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 strategy and activities, including traditional media and public relations; event management and promotion; and website and multimedia engagement. The position is also responsible for the management and professional development of four full-time staff members. The Director reports to CNAS’s Executive Vice President and collaborates closely with the executive leadership team and other senior researchers and staff.



  • Lead CNAS’s overall approach to advancing CNAS’s brand identity; broadening awareness of CNAS programs, projects, and initiatives; and increasing the visibility of CNAS’s research products and experts across key stakeholder audiences.
  • Define and create a prominent role for CNAS in its target communities and markets, and with its primary media channels.
  • Create and manage comprehensive communications plans in support of research projects that include the full array of public affairs activities, including traditional media, digital media, events (both public and private), congressional engagement, and donor communications.
  • Work closely with the Development team to create strategies and marketing materials designed to promote CNAS partnerships and individual giving.
  • 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.
  • Coordinate with issue-area experts and program directors to enhance the impact of their research.
  • Liaise and coordinate with publications, design, and research programs, effectively managing competing deadlines, enhancing overall impact, and ensuring seamless collaboration among multiple teams.
  • Lead in drafting comprehensive communications plans for programs at the outset of significant new efforts.
  • Create and develop CNAS’s strategy toward paid media.
  • Lead and expand CNAS’s evolving portfolio of media partnerships.


Working closely with the Communications Officer:

  • Develop and sustain relationships with journalists, producers, and op-ed editors at key domestic and international media outlets.
  • Establish CNAS experts as go-to media sources.
  • Oversee the production and distribution of press releases, press notes, and media advisories for CNAS reports, announcements, and reaction to major news events.
  • Help place op-eds written by CNAS experts.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for crisis communications and rapid response scenarios.
  • Provide and arrange for media training for CNAS experts and staff.
  • Lead efforts to rapidly respond to breaking developments around the world by inserting CNAS expert views in the news cycle when they’re most relevant.
  • Generate media partnerships to enhance the visibility of CNAS events and initiatives and coordinate the organization’s strategy toward media moderators and panelists.


Working closely with the Digital Communications Officer:

  • Ensure digital media strategy for CNAS content and branding meet larger strategic goals of the organization’s mission and outreach.
  • Develop strategies for promoting new media, including video, podcasts, and graphics to communicate research products.
  • Use analytics to identify trends, assess data, and enhance content performance and traffic.
  • Direct and oversee advertising 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.


Working closely with the Associate Director for Events:

  • Oversee the execution of CNAS events; lead the efforts for key public events including the organization’s annual national security conference.
  • Serve as a primary point of contact for key external partners.
  • Actively promote opportunities for CNAS experts to testify and brief Congressional committees and staff.
  • Create and implement a Congressional engagement plan with relevant Hill committees and offices, promoting selected publications, events, trip reports, and issue briefings.


  • A minimum of five years of communications-related experience.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in journalism, communications, public relations, marketing, or related field.
  • Sound judgment in evaluating tasks, recognizing essential actions versus non-essential ones, and confidently making decisions.
  • Knowledge of the national security, defense, and foreign policy community.
  • Exceptional written, oral and interpersonal skills, creativity and enthusiasm.
  • Demonstrated ability to professionally engage senior-level stakeholders (internal and external) and colleagues at all levels of the organization.
  • Extensive successful writing and editing experience.
  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in developing, implementing, and evaluating a comprehensive strategic communications plan, media relations, and marketing program to advance the goals of a mission-driven organization.
  • An understanding of the news cycle and what is newsworthy. Must possess a sophisticated working knowledge of news media personalities and news outlets.
  • 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.
  • Experience managing professionals with diverse portfolios.
  • Legal right to work in the United States.
  • Based in Washington, DC or willing to relocate upon job offer.


  • Extensive communications experience within the national security field.
  • Strong pre-existing relationships with the press (particularly Tier 1 outlets).
  • Experience with SEO and paid promotion strategies.
  • Experience managing small, flexible teams.

About CNAS

The Center for a New American Security 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 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization, CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow. CNAS is located in Washington, D.C.

CNAS is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

CNAS offers a complete and competitive benefits package for employees which includes medical, dental, vision, life and AD&D insurance, short and long term disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, 403(b) retirement accounts, transportation subsidies, and an employee assistance program.

CNAS abides by all Federal and District of Columbia employment laws.

To Apply

CNAS is accepting online applications only. Apply online using this link:

A complete application will include a cover letter explaining the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for the position, together with a résumé or CV. Additional application materials and professional references may be requested.