September 14, 2009

Longtime McCain Advisor Richard Fontaine Joins CNAS

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to announce that Richard Fontaine joins CNAS today as a Senior Fellow. Fontaine previously served as Deputy Minority Staff Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee and foreign policy advisor to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Fontaine is known as a leading expert on foreign policy and national security matters.  He advised Sen. McCain on all aspects of international policy, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and served as McCain's key advisor on detainee issues.  In this capacity, he negotiated key provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006.  He was involved in an array of other initiatives, including the writing of the 9/11 Commission Report Implementation Act and the ADVANCE Democracy Act, and spent the bulk of 2008 serving as foreign policy advisor on the McCain 2008 presidential campaign.  
"Richard's expertise and leadership is highly respected throughout Washington and on both sides of the aisle," said CNAS Vice President and Director of Studies Kristin Lord. "We are delighted to welcome him to the CNAS team." 
Fontaine's work at CNAS will focus on foreign policy and national security matters, including CNAS projects on U.S. policy toward Iraq, Afghanistan, India, and East Asia.  Fontaine will also work on CNAS projects related to the State Department's planned Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.   

Fontaine has served as the foreign policy advisor to Sen. McCain since 2004, and as foreign policy advisor to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign.  Previously, Fontaine served as Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs on the National Security Council (NSC) staff and as a policy analyst in the NSC's Asian Affairs Directorate.  He worked at the State Department in the office of former Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage and in the Department's South Asia bureau. He has previously served as the Legislative Assistant responsible for Middle East and South Asian affairs on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff and has worked in Japan.

For all press inquiries, contact External Relations Director Shannon O'Reilly at 202.457.9408 or [email protected]


  • Richard Fontaine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of CNAS. He served as President of CNAS from 2012–19 and as Senior Fellow from 2009–12. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy ad...