February 21, 2019

CNAS Names Richard Fontaine as CEO

Washington, February 21, 2019 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Board of Directors has selected Richard Fontaine, president of CNAS and former foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain, as the Center’s new Chief Executive Officer.

As CEO, Fontaine will lead CNAS’ efforts to develop bold, innovative, and bipartisan solutions to the most pressing national security and defense issues. Fontaine joined the Center in 2009 and has served as president since 2012.

“Richard enjoys broad and deep support across every element of the Center,” said CNAS Board of Directors Chairman Kurt Campbell, “from the board to the research programs to the staff. He has a demonstrated record of achievement in the executive branch, on Capitol Hill and at CNAS, where he has served for more than nine years. He is well prepared and deeply qualified to take on this new role.”

“It’s an honor to lead the Center as CEO and to build on the remarkable record left by my predecessors,” said Fontaine. “At CNAS we offer pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to the country’s foremost national security challenges. Our team of experts is creative and bold, and their work has never been more important. Today the debate over America’s role in the world is vigorous, and CNAS will be at the forefront of envisioning American leadership for a new era.”

Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a member of the CNAS Board, also had praise for Fontaine. “Richard is the consummate foreign policy expert. He is knowledgeable, experienced, and principled, and we are confident that he will continue to elevate the key debates around U.S. national security as CEO.”

Michèle Flournoy, another member of the CNAS Board of Directors, echoed Armitage’s sentiment. “I have worked alongside Richard for many years and watched his extraordinary service to our country and CNAS with admiration. He is one of the sharpest foreign and defense policy leaders of this generation, and will guide the Center with strong, smart, and balanced leadership that will allow our organization to continue its upward trajectory.”

Fontaine has served as President of CNAS since 2012 and as a senior fellow from 2009-2012. Prior to joining the Center, he was foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain for more than five years, including during the 2008 presidential campaign and, following the election, served as the minority deputy staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Fontaine also served as associate director for Near Eastern affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) and in the NSC’s Asia directorate. At the State Department, he worked in the office of the Deputy Secretary and bureau of South Asian affairs. He began his foreign policy career as a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. A native of New Orleans, Fontaine graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Tulane University. He also holds a M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, and he attended Oxford University.

To reach Fontaine or for more information on CNAS, please contact Cole Stevens at cstevens@cnas.org or 202-695-8166.

# # #