Jessica Stern is an American policy consultant on terrorism. Stern is a lecturer at Harvard University and a faculty affiliate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She serves on the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. In 2001, she was featured in Time Magazine's series on Innovators. In 2009, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on trauma and violence.
- Ph.D., Harvard University: Public Policy, 1992.
- MS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Technology Policy Program (Chemical Engineering), 1988.
- BA, Barnard College, Major: Chemistry. Minor: Russian. 1985.
Stern served on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council staff from 1994 to 1995 as the director for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian Affairs. From 1998 to 1999, she was the Superterrorism Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; and from 1995 to 1996, she was a National Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution where she is a member of the Task Force on National Security and Law. Stern was a Postdoctoral Analyst for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1992-94 where she analyzed political developments in Russia that could put nuclear materials or fissile materials at risk for use by terrorists. Stern is a member of the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was named a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, fellow of the World Economic Forum, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellow.
She has served on the Advisory Board of the American Bar Association Committee on Law Enforcement and National Security and the editorial boards of Current History and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
Stern authored Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill (2003); The Ultimate Terrorists; and Denial: A Memoir of Terror (2010). She has also published articles on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Terror in the Name of God
According to the review by Isabel Hilton in The New York Times, in Terror in the name of God, Stern interviews "Christian, Jewish and Muslim extremists, violent anti-abortion warriors and admirers of Timothy McVeigh, and discovers how much they have in common. Nothing she finds leads the reader to suppose that any of the religious faiths is inherently more prone to violence than the other."
In an article published in The Washington Post on 20 June 2010, Stern revealed what she believes the reason for her fascination with terrorism is due to terror that she experienced in her own life; when she and her sister were raped at gunpoint by an intruder when Stern was aged 15 (her sister a year younger). She also ascribes her lack of a normal fear reaction to this event and subsequently, which has been suggested to her by a therapist is due to post traumatic stress disorder.
- 5 myths about who becomes a terrorist, Jessica Stern, Washington Post, 10 January 2010, accessed 22 June 2010
-  "’Terror in the Name of God’: Everybody Hates Somebody Somewhere," Nov. 16, 2003, Isabel Hilton, New York Times.
- "Jessica Stern", Faculty Directory, Harvard Law School
- "Battle to keep terrorists from getting the ultimate weapon", John Barry, Newsweek, Volume 130, Issues 9-17,
- Why does terrorism fascinate me? Because of the terror in my past., Jessica Stern, Washington Post, 20 June 2010, accessed 22 June 2010