Richard Falkenrath

  • Homeland Security Policy Adviser to the President, (2001-2003)
  • Deputy Homeland Security Adviser with the Department of Homeland Security, (2003-2004)
  • Shelby Cullom & Kathryn W. Davis Adjunct Senior Fellow for counterterrorism & homeland security, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Principal, Chertoff Group, LLC.

Homeland Security became a part of our social lexicon after the World Trade Centers fell on September 11th and the issue of our national security continues to be at the forefront of our country’s political landscape. Richard A. Falkenrath, who was the Deputy Assistant to President Bush and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, is no stranger to the large-scale effort to fight terrorism.


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Talks & Conversations with Richard Falkenrath

Terrorism and Homeland Security

FEMA’s role in Homeland Security

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Books by Richard Falkenrath

Richard Falkenrath is a senior manager at Bridgewater Associates and an adjunct senior fellow for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was deputy homeland security advisor and deputy assistant to President George W. Bush. From 2006 to 2010, he served as the deputy commissioner for counterterrorism of the New York City Police Department. He was formerly a principal with The Chertoff Group and a contributing editor at Bloomberg LP.

Dr. Falkenrath recently served as the Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism at the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from 2006 to 2010.  In this capacity, he was responsible for the strategy, policy, and operations of the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau, where he managed approximately 350 uniformed and civilian personnel, and implemented new security measures throughout the city that resulted in better threat detection systems, and a more coordinated incident response plan among law enforcement and other government agencies in the event of an attack.

Reporting directly to the Police Commissioner, Dr. Falkenrath oversaw the full implementation of the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, an award-winning $250 million technology-based security program designed to increase domain awareness and detection of threats in Manhattan; the Joint Terrorism Task Force; the city-wide Counterterrorism Coordinators; the NYPD Counterterrorism Division, which includes units that focus on technology, training, weapons of mass destruction countermeasures, maritime security, and emergency preparedness; and the Terrorism Threat Analysis Group, a cadre of highly educated civilians whose analytic products augmented the efforts of the uniformed personnel.

Dr. Falkenrath began his career at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. From September 1993 until December 2000, he served first as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and then as Executive Director, and finally as Assistant Professor of Public Policy.

In December 2000, Dr. Falkenrath joined the Bush-Cheney Transition Team, where he was involved in preparing for the presidential transition within the National Security Council. Immediately after the Presidential Inauguration in January 2001, Dr. Falkenrath joined the White House staff, where he served continuously until May 2004. His initial position was Director for Proliferation Strategy on the National Security Council staff, where he was responsible for biological weapons proliferation and preparedness, missile defense, and Asian proliferation issues.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Dr. Falkenrath was named Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Policy and Plans within the Office of Homeland Security. In January 2003, he was promoted to Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor. In these roles, Dr. Falkenrath was responsible for developing and coordinating all aspects of U.S. homeland security policy and law, as well as counterterrorism threat assessment and response at all levels. He was the principal author of the National Strategy for Homeland Security and was centrally involved in the stand-up of the Department of Homeland Security, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (the predecessor to today’s National Counterterrorism Center), and the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center.

After leaving the White House, Dr. Falkenrath became the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions in Washington, D.C. He was also an advisor and spokesman for the Bush-Cheney 2004 reelection campaign; a security analyst at the Cable News Network (CNN); and a Managing Director at the Civitas Group LLC, a strategic advisory and investment firm. Dr. Falkenrath is a summa cum laude graduate of Occidental College, with degrees in economics and international relations.  He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. 

Dr. Falkenrath is the author or coauthor of Shaping Europe’s Military Order (1995), Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy (1996), America’s Achilles ’ Heel: Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack (1998), as well as numerous journal articles, chapters of edited volumes, prepared statements for congressional testimony, and op-ed articles. 

During his career, Dr. Falkenrath has also worked at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  He was the founder and co-Principal Investigator of the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness; a member of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (the “Gilmore Commission”); a member of the Board of Visitors of the National Emergency Management Institute; a member of the Director of Central Intelligence’s Nonproliferation Advisory Panel; a Visiting Research Fellow at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik; and a consultant to the Defense Science Board and the RAND Corporation.

Dr. Falkenrath is a summa cum laude graduate of Occidental College, earning degrees in economics and international relations.  He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar