Zack Gold
Research Scientist


Zack Gold is a research analyst in CNA’s Countering Threats and Challenges Program (CTCP), where his work focuses on building partner capacity in the maritime domain and assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of US security cooperation in the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America, and West Africa. Gold also works on emerging national security challenges, including implications of technological developments for special operations forces and the problem of extremism in the US military. Most recently, he was part of a CTCP team that evaluated US security cooperation activities in Afghanistan and was coauthor of a CNA-initiated study on social media bots. Gold has conducted CNA fieldwork in the Balkans and the Caribbean. In 2019, he deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, to support a partner exchange.

Prior to joining CNA, in 2016, Gold focused on political and security developments in Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Israel—including the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria across the region. Published works on these topics include the 2016 International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) Research Paper, Salafi Jihadist Violence in Egypt’s North Sinai: From Local Insurgency to Islamic State Province; the 2015 Strategic Assessment article, “Sinai Militancy and the Threat to International Forces”; and the 2013 Brookings’s Saban Center Analysis Paper, Sinai Security: Opportunities for Unlikely Cooperation Among Egypt, Israel, and Hamas. From 2015 to 2017, Gold served as a Nonresident Fellow with the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He was previously an Associate Fellow at ICCT and a consultant to Oxford Analytica and Wikistrat on Middle East counterterrorism, energy, and aviation security. From 2014 to 2015, Gold was a visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv; before that, he was a researcher at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

Gold earned his M.A. in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and his B.A. in political science and communication from the University of Delaware. He twice received the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Oman and Egypt. He also studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo.


February 4, 2020

Zack Gold says, "Without Ashmawy, both IS and Al-Qaeda-linked groups have managed high-casualty attacks on both sides of Egypt. The Egyptian army, especially, has proved that when it takes the initiative it can keep the pressure on militants in Sinai."

MENA FN: "Could the Death Sentence Be a Deterrent for Terrorists in Egypt?"

September 7, 2019

Zack Gold says, "If they can't protect themselves and their own infrastructure, it will be a struggle for them to protect this gas-line infrastructure."

Wall Street Journal: "Landmark Israel-Egypt Energy Alliance Hits Snags"

July 25, 2019

Zack Gold and William Rosenau write, "The Cold War and the Global War on Terror suggest that the future of conflict will more likely be limited to indirect skirmishes at the fringes of great-power influence."

Defense One: "The Future of Conflict Is Proxy Warfare, Again"

June 19, 2019

Zack Gold says, "In the long term, it would be concerning if the government pre-emptively arrested large numbers out of concern for street protests or other outbursts in the wake of Morsi's death."

AFP: "Egypt's Morsi Likely 'More Popular' After Death"

May 29, 2019

Zack Gold says, "Importantly, but unlikely, the transfer of Ashmawy to Egypt could reveal details about a number of terrorist attacks in Egypt from 2013 onward."

Yahoo: "Egypt Jihadist Returned from Libya to Face Terror Charges"

March 11, 2019

Zack Gold says, "Remnants of the group [ISIS] continue to shift around the northeast of the Sinai Peninsula while the military operates more statically."

Middle East Online: "Egypt Still Fighting Jihadists in Sinai One Year On"