Richard Fontaine

  • President

Richard Fontaine is the President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as a Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow at CNAS from 2009-2012 and previously as foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain for more than five years.  He has also worked at the State Department, the National Security Council and on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Mr. Fontaine served as foreign policy advisor to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign and, following the election, as the minority deputy staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Prior to this, he served as associate director for Near Eastern affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) from 2003-04.  He also worked in the NSC’s Asian Affairs directorate, where he covered Southeast Asian issues.

During his time at the State Department, Mr. Fontaine worked in the office of former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and in the department’s South Asia bureau, working on issues related to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Mr. Fontaine began his foreign policy career as a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia.  He also spent a year teaching English in Japan.

A native of New Orleans, Mr. Fontaine graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Tulane University.  He also holds a M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, and he attended Oxford University.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  He also served as the chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.  

Mr. Fontaine lives in Falls Church, Va., with his wife and four children.

  • September 18, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Policy Briefs

Seizing the Modi Moment: Reenergizing U.S.-India Ties on the Eve of the Prime Minister’s Visit

CNAS President Richard Fontaine offers an agenda of deepened strategic ties between the United States and India in anticipation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States in late September.

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  • September 17, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Policy Briefs

Bringing Liberty Online: Reenergizing the Internet Freedom Agenda in a Post-Snowden Era

CNAS President Richard Fontaine argues that, despite the many complications arising from the Snowden disclosures, America still needs a comprehensive Internet freedom strategy.

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  • March 31, 2014
  • Daniel Kliman, Richard Fontaine
  • Reports

Global Swing States: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey and the Future of International Order

Daniel M. Kliman of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and CNAS President Richard Fontaine urge U.S. leaders to pursue closer partnerships with BRazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey.

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  • November 13, 2013
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Commentaries

The President Is Right to Intervene, But Then What?

Richard-Fontaine-CNAS-Syria

President Obama is right to take action in response to the Asad regime’s chemical attack on Syrian civilians. Yet in the absence of a strategy that aims at ending the broader humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, the impending attacks will raise as many questions as they answer.

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  • November 13, 2013
  • Richard Fontaine, David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Patrick M. Cronin, Phillip Carter, Nora Bensahel, Richard Williamson, Gordon Miller, Katherine Kidder
  • Commentaries

CNAS Commentaries: The Way Forward in Syria

CNAS Commentaries: The Way Forward in Syria

Nine experts at the Center for a New American Security offer analysis and commentary on the range of issues relating to the U.S. response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Asad regime in Syria.

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  • June 10, 2013
  • Alexander Sullivan, Ely Ratner, Patrick M. Cronin, Richard Fontaine, Zachary Hosford
  • Reports

The Emerging Asia Power Web: The Rise of Bilateral Intra-Asian Security Ties

The Emerging Asia Power Web

The Asia team at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) explores the “Asia Power Web," a term the team developed to describe the growing trend of intra-Asian defense and security cooperation among six key countries – Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. 

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  • October 5, 2012
  • John A. Nagl, Kristin M. Lord, Melissa Dalton, Colin H. Kahl, David W. Barno, USA (Ret.), Ely Ratner, Jacob Stokes, Nancy Brune, Patrick M. Cronin, Richard Fontaine, Travis Sharp, Will Rogers
  • Reports

National Security Guide to the 2012 Presidential Election

National Security Guide to the 2012 Presidential Election

The Center for a New American Security's National Security Guide to the 2012 Presidential Election draws on the expertise of CNAS scholars to provide readers with a fact-based, non-ideological assessment of the critical national security issues that the next president must address. The guide, edited by Kay King, Senior Advisor and Director of External Relations, and Researcher Jacob Stokes, is intended to help American voters, global partners and other interested observers better understand the national security issues that are at stake in this election and that will impact the nation for decades to come.

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  • May 25, 2012
  • Richard Fontaine, Kristin M. Lord
  • Reports

America's Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration

America's Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration

In America’s Path: Grand Strategy for the Next Administration, editors and CNAS experts Richard Fontaine and Dr. Kristin M. Lord bring together four strategists - Dr. Robert J. Art, Dr. Richard K. Betts, Dr. Peter Feaver and Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter - with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to advance a common mission of promoting informed debate about America’s role in the world and the best ways to fulfill it.

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  • June 24, 2011
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Congressional Testimony

Preserving Progress: Transitioning Authority And Implementing The Strategic Framework Agreement

Fontaine Testimony

Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcomittee on the Middle East and South Asia on June 23, 2011.  Fontaine testifed to the importance of the Unites States' strategic interests in Iraq.  The testimony included points on the stability of the future of Iraq and how that will impact U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East.

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  • May 23, 2011
  • Kristin M. Lord, Mike McConnell, Peter Schwartz, Richard Fontaine, Travis Sharp, Will Rogers
  • Reports

America’s Cyber Future: Security and Prosperity in the Information Age

America’s Cyber Future: Security and Prosperity in the Information Age VOLUME I

Despite productive efforts by the U.S. government and the private sector to strengthen cyber security, the increasing sophistication of cyber threats continues to outpace progress. To help U.S. policymakers address the growing danger of cyber insecurity, this two-volume report features accessible and insightful chapters on cyber security strategy, policy, and technology by some of the world’s leading experts on international relations, national security, and information technology.

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Pages

  • November 25, 2013
  • Richard Fontaine, Robert Kaplan
  • Events

Foreign Policy Challenges in Obama's Second Term

  • February 13, 2013
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Events

Global Internet Freedom After Dubai: An event with the U.S. Senate Global Internet Freedom Caucus

On February 12, CNAS hosted an event with the U.S. Senate Global Internet Freedom Caucus to explore the major issues affecting Internet governance in 2013, including the outcome of the recent World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai and the increasing divisiveness over the role of governments in regulating the Internet.

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  • April 18, 2012
  • Nathaniel C. Fick, Richard Fontaine
  • Events

CNAS 2012 Annual Conference

The Center for a New American Security's 2012 annual conference, "Rethinking U.S. Security: Navigating a World in Transition," took place in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.

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  • October 14, 2010
  • Richard L. Armitage, Richard Fontaine
  • Events

Natural Allies: A Blueprint for the Future of U.S.-India Relations

On October 20, 2010, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) will host an event at the Newseum to launch a new report on the future of U.S.-India relations. The event will feature a roundtable discussion on the path forward for this critical relationship, featuring former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Professor R. Nicholas Burns, CNAS Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine, and other outside experts.

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  • October 15, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

Serious disagreements remain in U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State

President Richard Fontaine weighs in on the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS.

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  • October 7, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

Modi’s Visit Shows Promise of Renewing U.S.-India Ties

President Richard Fontaine discusses Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States with World Politics Review.

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  • October 7, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

U.S. uses helicopters for first time to hit Islamic State rebels

President Richard Fontaine discusses the results of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in a Reuters article.

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  • September 25, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

U.S. eager to forget about new India premier's 2005 visa denial

The Los Angeles Times quotes President Richard Fontaine in an article on the US-India relations issues to be discussed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit. 

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  • September 24, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

In ISIS fight, much in Syria rests on allies on ground

President Richard Fontaine provides an assessment of the current plan to train moderate Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in The Boston Globe

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  • September 23, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

PM Narendra Modi's visit, a chance to progress on key Indo-US issues: Think tank

The Economic Times features President Richard Fontaine and his new policy brief, "Seizing the Modi Moment: Reenergizing US-India Ties on the Eve of the Prime Minister's Visit," on the opportunity Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US presents for addressing key issues in Indo-US relations.

 

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  • September 22, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

Potential push for Obama to expand military effort

Associated Press quotes President Richard Fontaine in an article discussing the possibility of President Obama expanding the U.S. ground forces mission in Iraq. 

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  • September 22, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

World in turmoil marks Barack Obama’s return to U.N.

POLITICO cites President Richard Fontaine on the challenges President Obama faces in empowering foreign allies to mitigate ongoing crises, particularly in building an international coalition to fight the Islamic State. 

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  • September 8, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

Obama outlines strategy to 'ultimately destroy' Islamic State

The Los Angeles Times quotes President Richard Fontaine on President Obama's "broad counter-terrorism strategy" to ultimately defeat the Islamic State. 

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  • September 3, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

LinkedIn Reviewing China Censorship Policy

President Richard Fontaine in Bloomberg weighs in on Linkedin Corp. considering policy changes regarding the government censorship affecting its users in China.  

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Pages

  • October 20, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Contain ISIS, Then Roll It Back

President Richard Fontaine weighs in via Defense One's debate on "containment" regarding a strategy on ISIS.

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  • September 29, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Why Modi's visit matters

President Richard Fontaine at CNN explains why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit “represents a key opportunity to recharge a critical bilateral relationship.” 

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  • September 3, 2014
  • Patrick M. Cronin, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Send the U.S. Navy to Australia

President Richard Fontaine and Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program Dr. Patrick Cronin explain how a U.S. naval presence in Australia could benefit this strong strategic partnership in The Wall Street Journal

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  • August 14, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine, Michele Flournoy
  • Op-eds

America: Beware the Siren Song of Disengagement

CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine publish a National Interest piece on American engagement.

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  • July 18, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

In Japan’s defense change, context is everything

President Richard Fontaine and Jeffrey W. Hornung, associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, pen an op-ed in The Japan Times that analyzes the Japanese governments recent announcement to increase its military engagement and defense activities.

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  • July 15, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine, Patrick M. Cronin
  • Op-eds

The Case for U.S. Arms Sales to Vietnam

In The Wall Street Journal, President Richard Fontaine and Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program Dr. Patrick Cronin advocate U.S.  support for Vietnam through lifting lethal arms bans as an appropriate deterrence strategy against China's continued aggression in the South China Sea. 

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  • July 10, 2014
  • Michele Flournoy, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Rebuilding Bipartisan Consensus on National Security

CEO Michèle Flournoy and President Richard Fontaine discuss the effects of increasing polarization in American politics on the future of U.S. national security in Defense One

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  • December 5, 2013
  • Ely Ratner, Patrick M. Cronin, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

Asians Hedge Against China

Richard Fontaine, Dr. Patrick Cronin and Dr. Ely Ratner pen an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal discussing how Beijing's regional aggression inadvertently propels closer relations between Washington's allies.

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  • September 5, 2013
  • Ely Ratner, Patrick M. Cronin, Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

An Asian Power Web Emerges

In an op-ed in The Diplomat, Patrick Cronin, Richard Fontaine and Ely Ratner of CNAS write about the "burgeoning security cooperation" among nations of the Indo-Pacific region, which they argue "represents the untold story of a region on the move."

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  • December 13, 2012
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Op-eds

American Decline and the Liberal Order

Global Swing States, a report co-authored by CNAS President Richard Fontaine, is featured in an op-ed for The National Interest.

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Pages

  • June 24, 2011
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Congressional Testimony

Preserving Progress: Transitioning Authority And Implementing The Strategic Framework Agreement

Fontaine Testimony

Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcomittee on the Middle East and South Asia on June 23, 2011.  Fontaine testifed to the importance of the Unites States' strategic interests in Iraq.  The testimony included points on the stability of the future of Iraq and how that will impact U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East.

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  • June 29, 2010
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Congressional Testimony

Contracting in Combat Zones: Who Are Our Subcontractors?

Contracting in Combat Zones: Who Are Our Subcontractors?

CNAS Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine testified on the problems associated with contracting in conflicts and areas for reform before the U.S. Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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  • September 30, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Videos

Interview: "Does America Have the Right Strategy to Take on ISIS?"

The National Interest speaks with President Richard Fontaine on the ISIS challenge, America's "pivot" to Asia, sequestration, U.S. foreign policy and more. 

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  • June 16, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Videos

Video: Eighth Annual Conference: Closing Remarks

CNAS President Richard Fontaine delivers closing remarks at the Eighth Annual National Security Conference.

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  • June 19, 2013
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2013 Annual Conference - Closing Remarks

CNAS President Richard Fontaine closes the CNAS 2013 Annual Conference by thanking speakers and attendees.

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  • June 15, 2011
  • Richard Fontaine, Colin H. Kahl, Nathaniel C. Fick
  • Videos

Video: Revolution In The Middle East: Democracy In The Digital Domain

CNAS CEO Nathanial Fick gives opening remarks at the CNAS Fifth Annual Conference on June 2, 2011.  Following his remarks is the roundtable discussion, "Reveloution In The Middle East: Democracy In The Digital Domain" featuring: Karen House, Former Publisher of The Wall Street Journal; Andrew Exum, Fellow at CNAS; Richard Fontaine, Senior Fellow at CNAS; Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center; and Dr. Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East. Watch the video here.

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  • October 19, 2010
  • Richard Fontaine
  • Videos

Richard Fontaine on Natural Allies: A Blueprint for the Future of U.S.-India Relations

In this exclusive interview, CNAS Senior Fellow Richard Fontaine, co-author of the new CNAS report Natural Allies: A Blueprint for the Future of U.S.-India Relations, talks about the benefits of a stronger U.S. relationship with India.

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