Shawn Brimley

  • Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

Shawn Brimley is Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) where he manages the center’s research agenda and staff. Mr. Brimley rejoined CNAS in late 2012 after serving at the White House as Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council staff. He also served as Special Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon from 2009 to 2011, where he focused on strategy development, force planning, and overseas basing and posture. He was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.

Mr. Brimley was a founding member of CNAS in 2007 and was the inaugural recipient of the 1Lt. Andrew Bacevich Jr. Memorial Fellowship. He has also worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Mr. Brimley's research interests focus on U.S. defense strategy and policy. He is a columnist at War on the Rocks, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and other outlets. He has testified before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Educated at Queen’s University and George Washington University, Mr. Brimley lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and their three children.

 

  • December 17, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Reports

While We Can: Arresting the Erosion of America’s Military Edge

CNAS Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley argues that the U.S. military edge – particularly in regards to technology – is rapidly eroding. Mr. Brimley makes concrete recommendations for how to rebuild America’s military advantage.

Read More
  • October 29, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Shawn Brimley before the Senate Armed Services Committee

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on arresting the erosion of America’s military edge.

Read More
  • June 23, 2015
  • Dafna Rand, Jacob Stokes, Julianne Smith, Shawn Brimley
  • Reports

Enabling Decision: Shaping the National Security Council for the Next President

Four CNAS experts - including three former National Security Council (NSC) staff - recommend changes to NSC management processes and structure to make it more agile and effective for the next president. 

Read More
  • February 3, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley, Phillip Carter, Elbridge Colby, Patrick M. Cronin, Michele Flournoy, Ilan Goldenberg, Jerry Hendrix, Nicholas Heras, Van Jackson, Katherine Kidder, Paul Scharre, Julianne Smith, Jacob Stokes, Alexander Sullivan
  • Reports

Ideas to Action: Suggestions for the 25th Secretary of Defense

In advance of Dr. Ashton Carter’s upcoming nomination hearing to be Secretary of Defense, CNAS experts have produced a series of commentaries outlining the key issues the 25th Secretary of Defense will face.

Read More
  • December 3, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley before HASC on DOD's Third Offset Strategy

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley testified before the HASC Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces on The Role of Maritime and Air Power in DoD’s Third Offset Strategy.

Read More
  • July 16, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley before House Armed Services Committee on UCLASS

cnas-shawn-brimley-prepared-statement-hasc

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley testified before the House Committee on Armed Services regarding the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) Requirements Assessment.

Read More
  • May 13, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley, Paul Scharre
  • Op-Eds

CTRL + ALT + DELETE: Resetting America's Military

ctrl-alt-del-resetting-americas-military-brimley-scharre

In the May edition of Foreign Policy, Shawn Brimley and Paul Scharre address the question: "If you built the U.S. Military today from scratch with no historical burdens, how would you build it?"

Read More
  • January 22, 2014
  • Robert O. Work, Shawn Brimley
  • Reports

20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age

20YY-Preparing-for-war-in-the-robotic-age

20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age calls upon the United States to prepare for war in new era in which “unmanned and autonomous systems will play central war-fighting roles for the United States, its allies and partners, and its adversaries.”

Read More
  • November 13, 2013
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Commentaries

The Danger of Strategic Distraction

The United States will respond to the horrifying use of chemical weapons by the Asad regime. It is in America's interests to be seen as leading the charge against such an abomination, and in the process help accelerate a dictator's departure. We should be under no illusions however that any use of force opens the door to a brighter future for Syria's oppressed and vulnerable population. Asad's departure will not end the civil war – it may even make things worse.

Read More
  • September 25, 2013
  • Ben FitzGerald, Kelley Sayler, Shawn Brimley
  • Reports

Game Changers: Disruptive Technology and U.S. Defense Strategy

game-changers-CNAS

In Game Changers: Disruptive Technology and U.S. Defense Strategy, Vice President Shawn Brimley, Director of the Technology and National Security Program Ben FitzGerald and Research Associate  Kelley Sayler discuss how the rapid diffusion of advanced technology throughout the world has the potential to challenge the U.S. technological advantage in defense capabilities.

