Jessica Stern is an American policy consultant on terrorism. Stern is a lecturer at Harvard University and a fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. 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. Her most recent book is ISIS: The State of Terror, co-authored with J.M. Berger.
- 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 is currently a fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, and she is an Advanced Academic Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Stern is the co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror (2015) with J.M. Berger; Stern authored Denial: A Memoir of Terror (2010), Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill (2004), and The Ultimate Terrorists (2001). She has also published articles on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Articles in Refereed Journals
- “Response to Marc Sageman’s ‘The Stagnation in Terrorism Research,’” Terrorism and Political Violence, 2014.
- “X: A Case Study of a Swedish Neo-Nazi and His Reintegration into Swedish Society,” Behavioral Science and the Law, Spring 2014.
- “PTSD: Policy Issues,” Psychoanalytic Psychology, Spring 2014.
- Co-Editor with Gary LaFree of Homeland Security and Terrorism and author of editorial conclusion, “Strengths and Limits of Criminological Research on Terrorism,” 661-665; Special issue of Criminology and Public Policy, August 2009.
- “The Dangers and Demands of Cosmopolitan Law,” 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 322 (2007).
- “Precaution Against Terrorism,” with Jonathan Wiener, Duke, Journal of Risk Research (June 2006): 393-447.
- “Dreaded Risks and the Control of Biological Weapons,” International Security (Winter 2003).
- “The Prospects for Domestic Bioterror,” Emerging Infectious Diseases (July–August, 1999).
- “Apocalypse Never, Poison Possible,” (discussion) Survival (Winter 1999).
- “Weapons of Mass Impact” (discussion) Politics and the Life Sciences, 1996.
- “U.S. Assistance Programs for Improving MPC&A in the Former Soviet Union,” Nonproliferation Review Winter, 1996. Also published as “Cooperative Activities to Improve Material Protection, Control, and Accountability in the Former Soviet Union,” in Bill Potter and John Shields, The Nunn-Lugar Program: Donor and Recipient Country Perspectives (MIT Press, 1997.)
- "Cooperative Security and the CWC: A Comparison of the Chemical and Nuclear Weapons Regimes," Contemporary Security Policy, Fall 1994.
- "Strategic Decision Making, Alliances, and the Chemical Weapons Convention," Security Studies, Summer 1994.
- "Chemical and Biological Weapons in the Third World," (with Marie I. Chevrier), Boston College Third World Law Journal Winter 1991.
- "Moscow Meltdown: Can Russia Survive?" International Security, Spring 1994. Also published in Russian by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
- Hoover Institution: "An Amended Front-Page Rule: The Imperative to Protect Institutions," Defining Ideas, Hoover Institution, January 29, 2014.
- "The War Against Terror Must Be Fought With Words Too," TIME Magazine, December 16, 2013.
- "We Need to Worry About Somali Terrorists in the U.S.," TIME Magazine, September 26, 2013.
- "The Suicidal Tendencies of Suicide Bombers", Foreign Affairs, August 28, 2013.
- "Terrorism Research Has Not Stagnated," with John Horgan, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2013.
- "Brief Interviews with Hideous Terrorists," Foreign Policy, April 25, 2013.
- “Terrorism After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq,” with Megan McBride, March 19, 2013. For “Costs of War” project of Brown University’s Watson Institute.
- “Can Google Make Non-Violence Cool?” Defining Ideas, August 25, 2011.
- “Terror and Mortality,” Journal of Democracy, September 2011.
- “Muslims in America,” National Interest, May/June 2011, 38-46.
- "Getting Deradicalization Right", Foreign Affairs, with Marisa Porges, May/June 2010.
- “Mind Over Martyr,” Foreign Affairs, January 2010.
- “Holy Avengers,” Financial Times Weekend Magazine, 12 June 2004.
- “Forum: Caliphate of Terror,” Harvard Magazine July–August 2004.
- “Al Qaeda: The Protean Enemy,” Foreign Affairs (July/August 2003). Also published in James Hoge and Gideon Rose, editors, Understanding the War on Terror (Foreign Affairs books: 2005).
- “Preparing for a War on Terrorism,” Current History (November 2001).
- “Confronting Biological Terrorism,”] Harvard International Review, Spring 2001.
- “Meeting with the Muj,” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (January/February, 2001).
- “Pakistan’s Jihad Culture,” Foreign Affairs (November/December 2000).
- "Lethal Compounds: The New Chemical Weapons Ban," Brookings Review, Summer 1994.
- "Will Terrorists Turn to Poison?" Orbis, Summer 1993.
- "The Case of Thiodiglycol," review, Politics and the Life Sciences, August 1993.
