Heather J. Williams

Heather J. Williams
Associate Director, International Security and Defense Policy Program; Senior Policy Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.S. in strategic intelligence, National Intelligence University; B.S. in U.S. foreign policy and national security, Boston University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Heather Williams is associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Program, part of the RAND National Security Research Division. She is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, and a professor at Pardee RAND Graduate School. Williams previously served as associate director of the Strategy, Policy, and Operations Program (SPOP) within the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC).  She focuses on violent extremism, homeland security, Middle East regional issues, and intelligence policy and methodology. 

Williams joined RAND from the National Intelligence Council, where she served as deputy national intelligence officer for Iran and acting national intelligence officer for Iran. In her twelve years within the intelligence community, she worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Special Operations Intelligence Center, and the Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration. She served as a founding member of the Foreign Fighter Task Force and served three overseas tours supporting Special Operations Forces counterterrorism operations.

Williams holds an M.S. in strategic intelligence from the National Intelligence University and a B.S. in U.S. foreign policy and national security from Boston University, and she was a Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholar.

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Bloomberg Television; CNBC Online; CNN International; Federal News Network; The Gist, Peach Fish Productions; KCRW/Press Play; KNBC-TV; NPR/All Things Considered; NPR/National Public Radio Online; NPR News; PBS NewsHour; Sky News Australia; SpyCast; WOSU Public Media Radio Online; WPR, Wisconsin Public Radio