Matthew Zais
Energy, Middle East, Defense

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Matthew Zais is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative. He is also the vice president of government affairs for Hillwood and HKN Energy Ltd.

He previously served as the Director for Iraq and Kurdish Affairs on the National Security Council. Most recently, he served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Affairs at the US Department of Energy, where he advanced American energy diplomacy and investment around the globe. His efforts with the Energy team included advancing key American energy investments and government capabilities, including trough the US Export Import Bank and US Development Finance Corporation that would counter Chinese aggression in the south China Sea, challenge Russian energy coercion through key infrastructure and policy proposals, advance energy partnerships in the Middle East within the Abraham Accords, and promote the value of international energy partnerships including through the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.

Zais is a retired US Army Colonel with over two decades of service, including as an infantry officer and serving in strategic roles in combating weapons of mass destruction and cyber policy. He is the co-author of the two-volume official history of the US Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has taught at the US Military Academy at West Point and as an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Zais has written numerous articles about defense and the geopolitics of energy in a range of publications including the Wall Street Journal, RealClear Energy, The Hill, The Hoover Institution, The Middle East Institute, and the Atlantic Council.

Zais is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and received his MPA and PhD from Princeton University.