April 26, 2018

CNAS Welcomes Ely Ratner as Vice President and Director of Studies and Shawn Turner as Director of Communication

By Shawn Turner, and Ely Ratner

Washington, D.C. April 26 2018 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to announce today that Ely Ratner has joined the Center as the new Vice President and Director of Studies. Ratner served from 2015 to 2017 as the Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, and from 2011 to 2012 in the office of Chinese and Mongolian affairs at the State Department. He also previously worked in the U.S. Senate as a professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in the office of Senator Joe Biden. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Ely back to the Center,” said CNAS CEO Victoria Nuland. “At the State Department, in the Office of the Vice President and as Deputy Director of our Asia-Pacific Security Program, he distinguished himself as an innovative thinker and leader.  He'll now bring his energy and talent to our research program and our executive team, and help ensure that the Center’s experts and analysis continue to shape and elevate the national security and foreign policy debate.”

As the newest member of the Center’s executive team, Ratner will be responsible for managing the Center’s research agenda, publications, and research staff. He comes to CNAS from the Council on Foreign Relations where he was the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China studies. Ratner has testified before Congress and published widely on U.S.-China relations and U.S. national security strategy in Asia.

Ratner received his B.A. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Center is also pleased to announce that Shawn Turner has joined CNAS as the new Director of Communication. In government, Turner served as the Assistant Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) from 2009 to 2011. He moved on to become the Director of Communication for U.S. National Intelligence at the office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) from 2011 to 2014, and from 2014 to 2015 he served as Deputy White House Press Secretary for National Security.

“We’re very excited to have Shawn join the CNAS team, Nuland said. “I had the opportunity to work with him when he was the director of communication for the intelligence community.  He’s one of the best in the business when it comes to developing communication strategy and managing complex messaging challenges in the national security space. His communication leadership will help us ensure that the great work being done at the Center reaches key audiences and helps shape policy.”

Prior to coming to CNAS, Turner served as the Chair of the Information Operations Department at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security (DMGS). He is a retired Marine Corps officer with 21 years of service and is the co-author of “Best Practices in Risk Communication for National Defense” published in The Handbook of Science and Technology for Homeland Security. Turner is also a regular contributor on CNN where he provides expert commentary on issues related to national security, intelligence, and communication strategy.

Turner received his B.A. from Texas State University's and he earned his M.A. in Communication from George Mason University.

To reach Ratner or Turner or for more information on CNAS, please contact Madeline Christian at mchristian@cnas.org or 202-695-8166.


  • Shawn Turner

  • Ely Ratner

    Former Executive Vice President and Director of Studies

    Ely Ratner is the former Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where he was a member of the executive team and res...