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 policies; elevate the bipartisan debate on defense and security issues; and train the next generation of national security leaders.

This position is responsible for the management of all elements of CNAS’ research agenda and research staff. The Director of Studies helps 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: Indo-Pacific Security; Middle East Security; Transatlantic Security; Defense; Energy, Economics, and Security; Military, Veterans, and Society; and Technology and National 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.


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

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 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.
  • Work with the executive team, program directors, and external relations team to monitor progress on, and impact of, research programs and the CNAS-wide research agenda.

Serve on Center's Executive Team

  • Work closely with the Center’s CEO and Vice President of Development 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.
  • 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 experience working in the U.S. government’s defense and national security sector. CNAS’ 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. He or she will have a demonstrated track record of innovative policy analysis, thought leadership in the national security community, experience leading a team, and good judgment. Candidates must have the legal right to work in the United States.

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 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 resume or CV. Writing samples may be requested.