September 17, 2020

CNAS Selects Kaleigh Thomas as 2020 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich, Jr., USA Award Recipient

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to announce that Kaleigh Thomas, Research Associate for the CNAS Middle East Security Program, has been selected as the 2020 Bacevich Award recipient. The Bacevich Award was established in June 2007 in honor and memory of 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich Jr., USA, of Walpole, Mass., who died from wounds suffered during combat patrol operations as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bacevich Award recipients are selected annually and are awarded to emerging leaders who exemplify courage, integrity, and commitment to public service.

“We at CNAS have been honored to recognize top rising stars with the annual Bacevich Award,” said Richard Fontaine, CNAS CEO. “Kaleigh Thomas combines the kind of intellectual promise, integrity and commitment to the public good so exemplified by 1LT Bacevich. We are delighted to name Kaleigh the Center's 2020 awardee and watch her continue to thrive."

1LT Bacevich, age 27, was the son of Dr. Andrew J. Bacevich – a Vietnam veteran and prominent professor of international relations at Boston University – and was with the U.S. Army’s 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas. 1LT Bacevich was a brave, steadfast, and irrepressible leader who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. In his name, this award celebrates and commemorates the sense of duty, honor, and courage for which he is remembered.

Dr. Andrew J. Bacevich, Sr. said, "My wife and I remain immensely grateful to CNAS for remembering our son in this way. Having had a chance to chat with Kaleigh, I feel certain that she will continue the tradition of past Bacevich Fellows in contributing to CNAS' important mission."

Kaleigh Thomas is the Research Associate for the CNAS Middle East Security Program, where her research centers on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran, Syria, and the economic tools used in United States’ Middle East strategy. She is also the co-founder and Director of the CNAS Make Room initiative, which aims to empower communities underrepresented in national security, educate the next generation of leaders, and provide a platform to share their expert perspectives. Ms. Thomas was selected as this year’s award recipient for her intellectual contributions and bold leadership both inside and beyond CNAS. The Center is proud to name her as the 2020 Bacevich Awardee.

To view the award ceremony and Ms. Thomas’ acceptance remarks, please join CNAS for the virtual event “Toward a Sustainable U.S. Defense Strategy for the Middle East” on Tuesday, September 22 from 2:00pm – 3:15pm EDT. Register here.

For more information or to request an interview with Ms. Thomas, contact Cole Stevens at or call 202-695-8166.