January 09, 2018

CNAS Names Victoria Nuland, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, as CEO; Robert O. Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Rejoins CNAS as Senior Defense Counselor

Washington, January 9 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Board of Directors has selected Victoria Nuland, the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, as the Center’s new Chief Executive Officer. In addition, Robert O. Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and former CNAS CEO, will rejoin CNAS as Senior Counselor for Defense.

As CEO, Ambassador Nuland will lead CNAS’ efforts to develop bold, innovative, and bipartisan solutions to the most pressing national security and defense issues. She succeeds Michèle Flournoy, who will join the Center’s board of directors and co-direct CNAS’ Next Generation National Security Leaders Fellowship. She will work with Richard Fontaine, who remains the organization’s president.

“The board undertook an exhaustive search for CNAS’ new chief executive, and we were unanimous in our support for Toria,” said CNAS Board of Directors Chairman Kurt Campbell. “She has big ideas, a record of leadership, and a wealth of policy experience at the highest levels. The team of Toria Nuland, Richard Fontaine, Bob Work, Michèle Flournoy, David Romley, and others at CNAS is a potent combination that will drive the Center forward.”

“I am honored to join CNAS at this vital time,” said Nuland. “For over a decade, the Center has excelled in offering pragmatic, bipartisan solutions to our nation’s most pressing national security and defense challenges. Those are needed more than ever today. As CEO, I look forward to working with the men and women of CNAS and leaders across the national security community to advance the best ideas and the strongest public consensus for principled American leadership in the world.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), a member of the CNAS Board of Directors, echoed Campbell’s sentiment. “I have known Toria Nuland and her family from New Haven for a long time and watched her remarkable service to our country in administrations of both parties with great pride. She is one of the best foreign and defense policy experts of her generation, and will provide CNAS with the strong, smart, and balanced leadership that will allow our organization to continue its upward trajectory.”

Another member of the CNAS Board of Directors, former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, also had praise for Nuland. “Toria has the deftness of a diplomat, the will of a warrior, and the insight of an intellectual. She will supercharge the qualities of CNAS and add a lot to debates about our national security.”

Secretary Work will help advise CNAS’ defense studies, produce analyses related to the future of warfare, and lead signature CNAS initiatives including the Artificial Intelligence Task Force and the Evolving the Future Force Initiative. 

“I’m thrilled to welcome Toria to CNAS and to have Bob in residence with us,” said CNAS President Richard Fontaine. “For over a decade, CNAS has been a go-to resource for policymakers, Members of Congress, industry, the military, and journalists. These key audiences trust that we will provide pragmatic and principled solutions to the toughest national security challenges. Toria and Bob carry on this proud tradition, and at a moment when the debate over America’s role in the world has scarcely been more contested.”

A U.S. diplomat for over 30 years, Ambassador Nuland served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, State Department Spokesperson, Ambassador to NATO and Special Envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. She was also Principal Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor to the Vice President, and taught at the National War College. In addition to two tours at NATO, she served overseas in Russia, China, and Mongolia. After retiring from the Foreign Service, she joined the Albright Stonebridge Group as a Senior Counselor, and served as non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Strategic Advisor to the Boston Consulting Group, and distinguished practitioner in Yale University’s Grand Strategy program.

Mr. Work served as Deputy Secretary across three Secretaries of Defense in both the Obama and Trump administrations. He was previously CEO of CNAS and Undersecretary of the Navy.

For more information, please contact David Romley at dromley@cnas.org or call 202-457-9403.


  • Victoria Nuland

  • Robert O. Work

    Senior Counselor for Defense and Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security

    Secretary Robert O. Work is the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Defense and National Security at the Center for a New American Security and the owner of TeamWork, LLC, which s...