Heather J. Williams

Photo of Heather Williams
Senior Policy Researcher; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office

Education

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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Overview

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

Williams joined RAND from the National Intelligence Council, where she served as the deputy national intelligence officer for Iran and the 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: CNBC Online; CNN International; KNBC-TV; NPR/National Public Radio Online; KCRW/Press Play; Sky News Australia

Commentary

  • Members of the Great Lakes anti-fascist organization (Antifa) fly flags during a protest against the Alt-right outside a hotel in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2018, photo by Stephanie Keith/Reuters

    The Dangers of Designating Antifa as a Terrorist Organization Now

    The notion of designating Antifa as a terrorist organization may be intended to be a discrete act. But the precedent it would set could bring major strategic changes to how the United States uses counterterrorism laws, with uncertainties about whether those changes better serve national security.

    Jun 22, 2020 RealClearPolicy

  • Mother with teenage boy working from home, photo by martinedoucet/Getty Images

    Reopened Offices Won’t Mean Back-to-Normal for Caregivers

    As some workplaces start to reopen and work-from-home guidelines relax, corporate leaders may hope things will quickly get back to normal. But for employees who are also caregivers, that's likely not going to be the case.

    Jun 4, 2020 CNN

  • Naomi Hassebroek holds her son Felix while working with her husband Doug Hassebroek at their home, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, March 19, 2020, photo by Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

    Can We Emerge from COVID-19 with a Healthier Work Culture?

    American families want greater choices in determining how their work and their families fit together. Post-pandemic, can we create a system that fits workers? If so, we have the opportunity to emerge from this crisis with both healthier employees and better performing organizations.

    Apr 16, 2020 Harvard Business Review

Publications