Brigadier General Zwack (Ret.) served as the United States Senior Defense Official and Attaché to Moscow during challenging years of 2012-2014 and is one of our nation's leading experts on Russia.
BG Zwack retired in 2015 and currently is a Global Fellow at the Kennan Institute within the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. He also serves as an Adjunct Fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations.
Since 1989, BG Zwack has interacted with Russians on multiple levels including defense, security, academia, policy, veterans, and private citizens. He developed a personal hands-on perspective on Russia and Eurasian security affairs during a turbulent period in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. He regularly consults, writes and lectures within the interagency, defense department, think tanks, academic institutions on contemporary Russian and Eurasian security issues, and leadership lessons learned.
BG Zwack enlisted in the US Army in 1980 and received his commission via Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia. He subsequently served 34 years as a Military Intelligence and Eurasian Foreign Area Officer in diverse and challenging duty locations including West Germany, South Korea, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Russia. Inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame in 2015, BG Zwack is a recipient of the Bronze Star, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit and numerous other awards and decorations. He was also honored as the Joint Chiefs of Staff "Action Officer of the Year" in 1999 and proudly wears the Ranger Tab and Airborne Wings.
BG Zwack speaks Russian, German, Italian, and some French.
Topics include, among others:
• Russians: Who They Are, How They Think, and Why
• Russia’s View of the World Through the Prism of Existential Threats:
Real, Contrived, and Perceived
• The US-China-Russia Triangle:
How these relationships will shape the course of the entire world ahead
• Building Effective Teams: From Challenges Emerge Opportunities
Brigadier General Peter Zwack (Ret.) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Russia: Resurgent or Declining Power? A Eurasian perspective.
Brigadier General Peter Zwack on White House Chronicle
Host Llewellyn King discusses What Russia Wants & Why
“One of the great joys of serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation was working with General Peter Zwack. Every day, he demonstrated a deep commitment both to serving our great nation and to understanding Russia. The latter helped him do the former. Swimming the Volga shows just how deep into Russian society, history, and culture Peter dug. Jumping from the analytic to the personal with ease, it’s a brilliant story."
—Ambassador Michael McFaul U.S. Ambassador to Russia 2012-2014
Author of Cold War, Hot Peace; An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia
“Loaded with great insights and stories from his days before serving as US Defense Attache in Moscow and from his deep involvement with Russia, General Zwack brings the past alive to help us understand what Putin is doing today. It is very rare to have pages filled by someone who really knows, and knows how to write it.”
— Leslie H. Gelb
President Emeritus Council on Foreign Relations
"Peter Zwack managed to become one of the best intelligence officers, and when I say that to make colonel in our army is 1% of the several thousand you start out with. To make general is less than .001% to be selected. There are 300 generals there are only 20 MI (military intelligence) generals, Peter is one of them. He was great at intelligence whether he was in Germany, South Korea, Afghanistan, at the top of his game the senior intelligence officer in Afghanistan and Europe. At critical times, he was tremendous. He was a force to be reckoned with. But what made him also equally extraordinary, he was also a very, very, talented foreign area officer who we could put in policy positions, who we could put in as the special assistant to commanders, who we could choose at the end of a career to send to Moscow at a critical time. Peter’s extraordinary talents every day showed up at work. Because there is a consistency in his decency, his civility, his selflessness, his courage, and his commitment, all of us have the same experience with Peter and Stephanie Zwack, it’s the same, it’s consistency. And it’s never about them. Nobody was more delighted to see him show up on the general officer's list than we were. No one was more surprised than Peter Zwack. He would never have thought it was going to happen. Three or four years into being one star he keeps saying, “I can’t believe I’m a general”. I’m saying Peter, you’re going to Moscow, you gotta get over that! So, but an extraordinary career. We have a lot of young officers here who have been touched by Peter who is looking for examples and you really need not look any further than the person you were lucky enough to work with. For the choices that you made of always taking the hard job, for the teamwork and understanding that your wife had, to be the best you always have to go at the hardest things to see how it comes out. So, to both of you, thank you for your choices."
—LT General Mary Legere