Chief Executive Officer

Full Time

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an internationally recognized bi-partisan research institution dedicated to developing in-depth and innovative defense and national security policies. The Board of Directors seeks to hire a Chief Executive Officer to lead the Center’s efforts to develop strong, principled, and pragmatic national security and defense policy prescriptions for a wide audience of security experts, practitioners, and citizens; contribute an informed voice to the bi-partisan debate on defense and security issues; and cultivate the next generation of national security leaders.

The CEO of CNAS requires keen intellect, organizational vision, strong management and leadership skills, and an ability to work closely with the Center’s Board of Directors, researchers, development, outreach, and operational staff. The CEO must provide thought leadership necessary to chart the direction of this bi-partisan, dynamic, young, organization that has significantly influenced the national security agenda of the United States over the past ten years. The CEO must also demonstrate the organizational leadership and managerial skills required to enhance further CNAS’ financial health, attract and retain top talent, oversee an active public engagement agenda, and sustain a unique organizational culture.

This position requires the ability to articulate a compelling, long-term vision for a bi-partisan, results-oriented research organization and to inspire a committed, highly talented staff of researchers and organizational leaders. A deep and broad understanding of defense national security and the ability to represent the Center to a diverse range of existing and potential stakeholders are required.

The CEO will build and maintain strong bi-partisan relationships with policy makers in the executive branch and U.S. Congress and partner with leaders in the U.S. armed services, overseas governments, academia, foundations, corporations, other research and policy organizations, and constituents of the Center. He or she requires acumen in fundraising and business development; experience in managing relationships with investors and other stakeholders; and exceptional initiative, judgment, interpersonal skills, and oral and written communication skills.

The CEO reports to the Board of Directors and manages 40 full-time staff members.

Specific job duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Developing and executing the Center’s overall strategic plan.
  • Overseeing management of the Center and ensuring its financial health, public engagement, and operational efficiency.
  • Identifying and hiring top talent to staff the research, development, outreach, and operations components of the Center.
  • Leading fundraising efforts to expand its donor base, including travel for meetings and events.
  • Strengthening the Center’s relationships with the Department of Defense, Department of State, the military services, members of Congress, and other national security institutions.
  • Conceiving of and launching new programs and activities to maintain the position of CNAS as an innovative thought leader in defense and national security policy.
  • Contributing an informed voice to bi-partisan debates on defense and national security issues.
  • Representing CNAS in national and international conferences, meetings, and media.
  • Contributing to the Center’s focus on actively developing the next generation of national security leaders.
  • Maintaining the unique collaborative and entrepreneurial organizational culture of the Center.

Qualifications desired:

  • Senior management experience in a business or nonprofit organization.
  • High ethical standards and an uncompromising moral compass.
  • Significant national security experience and superb written and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated track record of both organizational and thought leadership in the national security community.
  • Discretion, sensitivity, and sound judgment.
  • An advanced degree in a field relating to the work of CNAS and/or the CEO position.

Salary is competitive with those of like institutions.

Preferred start date is early 2018.

About CNAS: 

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit research organization dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies. Building on the deep expertise and broad experience of its staff and advisors, CNAS engages policymakers, experts and the public with innovative, fact-based research, ideas and analysis to shape the national security debate. CNAS is located in Washington, D.C., and was established in February 2007.

To Apply: 

Complete applications should include a cover letter, a résumé or CV, and reference contact information.

Online applications will be accepted at:

For inquiries contact Ellen McHugh:

All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.