The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas
What is The Pitch?
The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) began its annual premier event in 2020 to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Students and early career professionals from across a variety of sectors submit innovative policy ideas to meet new challenges in U.S. national security policy. Selected applicants pitch their ideas in front of a distinguished panel of judges and live virtual audience at a session of the CNAS National Security Conference. Judges and the audience select heat winners, the audience choice winner, and best in show. Competitors will also have their ideas featured in official CNAS products and social media.
2023 Competition Information
Like last year, the Pitch will be split into two rounds. The first round will take place virtually on Wednesday, April 26, with winners from each category and a People’s Choice winner advancing to the grand finale. The winners of the first round will present their pitches in person at the grand finale during the 2023 CNAS National Security Conference, which will take place June 6–8. The exact date and time of the finale is to be determined.
During the first round of the competition, participants who win their heat, as well as the People’s Choice winner, will receive a $250 honorarium. Additionally, first-round winners who reside in the continental United States will have the opportunity to travel to and stay in Washington, D.C., paid for by CNAS, to compete in the Pitch finale during the annual conference and attend VIP conference sessions. The Best in Show winner, selected during the grand finale, will receive a $1,000 honorarium, as well as attendance at a CNAS Next Generation Program dinner of their choice.
In addition, the three heat winners and the People’s Choice winner will have the opportunity to contribute a written version (500–1000 words) of their pitch to a special CNAS commentary collection.
Applications for The Pitch 2023 are now closed.
Applicants must make their pitch for a new U.S. national security or foreign policy idea responding to one of the following prompts:
- Technology and National Security: What new ideas in U.S. technology policy (whether that’s financial technology, industrial policy, communications technology, defense technology, etc.) can address growing national security challenges for the United States and strengthen the safety and prosperity of the American people?
- Institutions and People Power: What specific reform to critical U.S. national security institutions (including structures, processes, and human capital) can improve their effectiveness and public confidence in the face of new challenges?
- Military Modernization: What new ideas, strategies, or reforms could the U.S. Department of Defense implement (across personnel, hardware, institutions, or processes) to better meet the challenges of the future?
To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be between 25 and 35 years old, as of June 6, 2023.
- Be available to present their pitch virtually at the first round on April 26, 2023, and in person on June 6–8 for the final round, should they be selected.
- Be one of the following:
- A U.S. citizen OR
- Enrolled in a U.S. educational institution OR
- Reside in the United States.
Complete applications include:
- A résumé
- A 280-character (including spaces) summary of your idea
- A 30-second video pitch of why your idea should be selected
- Please note that your application will be judged on the quality of your idea, not the video’s production quality. Videos do not need to be high quality and should be shot on a camera phone or comparable recorder. Please see our example videos from a past competition for reference.