Mathew James Burrows

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Mathew James Burrows
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Born (1953-08-31) August 31, 1953 (age 70)
Ohio, U.S.A.
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • BA in American and European History
  • MA in History
  • PhD in History
Alma mater
  • Wesleyan University
  • University of Cambridge
  • Author
  • Analyst
OrganizationAtlantic Council
TitleDirector Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative

Mathew James Burrows, PhD is an intelligence expert, author, and frequent commentator in various medias in the US, Europe and worldwide.

He spent almost 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including being detailed to National Intelligence Council (NIC) during the last decade of his career. He also served for a few years at the Department of State.

He currently serves as the Director of the Foresight, Strategy, and Risks Initiative in the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, a non-partisan public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C.

He is best known as the leading author of several National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends editions, especially the 2012 publication in that series, Global Trends 2030 : Alternative Worlds[1], an unclassified assessment of long term key trends, threats and uncertainties that are used to prepare incoming U.S. Presidents at the beginning of a new Administration.


Born in Ohio (August 31, 1953), Burrows earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American and European History summa cum laude from the Wesleyan University (Connecticut), as well as a Master of Arts degree and PhD in History from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

He lives in Washington, D.C.


Burrows joined the CIA in 1986 where he served as analyst for the Directorate of Intelligence (DI - now the CIA's Directorate of Analysis), covering Western Europe, including the development of the European Union's institutions. From 1994 to 1996 he served in US Mission to the European Union (EU) (Brussels, Belgium), where his portfolio included handling relations with the European Union on former Soviet Union and Middle East.

From 1998 to 1999 he was the first holder of the intelligence community fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Other previous positions included assignments as special assistant to the US UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke (1999-2001) and Deputy National Security Advisor to US Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill (2001-02). He was a member of the DI's Senior Analyst Service.

At the National Intelligence Council, he was appointed Director of Analysis and Production Staff (APS) in 2003 and Counselor to the NIC in 2007. He established the Long Range Analysis Unit, currently called Strategic Futures Group of the National Intelligence Council (2005). As Director of APS, Burrows was responsible for managing a staff of senior analysts. He was the leading author of several installments of the NIC report series on Global Trends. He was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (August, 2013) and the Central Intelligence Agency Distinguished Intelligence Medal (January, 2014).

Burrows joined the Atlantic Council as Director of the Foresight, Strategy, and Risk Initiative in 2013 and authored or co-authored numerous studies and reports since then. In 2020, he was instrumental in setting up the breakthrough New American Engagement Initiative, aiming to challenge conventional assumptions underlying American foreign policy across the full political spectrum.

His areas of expertise cover strategic foresight, European and American affairs, international security, technological trends, Russia and China ties and the future of the global system.

He has been a long-standing partner of the European Institutions' foresight network European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS) since its inception in 2011.

He frequently provides commentaries or interviews in various medias[2][3][4][5][6][7][8].

He teaches courses in the field of strategic foresight and international security at Center for Security Studies (CSS), Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

He remains a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and speaks fluent French.


While working for the United States Government, Burrows was the principal author and project manager for three unclassified global trends report: Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds (December 2012)[1], Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (November 2008)[9], Global Trends 2020: Mapping the Global Future (December 2004)[10], and co-authored with the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture[11]. The 2012 edition "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" received widespread recognition in the international media, among academics, and think tanks[12][13][14][15][16].

After leaving the NIC in 2013, he authored The Future, Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action, which features both non-fiction and fiction chapters (2014)[17]. The book was translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Romanian. He also co-authored with Alexander Dynkin Global System on the Brink: Pathways toward a New Normal (2016)[18] (translated into Russian), which was listed as "best Policy Study-Report Produced by a Think Tank" in the 2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report[19].

He is the author of numerous publications of the Atlantic Council[20][21][22][23], including Global Risks 2035 : The Search for a New Normal[24], as well as articles on strategic foresight[25][26][27] and foreign policy issues[28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35].

