The Pitch 2023: A Competition of New Ideas

Congratulations to Anna Blue, Best in Show

On June 8, CNAS hosted the Grand Finale of The Pitch during the CNAS 2023 National Security Conference. Finalists from the first round presented their pitches to a panel of judges that included, Michèle Flournoy, Richard Fontaine, Suzanne Kianpour, and Emily Kilcrease. Katherine Kuzminski hosted the event. The People's Choice Award and Best in Show winner was Anna Blue, for her pitch to invest urgently in robotics technology capable of mining metals from asteroids.

Watch the Grand Finale:

2023 Winning Commentary:

A Sci-Fi Concept That Should Become Reality: Asteroid Mining Is Essential for the Future of U.S. National Security

For many Americans, it seems difficult to imagine a world in which the United States sources its lithium and cobalt from an asteroid thousands of miles from Earth rather than ...

Power of the People: Harnessing the Nation’s Human Capital through Remote Work

People power is the core of U.S. national security. From the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the President’s Management Agenda to the CHIPS and Science Act, the federal go...

Strengthening the DoD’s Innovation Ecosystem through Structured Collaboration across Service Branches

Because emerging defense technology is being applied in critical ways across the globe, the United States needs to consistently invest in and scale the capabilities that would...

For the fourth year, CNAS hosted the first round of its premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security, The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas. Thirteen selected applicants made their pitch for innovative policy ideas to meet new challenges in U.S. national security policy in front of a distinguished panel of judges and a live virtual audience on Wednesday, April 26.

The judges of the first round included Mycal Ford, a sanctions and financial crimes professional and the winner of best in show at The Pitch 2022; Carisa Nietsche, Associate Fellow in the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS; Alexandra Seymour, Associate Fellow in the Technology and Security Program at CNAS; and Becca Wasser, Senior Fellow in the Defense Program at CNAS.

Three finalists are moving on to compete in person at the grand finale during the 2023 CNAS National Security Conference. Sam Pandey won the Military Modernization heat. Jennifer Lee won the Institutions and People Power heat. Anna Blue won the Technology and National Security heat, as well as the people's choice award.

The following finalists made their pitches during the first round:


Jordan Sun is the vice president of product at Softbank Robotics America

Sam Pandey is an innovation officer with the 75th Innovation Command, U.S. Army Reserves

Mike Tiernan is a master’s candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Imran Bayoumi is an assistant director at the Atlantic Council


Edyt Dickstein is an intelligence officer at the Department of Defense

Jennifer Lee is an associate at the Scowcroft Group

Jolie Grace Wareham is the chair and founder of the Tennessee Democratic Party Cyber Safety Committee and a higher education professional.

Silvia Pera is a psychology doctorate student at the Wright Institute


Jacob Finn is an intelligence analyst for the Cisco Talos Intelligence Group

Kevin Klyman is a research analyst at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Emma Robinson is a dual MBA/MA in international studies candidate at Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute

Andrew Olson is an associate research analyst for the Center for Naval Analyses

Anna Blue is an MPA candidate at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs and a social impact fellow at the Responsible AI Institute

If you have any questions about The Pitch, please email

Watch the first round of the 2023 competition:

2022 Winning Commentary

Institutionalizing Climate Diplomacy in the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service

This commentary piece is part of CNAS' The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas. The author, Jacqueline White Menchaca, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2022 competition. The...

Intelligence Agencies as Truth-Telling Internet Informers?

This commentary piece is part of CNAS' The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas. The author, William Coffin, won the Safeguarding Against Threats to Democracy heat at the 2022 co...