Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Research Intern

· Washington, District of Columbia
Employment Type Intern
Compensation $1,500 per month

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Research Interns work directly with one or more of CNAS’ core research programs: Middle East Security; Transatlantic Security; Energy, Economics and Security; Military, Veterans, and Society; Defense; Asia-Pacific Security; and Technology and National 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

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, possess organization and time management skills, learn quickly, and are enthusiastic about researching U.S. policy toward the Middle East. Target start date: July 2020

The Technology and National Security program explores the policy challenges associated with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, digital freedom, ​and networking and social media. A key focus of the program is bringing together the technology and policy communities to better understand these challenges and together develop solutions. The intern will ​work with Program Director and Senior Fellow Paul Scharre, Senior Fellow Martijn Rasser, Associate Fellow Kara Frederick, and the team's research assistants to support ongoing efforts such as the AI Task Force, the Digital Freedom ​Forum, and the Securing our 5G Future initiative. Duties include ​administrative work in support of the ongoing projects, background research, event planning, and ​other administrative tasks. Standout candidates will have a track record of high-quality writing, research, organizational, and time management skills. The applicant must be a creative and motivated self-starter. Interns are encouraged to complete a written product, such as an op-ed, under their own byline during their 6-month internship. Target start date: July 2020

CNAS and its Defense Team are the nation’s premier think tank focused on the shift to great-power competition and what that means for the nation’s defense. The program’s research examines how U.S. military superiority is being eroded by China and Russia and how the U.S. defense enterprise must change to restore and sustain its military advantage. CNAS produces the most innovative, rigorous, and high-impact work designed to illuminate the way forward in these competitions and drive meaningful change in the U.S. defense enterprise. Ideal intern candidates will have a demonstrated interest of defense topics and exhibit strong verbal and written communication skills. Ideal applicants will be self-motivated, detail oriented, and able to operate independently and as part of a small team. Primary responsibilities include administrative work in support of ongoing projects and can range from event planning to background research for major reports. Target start date: July 2020

The Military, Veterans, and Society program focuses on identifying challenges and opportunities service members encounter throughout the lifecycle of military service from recruitment to transition back to civilian-life. It addresses issues facing service members, veterans, and military families. The program's research agenda focuses on toxic exposures, military spouse employment, and challenges facing minority veteran as well as civil-military relations and military recruitment. The intern will work with Senior Fellow and Program Director Kayla Williams and the program's Research Assistant to support ongoing research projects and hosting public and private events to engage subject matter experts and stakeholders. Interns are encouraged to develop original products and/or op-eds for publication. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in research and writing, as well as experience in excel and quantitative analysis. Target start date: September 2020


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: December 2020


The Transatlantic Security program’s research agenda focuses on threats to democracy in Europe and the United States, Russia, NATO and European security, and the future of Europe. The intern will work with Senior Fellow and Program Director Andrea Kendall-Taylor and the program's Research Assistant to support the program’s events, research, and activities. Ideal candidates will have an interest in the region, experience conducting detail-oriented work in a fast-paced environment, top-notch written and verbal communication skills, strong organizational and event planning skills, and will be a self-starter able to operate with minimal supervision. Strong preference will be given to candidates with previous experience balancing research tasks and a moderately high flow of program management tasks. Interns for the program are also expected to complete a written product under their byline during their time with the program. Target start date: December 2020 


The Energy, Economics, and Security Intern will support EES in its analysis of 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. EES studies the broad array of U.S. sanctions policies, with a specific geographic focus on measures against North Korea, Iran, and Russia and thematic emphasis on global illicit finance issues like countering terrorist financing and proliferation finance. The EES team also analyzes the implications of the escalating U.S-China economic competition and what economic tools are available to both sides. EES also looks at the 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, and 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. Strong preference will be given to candidates with previous work experience or significant coursework on the application of new financial technology (virtual currencies, distributed ledger technologies, and other digital innovations) to the future of U.S. economic primacy. Target start date: January 2021

About CNAS


The Center for a New American Security develops bold, innovative, and bipartisan national security and defense policies that promote and protect American interests and values. Building on the deep expertise and broad 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. As an independent and bipartisan research institution, CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.  CNAS is located in Washington, DC.


CNAS is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.


CNAS abides by all Federal and District of Columbia employment laws.

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  • Location
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Employment Type
  • Compensation
    $1,500 per month