Wilson Center Experts
Philip D. Zelikow
Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History and Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he specializes in the history of the modern world, 20th century U.S. foreign policy, and presidential decision-making. He was formerly a Foreign Service Officer (1985-1989, 1991), a senior staff member of the National Security Council (1989-1991), executive director of the 9/11 Commission (2003-2004), and Counselor of the U.S. Department of State (2005-2007).
He also served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation from 1997 to 2001, where he provided expert scholarly advice to the Department of State regarding the production of the Foreign Relations of the United States series and the declassification and release of historical State Department records.
He is currently a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, reprising earlier service on the same panel during the George W. Bush administration (2001-2003).
Two of his most influential scholarly publications focus on the Cuban missile crisis. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (1997, revised 2001; coedited with Ernest May) gave historians, political scientists, and the public the first annotated transcripts of the critical ExComm meetings where Kennedy and his key advisors determined the U.S. response to the crisis. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd Edition, 1999; coauthored with Graham Allison) updated a classic work of political science for the 21st century by using newly released sources to revise and expand the book’s historical case studies illustrating leading theoretical models of foreign policy decision-making. Beyond the Cuban Missile Crisis, he co-wrote with former Secretary of State Condelezza Rice Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft. (Harvard UP, 1995).