Ford Rowan is the chairman of the National Center for Critical Incident Analysis, an independent, privately funded, civilian research entity that supports the National Defense University in Washington. He is the author of a study on lessons from the 2001 anthrax attacks and co-author of What is to be done? Emerging Perspectives on Public Responses to Bioterrorism (2002) and Crisis Prevention, Management and Communication (1991).

Rowan is a founder of the crisis management consulting firm of Rowan & Blewitt Incorporated in Washington, D.C. He has advised on the September 11th air disasters, alleged financial fraud, restatements of earnings, environmental crimes, free trade issues, chemical safety, mad cow disease, SUV rollovers, silicone breast implants, the aftermath of the Valdez oil spill and five explosions at chemical plants and refineries.

He is a former national security correspondent for NBC News who covered the war in Lebanon, the Watergate trials, and Three Mile Island. He was the host of the weekly PBS program, International Edition, in the mid 1980s. Rowan also practiced communications law in Washington and is the author of Broadcast Fairness, a 1984 analysis of the impact of regulation on news coverage. In 1978 he wrote TechnoSpies which described the computer network that became the Internet.

Rowan taught part-time for 13 years at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, for four years at the University of Southern California and three years at George Washington University. He earned his law degree at Georgetown and masters degrees from Johns Hopkins (behavioral science), American University (political science) and Syracuse (interdisciplinary social science). He earned a doctorate in public administration from the University of Southern California. Rowan is vice chair of the Board of the Santa Fe Institute.