Thomas Fingar

Thomas Fingar, PhD

  • Shorenstein APARC Fellow
  • Affiliated Scholar at the Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University
Encina Hall, C-327
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 723-9149 (voice)
(650) 723-6530 (fax)


Thomas Fingar is a Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He was the inaugural Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow from 2010 through 2015 and the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford in 2009.

From 2005 through 2008, he served as the first deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and, concurrently, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Fingar served previously as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2000-01 and 2004-05), principal deputy assistant secretary (2001-03), deputy assistant secretary for analysis (1994-2000), director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989-94), and chief of the China Division (1986-89). Between 1975 and 1986 he held a number of positions at Stanford University, including senior research associate in the Center for International Security and Arms Control.

Fingar is a graduate of Cornell University (A.B. in Government and History, 1968), and Stanford University (M.A., 1969 and Ph.D., 1977 both in political science). His most recent books are From Mandate to Blueprint: Lessons from Intelligence Reform (Stanford University Press, 2021), Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press, 2011), The New Great Game: China and South and Central Asia in the Era of Reform, editor (Stanford University Press, 2016), Uneasy Partnerships: China and Japan, the Koreas, and Russia in the Era of Reform (Stanford, 2017), and Fateful Decisions: Choices that will Shape China’s Future, co-edited with Jean Oi (Stanford, 2020). His most recent article is, "The Role of Intelligence in Countering Illicit Nuclear-Related Procurement,” in Matthew Bunn, Martin B. Malin, William C. Potter, and Leonard S Spector, eds., Preventing Black Market Trade in Nuclear Technology (Cambridge, 2018)."

Current research

In The News

Missiles on the background of clock

The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Deterrence

Shorenstein APARC Fellow Thomas Fingar discusses the prospects for arms control and deterrence strategies in an era when the United States is grappling with the challenges of managing a three-way nuclear rivalry and maintaining global stability.
The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Deterrence
Jia Qingguo, Thomas Fingar, and Michael McFaul seated for a discussion in a conference room.

A Risky Competition: Payne Distinguished Fellow Sees Challenging Prospects for U.S.-China Relations

Fall 2022 Payne Distinguished Fellow Jia Qingguo, a professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University, examines the drivers behind the frayed U.S.-China relationship and conditions for avoiding a disastrous conflict between the two world powers. Cold War-style confrontation will continue to define the bilateral relationship in the coming years, he predicts.
A Risky Competition: Payne Distinguished Fellow Sees Challenging Prospects for U.S.-China Relations
Collage of the Independence Monument in Kyiv and the Beijing skyline.

Deciphering China's Ukraine Calculus

China’s rhetoric and actions toward Ukraine are shaped by domestic politics and prior decisions about protecting its national interests and finding opportunities in the crisis, says Shorenstein APARC Fellow Thomas Fingar.
Deciphering China's Ukraine Calculus

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