Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Research Interns work directly with one or more of CNAS’ core research programs: Technology and National Security; Middle East Security; Transatlantic Security; Energy, Economics and Security; Military, Veterans, and Society; Defense Strategies and Assessments; and Asia-Pacific Security. Applicants should familiarize themselves with each program’s research agenda through information available on CNAS’ website. Your cover letter should also, in addition to outlining your qualifications, explain which research areas most interest you and why. We will do our best to pair selected interns with projects of their interest.
CNAS offers only full-time research internships. Interns are compensated with a modest stipend of $1,500 a month intended to help cover the cost of transportation and other daily expenses incurred during the internship. Interns work closely with CNAS staff and are given considerable responsibility. Participants are chosen based on merit in an open, competitive process. All qualified applicants are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin.
Research Program Descriptions
The Middle East Security Intern will support the Middle East Security (MES) program in conducting cutting-edge research on the most pressing issues in this turbulent region. The program focuses on the sources of instability in the region, maintaining key US strategic partnerships, and generating solutions that help policymakers respond to both fast-moving events and long-term trends. MES is seeking intern candidates that demonstrate a strong analytical ability, have significant in-region experience, and maintain a deep appreciation for the complexity of the Middle East. Research skills in a regional language such as Arabic, Farsi, or Hebrew is a plus, but not required. Target start date: March 2018
The Transatlantic Security program studies the international order, U.S. grand strategy, and the American national security policymaking process. The program also houses CNAS' work on Europe, NATO, and Russia. Interns work with Senior Fellow and Program Director Julianne Smith and the program's Research Associate to carry out the work of the program. Duties include research and some initial drafting of written products, helping with event coordination and some other administrative tasks, and compiling background briefings for Ms. Smith. Interns for the program are also expected to complete a written product under their byline during their time with the program. Ideal candidates will have a knowledge of the literature on U.S. grand strategy and at least a willingness to learn about Europe, NATO, and Russia issues. They will also be crack writers who can simultaneously handle a moderately high flow of program management tasks. Target start date: July 2018
The Military, Veterans, and Society program focuses on the human capital that drives our national security apparatus, from issues facing veterans to reforming the military personnel system. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in research and writing, as well as experience doing detail-oriented work. Individuals with a background in quantitative analysis are preferred, but not required. Target start date: July 2018
The Defense Strategies and Assessments (DSA) program focuses on the strategic choices and opportunities available to preserve and extend U.S. military advantage in the face of evolving security challenges. From assessing the past, present, and future security environments to exploring alternative operating concepts, force structures, and basing options through innovative scenarios and wargames, the DSA program aims to be a leading voice in the debate over U.S. defense strategy and spending. Working closely with the DSA program, the 20YY Future of Warfare Initiative examines how rapid advances in robotics, autonomy, networking, and computer processing will shape the future of warfare. The 20YY Initiative explores the impact of these and other emerging technologies on future concepts of operation, policy, and strategy. Target start date: July 2018
The Asia-Pacific Security Program seeks to inform the exercise of U.S. power and leadership in the Asia-Pacific region through a wide variety of research, publications, and activities, including dialogues with officials, public events, and expert working groups. The Program’s research agenda focuses on such issues as how the United States can rebalance its strategic priorities and resources over time to shape the region to account for China’s rise and how to refashion traditional alliances, build new partnerships, and strengthen multilateral institutions. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated interest in the region, experience doing detail-oriented work on tight deadlines, and be strong writers. Interns will be called upon to assist in research efforts, support events convening top experts in the field, and take advantage of opportunities to write under their own bylines. Target start date: July 2018
The Technology and National Security Program examines the opportunities and challenges to U.S. national security presented by the rapid pace of technological change and proliferation of advanced technology. Effective innovation will be the key factor in determining whether national security institutions benefit or suffer from these trends. The program’s research agenda is designed to develop practical ideas that help leaders in government and industry maintain the United States’ technological advantages. Areas of focus include examining trends and national security applications of specific technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning, defining the components of a modern strategy for dealing with digital disinformation, and exploring methods for improving connectivity and collaboration between technology and policy communities. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated interest in the intersection of technology and national security and will be adept at translating technical concepts and details to a policy audience. Research interns must exhibit strong verbal and written communication skills and will be self-motivated, detail oriented, and able to operate independently and as part of a small team. Primary responsibilities include administrative and substantive work in support of ongoing projects and can range from event planning and background research to collaborative writing of major reports. Technical backgrounds are valued but not required. Target start date: July 2018
The Energy, Economics, and Security Intern will support the Energy, Economics, and Security (EES) team in analyzing the implications of a changing global energy landscape, and the opportunities and challenges it presents for national security. The program develops practical strategies to help decision makers understand, anticipate and respond to the geopolitical implications of shifting energy dynamics and the role of a changing natural environment in shaping future security considerations. EES also studies the present and future challenges associated with the use of coercive tools of economic statecraft, including sanctions, as these measures become more frequent in their use and an indispensable component of the national security toolkit. The team explores these concepts through workshops, public engagements, high-level meetings and publications. Ideal candidates will have strong verbal and written communication skills, familiarity with energy markets, economics and data analysis, be self-motivated, detail-oriented and able to operate with minimal supervision. Target start date: September 2018
CNAS develops bold, bipartisan, and pragmatic national security and defense policies. Building on the expertise and experience of its staff and advisors, CNAS engages policymakers, experts and the public with innovative, fact-based research, ideas and analysis to shape and elevate the national security debate. A key part of the Center’s mission is to inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.
The Center’s board members include notable statesmen and women, business executives, and senior military leaders. The Center is organized around seven research programs: Transatlantic Security; Technology and National Security; Energy, Economics and Security; Military, Veterans, and Society; Defense Strategies and Assessments; Asia-Pacific Security; and Middle East Security. The Center enjoys the support of more than 100 donors who contribute to the organization’s $7.5 million annual operating budget.