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Evelyn Farkas

Foreign Policy & Global Trends Expert and NBC National Security Contributor

  • Advised three US Secretaries of Defense and was considered the Pentagon’s top Russia expert
  • One of the nation’s premier authorities on American foreign policy and geopolitics
  • Outspoken voice on how America ought to respond to foreign allies and adversaries to secure a more peaceful and prosperous future

Topics & Types
National SecurityMiddle EastGeopoliticsPoliticsMediaPolitical AnalystsAuthorsFemale Speakers

Dr. Evelyn Farkas is one of the nation’s premier voices on American foreign policy and geopolitics, and one of the nation’s most-trusted experts on US-Russia relations. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, she was the Department of Defense’s top Russia expert under President Barack Obama. Farkas advised three US Secretaries of Defense during her tenure at the Pentagon and was responsible for policy toward Russia and the surrounding region. She is an outspoken voice on how America ought to respond to adversaries and manage aggressors, ranging from Russia to North Korea to Iran. Expertly positioned to discuss the at times tenuous intersection of foreign objectives and domestic priorities, Dr. Farkas appears regularly as an NBC/MSNBC national security contributor to discuss hot-button geopolitical issues. She serves as a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and has penned research papers and op-eds featured in most leading publications. She discusses how America’s position abroad is shifting under the Trump administration, the global gamut of US foreign and defense policy, and current national security challenges including Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Her government experience is impressive and wide-ranging, and she has served alongside some of the biggest names in Washington and abroad. She has a deep understanding of how major foreign policy decisions are made, having worked for about a decade in Congress and another decade for the Department of Defense. She skillfully dissects international disarray and its implications on businesses globally. Specific areas of focus have included foreign and defense policy in Asia Pacific and Latin America, special operations and counterterrorism, foreign military assistance, peace and stability operations, homeland defense, export control, and more. Former posts include, serving as senior advisor for Public-Private Partnership to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe/Commander, US European Command, a special advisor for the Secretary of Defense for the NATO Summit, executive director of the Graham-Talent Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, and senior staffer for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

From 2008 to 2009, Dr. Farkas served as executive director of the congressionally-mandated bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, which published its report “World at Risk” in 2008. Before that, she served for seven years as a Professional Staff Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, conducting policy and budget oversight for over $20 billion of the Department of Defense policy office and military commands—including the US Pacific Command, Special Operations Command, Southern Command, Northern Command, and US Forces Korea. She also served in Bosnia in the 1990's as a human rights officer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and as an election observer in Bosnia and Afghanistan. She is a former senior fellow at the American Security Project, where she focused on stability and special operations, counter-proliferation, and US-Asia policy.

Dr. Farkas was a professor of international relations at the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe and on sites including The Daily Beast, Politico, and Foreign Policy. Her commentary has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and more, and she is the author of the book, Fractured States and US Foreign Policy: Iraq, Ethiopia, and Bosnia in the 1990s.

She obtained her MA and Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She speaks fluent Hungarian and German, and has studied French, Spanish, Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Russian, and Hindi. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, of the Board of Trustees of Franklin and Marshall College, and of the Aspen Institute Socrates Seminar and Harold Rosenthal advisory boards. She has received several Department of Defense and foreign awards and has an honorary doctorate from Franklin & Marshall College.

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