Make Room

A diverse and inclusive national security workforce is both a strategic and moral imperative. Greater diversity among national security professionals will lead to better national security policymaking, which is at the very core of CNAS’ mission and the foundation of the Make Room initiative.

Make Room is an inclusive, multifaceted community where the inherent value of all people is recognized and celebrated and where those underrepresented in the national security field are empowered and equipped to pursue and develop their professional goals and leadership skills. Founded in 2020 and run by junior members of the CNAS staff, Make Room is committed to building a diverse network of national security professionals across the national security space—on the Hill, in the Situation Room, at think tanks, and outside the Beltway. We seek to achieve this goal through networking and connectivity opportunities, study sessions with seasoned national security leaders, and an online mentoring network.

Make Room is always seeking college students, recent graduates, and early career professionals interested in joining a group of passionate peers and in strengthening their skillset in the national security field. There are no cost nor prerequisites to join, and programming is currently being held virtually until further notice.

If you are interested in learning more about, or participating in, Make Room, contact

How to Get Involved

Study Series

The Study Series strives to create an adaptive curriculum conducive to building diversity in the national security community. These interactive study sessions will focus on functional skills development and substantive learning, and feature speakers from various industries and sectors, political affiliations, and levels of seniority. Functionally, the series covers topics including but not limited to polling, staffer skills, op-ed writing, book writing, and wargaming. Substantively, the series covers topics including but not limited to civil-military relations, the inter-agency process, presidential transitions, role of governors in foreign policy, and regional affairs.

Mentoring Network

The mentoring network aims to level the playing field for underrepresented populations and to give them the tools to open doors and succeed in the national security field. The mentoring network connects peers in the Make Room community to specific offerings—from informational interviews to op-ed writing or editing to job openings—provided by volunteer mentors. To join, create an account on the CNAS Make Room Mentoring Network platform (hosted by AlumniFire). To learn more, see our answers to frequently asked questions here, or email

Monthly Newsletter

Through keeping the community updated on events and spotlighting the work of peers, Make Room’s monthly newsletter fosters continued community engagement, develops and builds a network of diverse peers, and showcases the principles of the initiative. The newsletter’s feature, Around the Table, highlights diverse voices in the community—each month the Make Room team interviews a peer on their area of expertise and personal experience.

And More

Make Room is a key element of CNAS’ commitment to elevating the next generation of U.S. national security leaders. Other CNAS efforts include The Pitch competition, the Shawn Brimley Next Generation Leaders Fellowship, the 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr. Award, the Robert M. Gates and Leon E. Panetta Fellowships, and the Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Internship Program. Research Programs across the Center collaborate on advocating for great diversity and younger voices in their research and the national security field overall.

Join the Make Room Mission: support our goal of creating a more diverse and inclusive national security workforce.

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