Senior Fellow, Defense Program

Full Time

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seeks to hire a Senior Fellow for its Defense program. This individual will be responsible for contributing highest-quality research and analysis to the Center’s work, both as part of the Defense Program’s broader agenda and in their own work. This individual should bring a combination of high ability; an acute strategic mind; analytical rigor and writing ability; depth and experience in operational, military-technical, and force development topic areas; and depth and experience in wargaming.

The CNAS Defense program focuses on figuring out how to restore the U.S. military’s competitive edge in a world increasingly defined by great power competition. The CNAS Defense team aims to be at the forefront of the debate about the future of U.S. defense strategy and the size, shape, roles, composition, and purposes of the nation’s armed forces. CNAS seeks to do so by producing top-quality and innovative work on operational concepts, emerging technologies, and changes to force structure, posture, and capabilities.


The following is an overview of primary responsibilities. Other tasks may be required, and responsibilities will vary over time.

  • Research and Analysis
    • Conduct original research and analysis to advance understanding and improve public policy related to U.S. defense strategy, planning, posture, acquisition, and budget. Leverage expertise on operational concepts, wargaming, and understanding of military forces and dynamics to contribute to work.
    • Write and publish high quality, rigorously developed reports, policy analyses, articles, op-eds, and other written products related to core program themes and other CNAS research priorities.
    • Engage outside experts to conduct research and analysis related to the program’s mission.
    • Collaborate with other CNAS research programs.
  • Wargaming and Tabletop Exercises
    • Design, lead, and manage to successful completion wargames and tabletop exercises in ways that contribute to Center’s research agenda.
  • Outreach
    • Serve as an expert commentator in the media and engage in public outreach through social media, public speaking and other outlets.
    • Lead and/or participate in events, including working groups, panel discussions, roundtables and task force meetings.
    • Conduct consultative meetings and outreach to senior executive branch officials, military officers, thought leaders, members of Congress, and staff.
    • Engage key constituency groups and organizations; understanding of Congress, the defense industry, and/or relevant foreign defense strategies and capabilities is desirable.
  • Institutional Responsibilities
    • Participate in interviewing job candidates and other personnel processes.
    • Attend internal meetings and represent CNAS at outside events.
    • Mentor colleagues, both formally and informally.
    • Provide feedback and critiques to colleagues.
    • Participate in networking, messaging, and outreach.
    • Staff CNAS activities as needed.

Background Qualifications

  • Demonstrated rigorous and innovative thinker on the future of U.S. defense strategy and forces.
  • Demonstrated success in innovative, ideas-driven research and writing, and a strong publication history on defense issues.
  • Demonstrated experience and expertise in defense and established networks in the field.
  • Experience with military and Defense Department organizations, operations, and research resources.
  • Demonstrated experience in participating and designing wargames and tabletop exercises.
  • Project management experience and a demonstrated ability to develop and carry out a work plan is strongly preferred.
  • Ability to train, supervise, support, and work well with others.
  • Required personal attributes include:
    • Visionary, creative strategic and military-operational analyst and writer.
    • Initiative and energy to drive and shape an ambitious research agenda and marshal resources to support program objectives.
    • Ability to communicate effectively with elected, appointed, and military officials, donors and other colleagues and associates, and steward those relationships with integrity and good judgment.
    • Ability to prioritize and handle numerous projects simultaneously, and delegate where appropriate.
  • Legal right to work in the United States.

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.

To Apply

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

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

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