Bio


Thomas Fingar is a Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was the inaugural Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow from 2010 through 2015 and the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford in 2009.

From 2005 through 2008, he served as the first deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and, concurrently, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Fingar served previously as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-01 and 2004-05), principal deputy assistant secretary (2001-03), deputy assistant secretary for analysis (1994-2000), director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-94), and chief of the China Division (1986-89). Between 1975 and 1986 he held a number of positions at Stanford University, including senior research associate in the Center for International Security and Arms Control.

Fingar is a graduate of Cornell University (A.B. in Government and History, 1968), and Stanford University (M.A., 1969 and Ph.D., 1977 both in political science). His most recent books are Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press, 2011), The New Great Game: China and South and Central Asia in the Era of Reform, editor (Stanford, 2016), and Uneasy Partnerships: China and Japan, the Koreas, and Russia in the Era of Reform (Stanford, 2017).

Academic Appointments


  • Lecturer, Walter H. Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center

Program Affiliations


  • Center for East Asian Studies

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


I am interested in all dimensions of Chinese policy and policy making, including how different actors perceive and prioritize challenges and opportunities, how decisions in one policy arena shape and constrain those in other arenas, and how domestic conditions and priorities affect China's relationships with other countries. I am also interested in US foreign, economic, and security policies and interactions with all countries and regions and many transnational issues. Although I began my career as a China specialist and still work extensively on that country, my official job descriptions during the almost 20 years that I held senior positions in the State Department and Intelligence Community noted that I was responsible for analytic work on all countries and issues. I know a little about many places and problems; more substantively, I have conducted and supervised work on literally hundreds of international relationships and transactions and contributed to the formation of US policies intended to shape and respond to second and third country developments. Specific areas of previous work include mega-trends affecting all countries (e.g., climate change, demographic change, migration, identify politics, nuclear weapons, and globalization), and US intelligence policy and intelligence analysis.