Read More

Pages

  • April 18, 2016
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

US to sail submarine drones in South China Sea

In Financial Times, Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley weighs in on U.S. submarine drones in the South China Sea.

Read More
  • March 11, 2016
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Inside the Artificial Intelligence Revolution: A Special Report, Pt. 2

Rollingstone cites a report on war in the robotic age written by former CNAS CEO Robert Work and CNAS Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley.

Read More
  • February 10, 2016
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

US military: Robot wars

In Financial Times, Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley discusses autonomous weapons.

Read More
  • February 8, 2016
  • Shawn Brimley, Jerry Hendrix, Ben FitzGerald, Julianne Smith, Paul Scharre, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Kelley Sayler, Katherine Kidder, Michelle Shevin-Coetzee, Rachel Rizzo
  • Press Notes

CNAS Press Note: What to Look for in the Defense Budget

With the FY 2017 Defense Budget set to drop this week and Secretary Carter having outlined budget last week, ten CNAS experts have provided insight into the key items to look for in the budget.

Read More
  • November 2, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Democrats Aren't on Board With Hillary's No-Fly Zone Plan

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley discusses the political debate regarding policy options in Syria in Foreign Policy.

Read More
  • October 27, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Obama weighs moving U.S. troops closer to front lines in Syria, Iraq

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley discusses Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's objectives relating to US operations in Iraq and Syria in The Washington Post.

Read More
  • August 10, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

The Surge Fallacy

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley is mentioned in regards to a 2008 article on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki in The Atlantic.

Read More
  • June 10, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

US to Send Up to 450 More Troops to Train Iraqis

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley weighs in on President Obama's order to deploy up to 450 more U.S. troops to Iraq.

Read More
  • May 28, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Press Notes

CNAS Press Note: To Beat ISIS, Bypass Baghdad

In response to vigorous debate over U.S. strategy in Iraq following ISIS’ conquest of Ramadi, Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley has written a new Press Note arguing that we need to bypass the central government in Baghdad in order to defeat ISIS.

Read More
  • May 15, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Bush struggles to clarify stance on wisdom of invading Iraq

Shawn Brimley, executive vice president and director of studies, weighs in on the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq.

Read More

Pages

  • June 16, 2016
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Au Revoir QDR

In War on the Rocks, senior fellows Shawn Brimley and Loren Dejonge Schulman write an oped discussing the the possibility of replacing the Quadrennial Defense Review with new defense strategy methods and reports.

Read More
  • May 11, 2016
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Observations on Global Military Posture

Senior fellow Loren D. Schulman and Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley analyze why global posture is crucial for the U.S. and advise how the next Secretary of Defense should act in War on the Rocks.

Read More
  • April 13, 2016
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Katherine Kidder, Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Escaping the No Man's Land of Defense Reform

On War on the Rocks, CNAS experts Shawn Brimley, Loren DeJonge Schulman, and Katherine Kidder discusses defense reform.

Read More
  • March 17, 2016
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Sustaining the Third Offset in the Next Administration

In War on the Rocks, CNAS experts Shawn Brimley and Loren DeJonge Schulman recommend how to continue investing in the Pentagon's offset strategy/

Read More
  • February 4, 2016
  • Shawn Brimley, Loren DeJonge Schulman
  • Op-eds

Agenda SECDEF: Crafting the Next Defense Strategy

On War on the Rocks, CNAS experts Shawn Brimley and Loren DeJonge Schulman co-wrote an op-ed highlighting key issues for the next administration.

Read More
  • November 24, 2015
  • Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Introducing Agenda SecDef

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley and Deputy Director of Studies and Leon E. Panetta Senior Fellow Loren DeJonge Schulman penned an op-ed describing the collaboration between CNAS and War on the Rocks on developing the SecDef agenda.

Read More
  • May 11, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley, Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras
  • Op-eds

Can Obama Save the GCC Summit?

In a Foreign Policy op-ed, CNAS experts Shawn Brimley, Ilan Goldenberg, and Nicholas Heras discuss different methods through which the United States can manage its anxious Gulf Arab allies in order to prevent greater instability in the Middle East. 

