McLaughlin is Distinguished Practitioner in Residence in the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. McLaughlin, a 1966 graduate of Johns Hopkins SAIS, served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September of 2004 and as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 2000 to 2004. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director for Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice Chairman for Estimates and Acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Earlier in his career with the CIA, which spanned three decades, Mr. McLaughlin focused on European, Russian, and Eurasian Issues in the Directorate of Intelligence. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he served as Director of the Office of European Analysis during the period marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Then, four months after the break-up of the Soviet Union, he became Director of the CIA office – Slavic and Eurasian Analysis – that was responsible for CIA’s analysis of the fifteen independent states that emerged from the USSR. During this time, he frequently represented the Intelligence Community on the US diplomatic missions that established initial relations with these newly independent countries.
 
In early 2010, Mr. McLaughlin led, at the request of the Director of National Intelligence, a task force on the failed terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines flight at Christmas 2009 and developed a series of recommendations for improving intelligence collection and analysis on terrorist plans.  In 2013-14, he served on the Advisory Board that assisted Norway’s Statoil (now Equinor) in its “lessons learned” following a terrorist attack on its Algeria-based facility.

While Deputy Director for Intelligence from 1997 to 2000, he created the Senior Analytic Service, a CIA career track that enables analysts to rise to very senior rank without branching out into management. He also founded the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, an institution dedicated to teaching the history, mission, and essential skills of the analytic profession to new CIA employees.

In addition to earning his master’s degree in international relations from SAIS/Johns Hopkins, he received a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and completed graduate work in comparative politics at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. McLaughlin is a graduate of the US Army Infantry Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning and was recently inducted into the School's Hall of Fame. He completed a US Army tour in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969

Mr. McLaughlin is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Community Service Award and the National Security Medal. He received the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and in 2016 the William Oliver Baker Award from the private Intelligence and National Security  Alliance (INSA). Mr, McLaughlin served in 2015 as the Humanitas Visiting Professor for intelligence at Oxford University.
 
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy. He serves on the bipartisan Homeland Security Advisory Group managed by Mitre Corporation, the National Security Advisory Group at the Noblis Corporation, and the Middle East Institute’s Advisory Group on Countering Terrorism and Extremism. 

Expertise

Topics

  • American Defense Policy
  • Counterterrorism
  • Intelligence
  • Nuclear Policy and Proliferation
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • U.S. Homeland Security
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction

In the News

Biden’s big Iran challenge looms.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 01/20

Protesters storm the Capitol.

John McLaughlin interviewed on OZY News, 01/06

Biden faces no shortage of foreign policy problems.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 01/03

The Deep State is on a roll.

John McLaughlin cited in The New York Times, 12/02

World sighs relief over Biden win.

John McLaughlin wrote in OZY, 11/07

Does the U.S. still interfere in foreign elections?

John McLaughlin quoted in Project Syndicate, 10/28

Domestic and international (dis)order: A strategic response.

John McLaughlin wrote for The Aspen Institute, 10/28

A crisis of confidence.

John McLaughlin interviewed in Johns Hopkins HUB, 10/20