Ellen Laipson serves as president and CEO of the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to enhancing international peace and security founded in 1989. She currently directs the Southwest Asia project, which focuses on a range of security issues in the Gulf region. She is a frequent speaker on Middle East issues and on U.S. foreign policy and global trends. Laipson joined the Center after nearly 25 years of government service. Key positions included Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) (1997-2002) and Special Assistant to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1995-97). At the NIC, Laipson co-managed the interdisciplinary study Global Trends 2015 and directed the NIC's outreach to think tanks and research organizations on a wide range of national security topics.
Her earlier government career focused on analysis and policymaking on Middle East and South Asian issues. She was the Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs for the National Security Council (1993-95), National Intelligence Officer for Near and South Asia (1990-93), a member of the State Department's policy planning staff (1986-87), and a specialist in Middle East Affairs for the Congressional Research Service.