Vice President and Director of Studies

Full Time

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seeks a Vice President and Director of Studies. The Director of Studies plays a vital role in accomplishing the Center’s mission to develop strong, principled and pragmatic national security and defense policy prescriptions for a wide audience of security experts, practitioners, and citizens; to contribute an informed voice to the bipartisan debate on defense and security issues; and to cultivate the next generation of national security leaders.

Together with the Deputy Director of Studies, this position is responsible for the management of all elements of CNAS’ research agenda and research staff. The Director of Studies helps to maintain a set of program areas and research products which address the most salient security challenges and issues of today and tomorrow. Presently, CNAS research is divided among seven programs: Asia-Pacific Security; Middle East Security; Transatlantic Security; Defense Strategies and Assessments; Military, Veterans and Society; Technology and National Security; and Energy, Economics and Security.

As Vice President, the holder of this position will be a member of the Center’s executive team and will be involved in setting CNAS’ strategic direction, contributing to fundraising efforts, matching research agendas to resources, and interacting with members of the Boards of Directors and Advisors. The position reports to CNAS’ Chief Executive Officer and to its President.


Manage Research Agenda and Staff

  • Develop, in partnership with other members of the executive team and research staff, a research agenda which continues to build CNAS’ reputation as a bold, innovative and bipartisan national security think tank focused on the most important current and emerging challenges.
  • Directly manage CNAS program directors and provide supervisory oversight of other research staff (including junior researchers and interns), and promote the professional development of CNAS’ research staff.
  • Manage, together with the Deputy Director of Studies, all elements of the publications process (e.g. peer review, quality control, management of the publications team and processes), and provide feedback and edits on CNAS research publications.
  • Continue to increase scope, quality, reach, accessibility and impact of CNAS research products and researcher engagement.
  • Oversee the research project proposal development, review and approval process.
  • Identify innovative research products which will expand the Center’s suite beyond the printed report (e.g., explainer videos, campaign sites, and other new creative products).
  • Work with the executive team, program directors and external relations team to monitor progress on, and impact of, research programs and CNAS-wide research agenda.

Serve on Center’s Executive Team

  • Work closely with the Center’s CEO, President and Senior Vice President to chart the direction of a bipartisan, dynamic, young organization which significantly influences the national security agenda of the United States.
  • Collaborate on fundraising efforts by envisioning and linking research ideas and agendas to funding sources.
  • Strengthen the Center’s relationships with the National Security Council, Department of Defense, Department of State, the military services, members of Congress and other national security institutions.
  • Envision and launch new programs and activities, and lead colleagues in the adoption of fresh research methodologies and new informational products to maintain the position of CNAS as an innovative thought leader and communicator on defense and national security policy.
  • Contribute to maintaining the unique collaborative and entrepreneurial organizational culture of the Center.
  • Identify and cultivate the talent of the next generation of security professionals.
  • Represent CNAS in conferences, meetings, the media and in written products.
  • Stay abreast of other projects, programs, activities and trends in the broader think tank and information environment.
  • Engage on other institutional priorities as appropriate, including but not limited to the Center’s employee evaluation system, project budgeting methods, etc.


The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree and significant time working in the U.S. government’s defense and national security sector. CNAS’s next VP and Director of Studies should be a thought leader, with experience creating ideas which have impact, whether in government, academia and/or the think tank sector. Candidates should demonstrate their abilities as an inspirational leader, effective manager, creative problem solver and team player, with exceptional written, oral and interpersonal skills, high ethical standards and sound judgment. S/he will have a demonstrated track record of innovative policy analysis, thought leadership in the national security community, experience leading a team, and good judgment. 

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. Writing samples may be requested.

Online applications will be accepted at:

For inquiries contact Ellen McHugh at

CNAS is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, veteran status, or other protected status, in accordance with federal, state and local law.