In April 2020, he co-authored What World Post-COVID-19 ?[36] with Peter Engelke.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Burrows, Mathew James (December 2012). Global Trends 2030 : Alternative Worlds (PDF). National Intelligence Council. p. 137. ISBN 978-1-929667-21-5.
  2. Cauchi, E.D.; Arkin, William M. (18 May 2020). "Trump's Secret New Watchlist Lets His Administration Track Americans Without Needing a Warrant". Newsweek.
  3. LeVine, Steve (4 May 2020). "The Harsh Future of American Cities How the pandemic will alter our urban centers, now and maybe forever". Medium.
  4. Donnelly, John M. (4 May 2020). "Going viral at the Pentagon: In pandemic's wake, Defense Department's role in similar crises could grow". Roll Call.
  5. Todd, Chuck (15 April 2020). "Interview of Mathew Burrows with Chuck Todd". MSNBC News.
  6. Dilanian, Ken; De Luce, Dan; Lehren, Andrew W. (13 April 2020). "From Clinton to Trump, 20 years of boom and mostly bust in prepping for pandemics". MSNBC News.
  7. "Россию и Китай в США воспринимают как единое целое". Interview transcript (in Russian). FINAM. 6 April 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  8. Shevardnadze, Sophie (5 February 2018). "Interview of Mathew Burrows with Sophie Shevardnadze". SophieCo show. RT.
  9. Burrows, Mathew James (November 2008). Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World (PDF). Washington D.C.: National Intelligence Council. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-16-081834-9.
  10. Burrows, Mathew James (December 2004). Mapping the Global Future (PDF). National Intelligence Council. p. 120. ISBN 0-16-073-218-2.
  11. Burrows, Mathew James (September 2010). Global Governance 2025: At a Critical Juncture (PDF). Washington D.C. / Paris: National Intelligence Council / European Union Institute for Security Studies. ISBN 978-92-9198-175-5.
  12. Dyer, Geoffrey (10 December 2012). "Pax Americana 'winding down'". Financial Times.
  13. "Asia 'to eclipse' US and Europe by 2030 - US report". BBC News. 10 December 2012.
  14. Boeing, Niels (28 December 2012). "Abschied vom Westen" (in German). Technology Review.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  15. Delcroix, Geoffrey (26 December 2012). "Tendances globales 2030 : une vision géopolitique des services de renseignement américains" (in French). Futuribles.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  16. Minassian, Gaïdtz (7 May 2013). "Les quatre scénarios de la CIA pour 2030" (in French). Le Monde.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  17. Burrows, Mathew James (September 2014). The Future, Declassified: Megatrends That Will Undo the World Unless We Take Action (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1137279552.
  18. Dynkin, Alexander; Burrows, Mathew James (December 2015). Global System on the Brink: Pathways Toward a New Normal (PDF). Atlantic Council & Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-61977-979-2.
  19. Mc Gann, James G. "2016 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report". University of Pennsylvania ScholarlyCommons.
  20. Burrows, Mathew James; Burwell, Frances G. (March 2017). Europe in 2022 : Alternative futures. Atlantic Council. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-61977-438-4.
  21. Burrows, Mathew James (October 2019). "Global risks 2035 update: Decline or new renaissance?" (PDF). Atlantic Council.
  22. Burrows, Mathew James (September 2016). Reducing the risks from rapid demographic change (PDF). Atlantic Council. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-61977-460-5.
  23. Burrows, Mathew James (October 2016). "History's Lessons for Resolving Today's Middle East Conflicts" (PDF). Atlantic Council.
  24. Burrows, Mathew James (September 2016). Global Risks 2035: The Search for a New Normal (PDF). Atlantic Council. p. 73.
  25. Burrows, Mathew James; Gnad, Oliver (29 June 2017). "Between 'Muddling Through' and 'Grand Design': Regaining Political Initiative – The Role of Strategic Foresight". Future. Elsevier. 97 (March 2018): 6–17. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2017.06.002.
  26. Burrows, Mathew James (9 December 2014). "Using fiction to understand strategy and the future". War On The Rocks.
  27. Burrows, Mathew James (20 May 2015). "The Emerging Global Middle Class—So What?". The Washington Quarterly. 38:1 (Spring 2015): 7–22. doi:10.1080/0163660X.2015.1038170.
  28. Burrows, Mathew James; Mueller-Kaler, Julian (16 September 2019). "America's foreign policy needs more than a replacement for John Bolton". The Hill.
  29. Burrows, Mathew James; Mueller-Kaler, Julian (6 August 2019). "How the Trump administration can solve its Iran problem". The Hill.
  30. Burrows, Mathew James (5 May 2017). "In France, Would a Macron Victory Spell Defeat for Putin ? Or a shift to 'Multipolarity?". Belfer Center, Harvard University.
  31. Bratersky, Alexander (8 July 2016). "США и Китай могут быть вовлечены в войну" (in Russian).{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  32. Olney, Warren (25 January 2016). "What's the Future for US Diplomacy in Syria?". KCRW.
  33. Burrows, Mathew James; George, Roger (20 January 2016). "Is America Ready for a Multipolar World?". The National Interest.
  34. Burrows, Mathew James; Dynkin, Alexander (7 September 2015). "Here's the Playbook for Getting U.S.-Russian Cooperation Back on Track". The National Interest.
  35. Burrows, Mathew James (24 August 2015). "America's Worst Nightmare: Russia and China Are Getting Closer". The National Interest.
  36. Burrows, Mathew James; Engelke, Peter (April 2020). "What World POST-COVID-19? Three Scenarios" (PDF). Atlantic Council.

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