Research Assistant/Research Associate

Full Time

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seeks to hire a Research Assistant / Research Associate to support the Executive Team. This position requires strong verbal and written communication skills and impeccable attention to detail. Candidates should have experience performing background research, using a variety of sources, strong writing skills, and a demonstrated interest in researching and analyzing national security, foreign policy and defense issues.

This position may be hired at the Research Assistant or the Research Associate level, and the core responsibilities will be consistent across the two position types. The Research Associate is expected to perform the job functions with greater autonomy and have demonstrated the judgment and competence to do so. To be competitive for a Research Associate position, prior full-time work experience is required.


The employee will be expected to perform a variety of tasks outlined below. Other tasks may be required, and responsibilities will vary over time.


  • Perform research and analysis on a range of national security policy issues to support the Executive Team, including current events and history of U.S. foreign policy decision-making.
  • Conduct literature reviews and in-depth research.
  • Maintain knowledge of developments in relevant policy areas.
  • Find sources and assist with citations.
  • Identify new areas for further research and analysis.
  • Organize and execute roundtables, workshops, and interviews.
  • Perform research and offer recommendations through written and verbal forms such as op-eds, public events, and engagement with journalists.
  • Travel for in-person research engagements as needed.


  • Draft background research memos to support Executive Team projects.
  • Draft project and event descriptions for external-facing materials such as the CNAS website.
  • Co-author/author CNAS papers and reports on a broad range of policy topics.
  • Publish op-eds, journal articles, or short analyses, such as commentaries, in external outlets.


  • Edit CNAS papers and reports for substance, style, and layout.
  • Manage project publication schedules and deadlines.
  • Coordinate with outside authors.
  • Collaborate with Center staff to develop compelling graphics and data visualizations.
  • Help promote research among target audiences.


  • Draft project proposals and grant applications with supervision from senior staff.
  • Develop and manage project timelines, tasks, and budgets.
  • Manage project communications such as webpages, email campaigns, and official social media.
  • Research and build familiarity with potential funders.
  • Manage contacts lists and support donor engagement.
  • Write interim and final grant reports.
  • Engage with donors and sponsors.


  • Formulate event agendas including themes and speakers.
  • Draft and send invitations and external-facing event descriptions.
  • Manage program contact lists.
  • Manage RSVP lists.
  • Oversee event logistics, such as venues, catering, etc., in conjunction with Center staff.
  • Execute event communications plans using Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Coordinate with external speakers and their staffs.
  • Manage event budgets.


  • Schedule meetings and events.
  • Create meeting agendas, take notes, and track associated tasks.
  • Arrange business travel and accommodations.
  • Compile expense reports.
  • Maintain websites and content for projects.


  • Participate in interviews and other personnel processes.
  • Attend internal meetings and represent CNAS at outside events.
  • Mentor colleagues.
  • Assist in networking, messaging, and outreach about CNAS and its products and activities.
  • Attend and staff CNAS events and activities as needed.



  • Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Demonstrated interest in researching, analyzing, and writing on foreign policy and national security issues.
  • Exceptional organizational skills, uncompromising attention to detail, and initiative.
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced and fluid environment.
  • Willingness to support the Center through administrative work.
  • Strong writing skills, including good grammar and diligent self-editing and fact checking.
  • Good judgment, especially regarding the quality of data and competing information sources.
  • General familiarity with national security terms and research resources.
  • Strong multitasking and time management skills, as well as an ability to juggle multiple projects and competing priorities.
  • Willingness to maintain confidentiality.
  • Computer competency including, but not limited to, Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), Slack, and Zoom.
  • Legal right to work in the United States.

Additional qualifications for consideration:

  • Master’s degree in a relevant area of study (e.g., international relations, political science, security studies).
  • Foreign language skills in relevant geographic areas (primarily Europe or Asia).
  • Experience researching, analyzing, and writing on foreign policy and national security.
  • Two to five years of work experience (required for Research Associate applicants).


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.

All CNAS employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have an approved medical or religious reason not to do so. Prospective employees are required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination as part of the onboarding process or receive advance approval from CNAS for a recognized exception.

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


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. Writing samples may be requested.