Principal, Chertoff Group
Member, Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age

From 2006 to 2010, the Honorable Dr. Richard Falkenrath served as the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism, where he strengthened the city’s overall effort to prevent, prepare for, and respond to terrorist attacks. During this time, Falkenrath implemented new security measures through the use of enhanced technologies resulting in better detection systems, hardened infrastructure, and a more coordinated response among law enforcement agencies should an attack occur. Specifically, he managed the overall implementation of a unique, award-winning $250 million security technology program designed to increase surveillance and detection of threats in lower Manhattan. Falkenrath used his leadership to build and strengthen strategic alliances among multiple government agencies and private companies. He led the New York City Police Department’s interaction with the FBI, intelligence community, and other federal agencies while analyzing and synthesizing global, intelligence, and risk information on a daily basis.

Prior to joining the New York City Police Department, Falkenrath served as the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions in Washington, DC. His research and analysis of policy subjects focused primarily on organizational restructuring and globalization. At that time, he was also an analyst with the Cable News Network (CNN).

From 2001 to 2004, Falkenrath held several leadership positions within the White House, advising the President and his senior team on the most significant dangers facing our homeland. In January 2001, Falkenrath served as Director for Proliferation Strategy within the National Security Council, where he was responsible for biological weapons proliferation and preparedness, missile defense, and Asian proliferation issues. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Falkenrath was named Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Policy and Plans within the Office of Homeland Security. In January 2003, he was promoted to Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor.

In these capacities, Falkenrath was responsible for developing and coordinating all aspects of US homeland security policy and law, as well as counterterrorism threat assessment and response at all levels. He was the principal author of the National Strategy for Homeland Security and was centrally involved in the stand-up of the Department of Homeland Security, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (the predecessor to today’s National Counterterrorism Center), and the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center.

During his career, Falkenrath has also worked at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was the founder and co-Principal Investigator of the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness; a member of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (the “Gilmore Commission”); a member of the Board of Visitors of the National Emergency Management Institute; a member of the Director of Central Intelligence’s Nonproliferation Advisory Panel; a Visiting Research Fellow at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik; and a consultant to the Defense Science Board and the RAND Corporation.

Falkenrath is a summa cum laude graduate of Occidental College, earning degrees in Economics and International Relations. He holds a PhD from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. Falkenrath is the author or coauthor of Shaping Europe’s Military Order (1995), Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy (1996), America’s Achilles ’ Heel: Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Terrorism and Covert Attack (1998), as well as numerous journal articles, chapters of edited volumes, prepared statements for Congressional testimony, and op-ed articles. He is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.

Falkenrath has been a Member of the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age since 2006. 

Richard Falkenrath

Areas of Focus


  • Foreign Policy
  • US National Security Affairs
  • Biological, Chemical, and Nuclear Terrorism
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Government Reorganization and Merging of Agencies
  • Intelligence and Information Sharing
  • Crisis and Risk Management

Markle Affiliations

  • Markle Task Force