The New York Times Op-Eds
- Iraq: Where Terrorists Go to School (2013)
- Keep American Muslims on Our Side (2006)
- Al Qaeda, American Style (2006)
- How America Created a Terrorist Haven (2003)
The Washington Post Op-Eds
- The World After bin Laden (2011)
- The Military Must Take a Harder Line Against Sexual Assault (2011)
- Why Does Terrorism Fascinate Me? Because of the Terror in My Past. (2010)
- 5 Myths About Who Becomes a Terrorist (2010)
TIME Magazine Articles
- A 6-Point Plan to Defeat ISIS in the Propaganda War (co-authored with J.M. Berger) (2015)
- Who's Behind the Boston Bombing? Some Initial Clues (2013)
- The Double Standard of Sex Crimes
- The Guardian: Raising Tomorrow's Mujahideen: The Horrific World of ISIS's Child Soldiers (2015)
- The Guardian: Thugs Wanted - Bring Your Own Boots: How ISIS Attracts Foreign Fighters to Its Twisted Utopia (2015)
- The Atlantic: ISIS and the Foreign Fighter Phenomenon (co-authored with J.M. Berger) (2015)
- Hoover Institution: ISIS's Apocalyptic Vision (2015)
- Costs of War Project: The Continuing Cost of the Iraq War: The Spread of Jihadi Groups Throughout the Region (2014)
- PTSD Policy Issues (2013)
- Foreign Policy: Brief Interviews with Hideous Terrorists (2013)
- U.S. News Debate Club: The Invasion of Iraq Was an Engine of Terrorist Growth (2013)
- Costs of War Project: Terrorism After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq (co-authored with Megan McBride) (2013)
- Hoover Institution: Can Google Make Non-Violence Cool? (2011)
- The Daily Beast: Osama Death Will Reopen America's 9/11 Wounds (2011)
- USA Today: Terrorists' Own Words Can Help Us Stop Them (2004)
- Financial Times: Holy Avengers (2004)
- Los Angeles Times: Beneath Bombast and Bombs, a Cauldron of Humiliation (2004)
In an article published in The Washington Post on 20 June 2010, Stern revealed that 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.
- Jessica Stern | Hoover Institution
- "What's The Big Idea?". TIME.com. 9 December 2001. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Jessica Eve Stern - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
- "The MacDowell Colony". macdowellcolony.org. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- [dead link]
- "Faculty Profiles - Harvard Law School". harvard.edu. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Stern, Jessica and J.M. Berger. ISIS: The State of Terror. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2015. ISBN 978-0062395542
- Stern, Jessica. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2003. ISBN 978-0060505325
- 5 myths about who becomes a terrorist, Jessica Stern, Washington Post, 10 January 2010, accessed 22 June 2010
- "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
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Interview with E-International Relations on life, work, and the terrorism field. May 11, 2015.
- Appearance on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper discussing ISIS's threat to U.S. military bases, May 8, 2015
- Interview on Radio National Australia’s Late Night Live with Phillip Adams discussing ISIS and the redrawing of the Middle East. April 16, 2015.
- Appearance on WGBH with Jim Walsh, Farouk El-Baz and Jessica on ISIS, Iran’s nuclear deal, and the university attack in Kenya. April 2, 2015.
- Appearance on Huffpost Live discussing ISIS: The State of Terror with co-author J.M. Berger. March 30, 2015.
- Profile with the Boston Globe. March 19, 2015.
- Appearance on The Diane Rehm Show discussing ISIS: The State of Terror. March 15, 2015.
- Appearance on All Things Considered discussing ISIS: The State of Terror. March 15, 2015.
- Interview with NPR’s Arun Rath for All Things Considered on the Islamic State’s PR campaign and its appeal to foreign fighters. August 30, 2014.
- Appearance on PBS NewsHour discussing why foreign fighters are joining the Islamic State. August 27, 2014.
- Appearance on NPR’s On Point immediately following the Boston Marathon explosions. Aired April 15, 2013.
- Kim Carrigan of Fox 25 Morning News interviews Jessica on how her own trauma from childhood brought her to a place where she has been forced to face fear head on. Aired July 7, 2010.
- On “Talk of the Nation” (NPR) to discuss perceptions of the war on terror. July 6, 2006.
- The Council on Foreign Relations interviews Jessica on the chances of a new terrorist attack on the U.S.. July 2003
- On “Talk of the Nation” (NPR) discussing Al-Qaeda. October 1, 2001.
- Foreign Affairs (November 2000 issue) interviews Jessica on her article, “Pakistan’s Jihad Culture.”