All Publications


  • New Missions, New Challenges, 2005-2008 Truth to Power: A History of the U.S. National Intelligence Council edited by Hutchings, R., Treverton, G. F. Oxford University Press. 2019
  • The Role of Intelligence in Countering Illicit Nuclear-Related Procurement Preventing Black-Market Trade in Nuclear Technolopgy edited by Bunn, M., Malin, M. B., Potter, W. C., Spector, L. S. Cambridge University Press. 2018: 48–78
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence: From Pariah and Pinata to Managing Partner The National Security Enterprise: Navigating the Labyrinth edited by George, R. Z., Rishikof, H. Georgetown University Press. 2017; 2: 185–203
  • American Fofreign Policy in Transition: From Cold War Consensus to Controversy and Confusion Contemporary American Review Fingar, T. 2017; 2 (1): 70-83
  • Uneasy Partnerships: China and Japan, the Koreas, and Russia in the Era of Reform edited by Fingar, T. Stanford University Press. 2017
  • The New Great Game: China and South and Central Asia in the Era of Reform edited by Fingar, T. Stanford University Press. 2016
  • Security Challenges in a Turbulent World China International Stratgegy Review Fingar, T. 2015: 12-17
  • Building a Community of Analysts Analyzing Intelligence: National Security Practitioners' Perspectives Fingar, T. edited by George, R. Z., Bruce, J. B. Georgetown Univerity Press. 2014; 2nd: 287–301
  • 中美关系中的战略稳定问题 外交评论 Fingar, T., Fan, J. 2014: 43-56
  • Ties that Bind: Strategic Stability in the US-China Relationship WASHINGTON QUARTERLY Fingar, T., Jishe, F. 2013; 36 (4): 125-138
  • It’s Complicated The American Interest Fingar, T. 2013; 8:5 (May/June): 31-35
  • China’s Growing Presence in the DPRK: Origins, Objectives, and Implications Troubled Transition: North Korea’s Politics, Economy, and External Relations edited by Choe, S., Shin, G., Straub, D. Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. 2013: 187–205
  • Intelligence as a Service Industry The American Interest Fingar, T. 2012; VII,4: 80-84
  • All-Source Intelligence The Intelligencer Fingar, T. 2012: 63-66
  • China’s Vision of World Order Strategic Asia 2012-13: China’s Military Challenge Fingar, T. edited by Tellis, A. J., Tanner, T. National Bureau of Asian Research. 2012: 343–373
  • Intelligence and Grand Strategy Orbis Fingar, T. 2012; 56,1: 118-134
  • Global Implications of China's Challenges – Part I YaleGlobal Online Fingar, T. 2012
  • Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security Fingar, T. Stanford University Press. 2011
  • Analysis in the U.S. Intelligence Community: Missions, Masters, and Methods Intelligence Analysis: Behavioral and Social Scientific Foundations Fingar, T. edited by Fishhoff, B., Chauvin, C. National Academies Press. 2011: 3–27
  • Alternate Trajectories of the Roles and Influence of China and the United States in Northeast Asia and the Implications for Future Power Configuration One Step Back?: Reassessing an Ideal Security State for Northeast Asia 2025 Fingar, T. edited by Flake, G. The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. 2011: 117–135
  • Office of the Director of National Intelligence: Promising Start Despite Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Animosit The National Security Enterprise: Navigating the Labyrinth Fingar, T. edited by George, R. Z., Rishikof, H. Georgetown University Press. 2011: 139–155
  • What Hu Jintao Wants To Know Foreign Policy Fingar, T. 2011: 42-43
  • How China Views US Nuclear Policy Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Fingar, T. 2011
  • Worrying About Washington: China's Views on the US Nuclear Posture The Nonproliferation Review Fingar, T. 2011; 18,1: 51-68
  • Global Trends 2025: Implications for South Korea and the US-ROK Alliance Beyond North Korea: Future Challenges to South Korea’s Security Fingar, T. edited by Kim, B. K., Shin, G., Straub, D. Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. 2011
  • Desafios y alternativas: factores y decisiones que determinaran nuestro futuro" (Challenges and Choices: Drivers and Decisions that will Shape our Future Incertidumbres, Retos Y Potencialidadaes Del Siglo XXI: Grandes Tendencias Internacionales Fingar, T. edited by Tezanos, J. R. Editorial Sistema. 2010: 13–29
  • Intelligence Analysis and Dissemination Intelligence: Gathering, Analysis, & Disseminatio Fingar, T. Miller Center of Public Affairs. 2010: 52–73
  • Frustrations and Hopes: An American Perspective on United States-China Relations Journal of Contemporary China Thomas, F. 2001; 10 (27): 331-337
  • Government China Specialists: Scholar Officials and Official Scholars American Studies of Contemporary China Fingar, T. edited by Shambaugh, D. Woodrow Wilson Center Press . 1993: 176–195
  • Implementing Energy Policy: The Rise and Demise of the State Energy Commission Policy Implementation in Post-Mao China Fingar, T. edited by Lampton, D. M. University of California Press. 1987: 190–224
  • Energy in China: An Overview China’s Economy Looks Toward the Year 2000, Volume 2 Fingar, T. Government Printing Office. 1986
  • CONSEQUENCES OF CATCHING UP BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS FINGAR, T. 1984; 40 (8): S13-S15
  • SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN CHINA - AN OVERVIEW BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS FINGAR, T., Simon, D. F. 1984; 40 (8): S3-S4
  • Energy in China: Paradoxes, Policies, and Prospects China Briefing, 198 Fingar, T. edited by Bush, R. C. Westview Press, . 1982: 49–67
  • UNITED-STATES-CHINA RELATIONS IN 1979 - AGREEMENTS, PROTOCOLS, ACCORDS, AND UNDERSTANDINGS CHINESE LAW AND GOVERNMENT FINGAR, T., Li, V. H. 1981; 14 (1): 3-32
  • China’s Quest for Technology: Implications for Arms Control II Arms Control II Fingar, T. edited by Barton, J., Imai, R. Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain. 1981: 239–271
  • Energy and Development: China’s Strategy for the 1980s,” Energy and the Developing Nations Fingar, T. edited by Auer, P. Pergamon. 1981: 418–445
  • Recent Trends in Industrial Science and Technology Policy: An Overview China’s Four Modernizations: The New Technological Revolution Fingar, T. edited by Baum, R. Westview Press. 1980: 61–101
  • Domestic Policy and the Quest for Independence China’s Quest for Independence: Policy Evolution in the 1970s Fingar, T. edited by Fingar, T., The Stanford Journal of International Studies Westview Press. 1980: 25–92
  • The Quest for Independence China’s Quest for Independence: Policy Evolution in the 1970s Fingar, T., Stanford Journal of International Studies edited by Fingar, T. Westview Press, . 1980: 1–23
  • The Social Science of Development and the Development of Social Science Contemporary China Fingar, T., Dean, G. 1979; 3 (4)