The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) established its flagship internship and mentoring program in honor of Dr. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., who has devoted his career to the preparation and mentoring of generations of Americans and global strategists. The Joseph S. Nye, Jr. National Security Internship and Mentoring Program seeks to follow Dr. Nye’s leadership in this area by offering a rigorous internship program involving policy research, writing, exposure to national policy debates and decision makers, and professional development.
Interns work directly with one or more of CNAS’ research programs or departments: Communications, Defense, Development, Energy, Economics, and Security, Indo-Pacific Security, Middle East Security, Military, Veterans, and Society, Technology and National Security, and Transatlantic Security. Applicants should familiarize themselves with each department’s work through the descriptions below and information available on CNAS’ website. Your cover letter should, in addition to outlining your qualifications, explain which research areas or departments most interest you and why. Competition for the seven to ten spots is highly competitive. Interns work closely with CNAS staff and are given considerable responsibility.
CNAS offers full-time (40 hrs/week) internships for a six-month term. Interns are compensated with a modest stipend of $1,500 per month intended to help cover the cost of transportation and other daily expenses incurred during the internship. All interns still receive this stipend under the current virtual working environment.
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.
Communications: Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Communications Interns work directly with the Communications team, gaining experience in a range of activities including media relations and monitoring, multimedia support, event planning and execution, social media outreach, website administration, database management, writing marketing materials and press releases, copyediting, and external relations writ large.
Defense: The Defense Program’s research and wargaming capabilities examine how to sustain U.S. military superiority in competition with China and Russia, how to push DoD innovation, and the intricacies of military operations and institutional reform. 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 and assisting facilitation of wargames to background research for major reports.
Development: The development team works in support of the Center and its mission to build and maintain diverse donor portfolios, steward current partners, and prospect potential funders of the organization. The Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Development intern works directly with members of the development team to assist with ad hoc projects related to the Center’s fundraising portfolios (individual, corporations, government, and foundations); conduct development and fundraising-related research and assemble briefing memos related to development prospects and opportunities; manage data input in the Center’s CRM (Salesforce); support event planning and execution; provide assistance to research programs with database and marketing tool questions; and support email marketing efforts, including tracking metrics, using the Center’s marketing software.
The ideal candidate possesses an appreciation and willingness to work in a fast-paced environment, excellent verbal and communications skills, the ability to prioritize multiple tasks from several stakeholders at once, exceptional professionalism and discretion, and a willingness to learn on their feet. Additionally, the ideal candidate will be a highly motivated self-starter, detail-oriented, and have a track record of high-quality research and organizational management skills. Candidates with a background and interest in fundraising and non-profit management are strongly preferred.
Energy, Economics, and Security: The Energy, Economics, and Security (EES) 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 and export controls, as these measures become more frequent in use and an indispensable component of the U.S. national security toolkit. The intern will contribute to our sanctions tracking database, assisting in quantitative data analysis and written deliverables on a variety of topics which can include export controls, sanctions enforcement and evasions tactics, financial technology, virtual currencies, and global illicit financial crime. EES studies the broad array of U.S. sanctions policies, with a specific geographic focus on measures against North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, 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. Ideal candidates are detail-orientated individuals with strong verbal and communication skills, familiarity with coercive economic measures, and a genuine interest to contribute the work of the EES team. Strong preference will be given to candidates with previous work experience or significant coursework in the aforementioned fields, but all are welcome to apply. Individuals possessing foreign language skills are highly encouraged to apply.
Indo-Pacific Security: The Indo-Pacific Security (IPS) Program seeks to inform the exercise of U.S. power and leadership in the Indo-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 addresses opportunities and challenges for the United States in the region, with a growing focus on issues that originate in the Indo-Pacific but have global implications. Ideal candidates will be team players who have strong writing skills, experience doing detail-oriented work on tight deadlines, and a demonstrated interest in the region. This is a rewarding and fast-paced internship with significant responsibility. Interns will be called upon to assist in research efforts, support events with top experts in the field, and take advantage of opportunities to write under their own bylines.
Middle East Security: 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 U.S. strategic partnerships, and generating solutions that help policymakers respond to both fast-moving events and long-term trends. The program’s current research focuses on U.S.-Iran relations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and U.S. strategy toward the Middle East as a whole. 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.
Military, Veterans, and Society: The Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) 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 the entirety of the military community, including veterans and military families. The program’s research agenda focuses on improving military readiness through talent management, supporting all service members and their families, and addressing military recruitment shortfalls; facilitating transition pathways for veterans; and long-lasting impacts of civil-military relations. In particular, the program aims to elevate diverse voices in the military community. The intern will work with the team 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 interest in military issues, a strong background in research and writing, and experience in excel and quantitative analysis.
Technology and National Security: The Technology and National Security program explores the policy challenges associated with rapid developments in artificial intelligence, 5G, autonomy and unmanned systems, digital infrastructure, 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 the team to support ongoing efforts such as the AI Task Force, the Digital Freedom Forum, and the U.S. National Technology Strategy initiative. Duties center on program support including event planning, administrative support, and social media outreach, in addition to some research tasks. Ideal candidates will have a track record of high-quality writing, research, and organizational and time management skills. The applicant must be detail-oriented and 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.
Transatlantic Security: The Transatlantic Security (TSP) program’s research agenda focuses on European security, NATO, Russia, and strengthening alliances to address shared challenges like China and threats to democracy. The intern will work with the Transatlantic Security Program team 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.