Christopher Swift

Christopher Swift is an Adjunct Professor of National Security Studies at Georgetown University and a Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law.


An attorney and political scientist, Dr. Swift brings more than fifteen years of multidisciplinary experience spanning law, foreign policy, and national security to his research on contemporary Islamic militancy, the future of armed conflict, and associated legal regimes. Dr. Swift is the author of the forthcoming book The Fighting Vanguard: Local Insurgencies in the Global Jihad. Drawing on field research in Afghanistan, Yemen, and other conflict zones, the book untangles the complex global web of terrorist and insurgent movements by examining al-Qaeda’s relationships with indigenous militants. By examining the factors that bring these groups together, The Fighting Vanguard charts a new course for driving them apart. A practicing attorney, Dr. Swift counsels clients in matters involving counter-proliferation, counterterrorism, economic sanctions, export controls, foreign investment, international trade agreements, and other aspects of public and private international law. He also represents pro-bono clients in matters involving constitutional law, veterans’ law, and refugee and asylum law. Dr. Swift is admitted to the bar in New York and the District of Columbia. Prior to entering legal practice, Dr. Swift served in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, where he tracked international transactions involving terrorist syndicates, weapons proliferators, rogue states, and other sanctioned entities. Earlier he served as an International Law Fellow at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he advised policymakers on terrorism, sectarian violence, and human rights in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the former Soviet Union. Prior to government service, Dr. Swift was previously affiliated with Freedom House, where he worked on Russian affairs, and the Center for Strategic & International Studies, where he served as an aide to former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. He also worked as a research associate at Dartmouth College, where he examined asymmetric warfare and bioterrorism as part of a broader study on emerging Homeland Security threats. Dr. Swift is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the American Society of International Law. Recognized as an independent authority on national security and international law, he frequently appears as a guest analyst for Al-Jazeera, BBC World News, National Public Radio, and other leading broadcast media.