Read More
  • April 28, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

THE NAVY’S NEW MUSEUM DRONE AND STRATEGIC MALPRACTICE

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley discusses the Navy possibly decommissioning the two X-47Bs.

Read More
  • March 27, 2015
  • Jerry Hendrix, Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Let’s Lock in the Rebalance to Asia

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley and Senior Fellow and the Director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Jerry Hendrix weigh in on the Rebalance to Asia. 

Read More
  • March 2, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Contesting China’s Facts on New Ground

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley dives in on China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Read More

Pages

  • October 29, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Shawn Brimley before the Senate Armed Services Committee

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on arresting the erosion of America’s military edge.

Read More
  • December 3, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley before HASC on DOD's Third Offset Strategy

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley testified before the HASC Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces on The Role of Maritime and Air Power in DoD’s Third Offset Strategy.

Read More
  • July 16, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley before House Armed Services Committee on UCLASS

cnas-shawn-brimley-prepared-statement-hasc

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley testified before the House Committee on Armed Services regarding the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) Requirements Assessment.

Read More
  • February 27, 2013
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Congressional Testimony

Shawn Brimley Testifies Before the House Armed Services Committee on the QDR

Shawn Brimley Testifies Before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the QDR

In his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley discussed the role of the QDR and key issues for the 2014 QDR in the context of a changing strategic environment.

Read More
  • August 3, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Videos

Interview: Shawn Brimley on This Week in Defense News on DoD budget

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley discusses the National Defense Authorization Act on This Week in Defense News.

Read More
  • July 8, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley, Jacob Stokes, Katherine Kidder, Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Video: 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA Fellowship

This video highlights the 1Lt Andrew Bacevich, Jr., USA Fellowship and its impact on current and former Bacevich Fellows.

Read More
  • July 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Shawn Brimley
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2015 Annual Conference - 1Lt Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA, Fellowship Presentation

Research Associate Katherine Kidder is presented with the Bacevich Fellowship.The fellowship is presented by Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Asia Group, Dr. Kurt Campbell, Vice President, Global Security Policy, Europe and the Americas at Lockheed Martin Corporation, Dan Fata, and Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley. 

Read More
  • July 8, 2015
  • Michele Flournoy, Shawn Brimley, Jerry Hendrix, Robert D. Kaplan
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2015 Annual Conference - Opening Remarks & Orienting to the World in 2025

Chief Executive Officer Michèle Flournoy and Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley welcome attendees to the conference. Senior Fellow Robert D. Kaplan, Senior Fellow Dr. Jerry Hendrix, and Chief Executive Officer of Caerus Associates, Dr. Erin Simpson discuss the rise and fall of global powers and what developments we can expect in the next decade.

Read More
  • February 5, 2015
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Audio

Audio: Shawn Brimley discusses suggestions for Ash Carter

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley discusses suggestions for Ash Carter.

Read More
  • October 31, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Audio

Shawn Brimley, Executive Vice President, CNAS

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley joins Federal News Radio to discuss the Beyond Offset program.

Read More
  • September 8, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Videos

Interview: Shawn Brimley on CNN OutFront discussing ISIS

Executive Vice President Shawn Brimley joined CNN's OutFrount with Erin Burnett to discuss ISIS' recruitment of American Ahmad Abousamra.

Read More
  • June 16, 2014
  • Jacob Stokes, Shawn Brimley
  • Videos

Video: Eighth Annual Conference: 1Lt Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA, Fellowship Presentation

Executive Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley announces Jacob Stokes as 2014 Bacevich Fellow.

Read More
  • June 17, 2013
  • Shawn Brimley, Michele Flournoy
  • Videos

Video: CNAS 2013 Annual Conference - Defense Strategy Dialogue

CNAS 2013 Annual Conference - Defense Strategy Dialogue

CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Shawn Brimley moderated a discussion at the 2013 CNAS Annual Conference on June 12 with the Honorable Michèle Flournoy, co-chair of the CNAS Board of Directors; Wes Bush, Chairman, CEO and President of Northrop Grumman Corporation; and The Honorable Eric Edelman, Distinguished Fellow at CSBA on U.S. national security strategy in the era of sequestration and beyond.

Read More