Thomas M. Sanderson

Senior Associate (Non-resident), Transnational Threats Project

Thomas Sanderson is a senior associate and the co-founder and former director of the CSIS Transnational Threats Project. He investigates terrorism, insurgency, criminal networks, global trends, and intelligence issues. Sanderson has conducted field research in 70 countries and has authored or coauthored dozens of reports, as well as opinion pieces and articles for The Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, CTC Sentinel, and Harvard Asia-Pacific Review. He testifies before the U.S. Congress, provides expert commentary for the media and courts of law, and regularly engages a spectrum of sources, including journalists, terrorists, traffickers, refugees, foreign intelligence officials, business leaders, and NGOs. From 2013 to 2017, Sanderson led a multiphase study of terrorism in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and Central Asia—partnering with relevant CSIS regional programs. Current research is focused on foreign fighters and home-grown extremists impacting Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. He has codirected an al Qaeda futures study and led numerous studies on Central Asia. From 2004 to 2009, he directed studies on open source intelligence networks, analyzing violent extremism in Europe and Southeast Asia. He is a course instructor and consultant for the U.S. government and the private sector on terrorism, geopolitics, and global threats. He holds a BA and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.