Director of Communications

Full Time

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seeks a Director of Communications to develop, integrate and implement a broad range of public relations activities to advance the strategic direction and positioning of the organization, its leadership, and its research.

The Director is responsible for communications products and services including: traditional media and public relations; event management and promotion; website and multimedia engagement, including video production and promotion; digital media outreach, including podcast creation and promotion; paid media and marketing; congressional engagement; impact analysis and market research. The position is also responsible for the management and professional development of three full-time staff members. The Director reports to CNAS’ Senior Vice President and is a member of the Center’s Development and External Relations department.


Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance CNAS’ brand identity; broaden awareness of CNAS programs, projects and initiatives; and increase the visibility of CNAS’ programs products and experts across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Create comprehensive communications plans in support of research projects that includes the full array of public affairs activities, including traditional media, digital media, events – both public and private, congressional engagement and donor communications.
  • Work closely in conjunction with the Development team to create strategies and materials designed to promote CNAS partnership and individual giving opportunities.
  • Oversee the preparation of communication materials for CNAS board of directors meetings, using key metrics and anecdotes to reflect the impact CNAS has had in the news media, with Congress and with the broader public.
  • Mentor and develop communications staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis.
  • Develop departmental budgets and ensure expenses remain consistent with planned costs.

Media Relations. Working closely with CNAS’ Media Relations coordinator:

• Develop and sustain relationships with journalists, producers, and op-ed editors.

• Oversee the production and distribution of press releases, press notes, and media advisories for CNAS reports, announcements, and reaction to major news events.

• Help to publish op-eds written by CNAS experts.

• Act as the organization’s primary spokesperson to the news media and lead press conferences with CNAS research experts.

• Provide and arrange for media training for CNAS experts and staff.

Digital Media Engagement. Working closely with CNAS’ Digital Media manager:

• Develop and carry out a digital media strategy for CNAS content and the CNAS brand to increase organizational relevance to existing audiences and visibility with new audiences.

• Develop strategies for promoting new media, including using in-house created video, podcasts, and graphics to communicate research products.

• Drive social media strategies that are proven through testing and metrics; use analytics to identify trends, assess data, and enhance content performance and traffic.

• Direct and oversee paid digital media efforts.

• Provide oversight of, and direction for, CNAS Website content and contractual relationships with website and email marketing vendors.

• Work closely with the Center's development and publication teams to project a consistent organizational brand and drive potential leads with prospective partners.

Event Activities, Congressional Engagement, and other External Partnerships

• Working closely with CNAS’ Event manager, oversee the execution of CNAS events; lead the efforts for key public events including the organization’s annual national security conference and defense forum.

• Serve as a primary point of contact for key external partners, including CNAS’ media partnership with the Washington Post and 21st Century Fox and its National Security film series.

• Actively promote opportunities for CNAS experts to testify and brief Congressional committees and staff; author and publish CNAS’ biweekly Congressional newsletter.

• Create and implement a Congressional engagement plan with relevant Hill committees and offices, promoting selected publications, events, trip reports, and issue briefings.


• A Bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in journalism, communications, public relations, marketing or related field.

• A minimum of 10 years of communications-related experience. Knowledge of the national security, defense and foreign policy community is preferred but not required.

• Exceptional written, oral and interpersonal skills.

• Extensive successful writing and editing experience with a variety of print and social media communications.

• Demonstrated experience and leadership in developing, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive strategic communications, media relations, and marketing program to advance the goals of a mission-driven organization.

• Familiarity with Congressional relations is preferred but not required.

• Results-oriented work ethic, with demonstrated ability to engage in collaborative problem solving.

• Flexibility in schedule to work occasional evening events and weekends in accordance with the news cycle or major organizational events.

• An understanding of the news cycle and what is newsworthy. Must possess a sophisticated working knowledge of news media personalities and news outlets.

About CNAS

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) develops bold, innovative, and bipartisan national security and defense policies that promote and protect American interests and values. 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 and elevate the national security debate. As an independent and bipartisan research institution, CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow. CNAS is located in Washington, D.C., and was established in February 2007.

To Apply

CNAS is accepting online applications only. 

Online applications will be accepted at:

Your complete application must include a cover letter explaining why you are interested in and qualified for this job and a resume or CV.

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