July 12, 2018

CNAS Welcomes Kayla Williams as Director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program

By Madeline Christian

Washington, DC July 12, 2018 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to announce today that Kayla M. Williams is joining CNAS as the new Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program. Williams comes to the Center from the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she served for two years as the Director of the Center for Women Veterans. 

While at the VA, Williams was the primary adviser to the secretary on department policies, programs and legislation affecting women veterans. Earlier in her career, she worked at the RAND Corporation conducting research related to service member and veteran health needs and benefits, international security, and intelligence policy.

As the newest CNAS program director, Williams joins a team of top experts from across the foreign policy and national security community including CNAS Senior Counselor for Defense and former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Robert O. Work. She will lead a research program focused on addressing issues facing America’s service members, veterans, and military families, including the future of the All-Volunteer Force, trends within the veteran community, and civil-military relations.

“Former Army Sergeant Kayla Williams brings passion, personal experience and fresh policy ideas to her new role at the Center,” said CNAS CEO Victoria Nuland. “Her strong track record of policy support for our military service members and their families, including national acclaim for her advocacy for women veterans, make her the perfect leader for the MVS program.”

Williams is the author of two books: a memoir about her deployment to Iraq, Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army, and a second about her family's journey from war trauma to healing, Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War.

She graduated cum laude with a BA in English Literature from Bowling Green State University and earned an MA in International Affairs with a focus on the Middle East from American University. 

Williams is a former member of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, a 2013 White House Woman Veteran Champion of Change, and a 2015 Lincoln Award recipient.

To reach Williams or for more information on CNAS, please contact Madeline Christian at mchristian@cnas.org or 202-457-9400.


  • Madeline Christian