Rich Cooper

Vice President of Research and Emerging Issues

Richard “Rich” Cooper is vice president of research and emerging issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. In this role, he examines the issues that will impact the United States and its private sector over the next 2 to 10 years. He leads a team of fellows, researchers, and program managers who present programming, publications, and events to better inform and best prepare the Chamber’s leaders, members, and stakeholders for the future. 

Cooper is also a principal with Catalyst Partners, LLC, a government and public affairs practice in Washington, D.C., that focuses on homeland and national security matters. He offers clients advice and strategic planning support on emergency preparedness and business continuity leadership, public-private partnerships, and homeland security policies and programs.  

In addition, Cooper serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Division of the National Defense Industrial Association, a senior fellow with The George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute, and an advisor to New York University’s International Center for Enterprise Preparedness. He has been featured in TIME magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Government Executive, and Defense Media Network and has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, including Fox News and C-Span. He posts regular commentaries on a variety of homeland security issues at Security Debrief, a homeland security and counterterrorism blog. 

From 2003 to 2006, Cooper served as business liaison director for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Private Sector Office (PSO), where he had a leadership role in the formation of department policies and programs for private sector preparedness and business continuity. At DHS, he worked closely with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief efforts, the 9/11 Commission, the Ready-Business campaigns, and other organizations committed to ensuring the security and viability of the private sector. Cooper also served as the PSO’s primary liaison with the Science & Technology and Preparedness Directorates, leading efforts to establish relationships with the private sector in key homeland security areas. 


Before joining DHS, Cooper was a senior policy advisor at NASA headquarters, working as special assistant to the NASA administrator and chief of staff/White House liaison. Other positions included program architect for NASA’s Educator Astronaut Program, the first new position in the astronaut corps in more than 25 years, and strategic communications and editorial response for the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, where his works were published or presented in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times-Picayune, NASA Television, and other outlets.