Job Location:  Atlantic Council Headquarters – Washington, DC
Employment Type: Full-time
Seniority Level: Associate
Job Category: Staff


The Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense (FD) practice, situated in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes the debate around the greatest defense challenges facing the United States and its allies, and creates forward-looking assessments of the trends, technologies, and concepts that will define the future of warfare. Through the futures we forecast, the scenarios we wargame, and the analyses we produce, FD develops actionable strategies to help the United States navigate major power conflict and defend forward, alongside allies and partners. As the character of war rapidly changes, FD assesses the operational concepts and defense industrial tools necessary to effectively deter and defend against emerging military challenges.

The Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense Program is thrilled to hire an Associate Director. This individual will execute and manage Forward Defense’s key projects related to US and allied military strategy, military operations, and defense technology; help manage junior colleagues working on projects on these subject areas; and support the Director with tasks related to the broader management of Forward Defense. The candidate will oversee significant projects within Forward Defense; maintain, develop, and cultivate a wide network of crucial partner and donor relationships; and contribute to the research and editorial work of our numerous publications on issues related to current and future defense and security challenges.

The ideal candidate is innovative, resourceful, proactive, and has a proven track record of working with policymakers, military officials, and/or senior experts on emerging defense and security issues. The Associate Director will have solid judgment and the ability to multitask and communicate effectively in a dynamic work environment. The ability to manage up and work with team members across all levels is critical. In addition, sound judgment and the skills to oversee multiple projects and keep tasks, team members, and deliverables on track while balancing competing timelines is a must.

The successful candidate will support the Director and other team members in the oversight and operations of Forward Defense internally and will represent Forward Defense in external meetings as needed. This position is based in our Washington, DC headquarters on a hybrid schedule. We are reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Applications submitted by November 20 will receive priority consideration. Pay is commensurate with experience, education, and organizational equity, with offers starting at $65,000.

Job responsibilities 

  • Coordinate and assume primary responsibility in organizing and executing major Forward Defense projects, including our military strategy, military operations, and defense and emerging technology portfolio, with limited oversight.
  • Set the operational tempo and timelines for projects, track multiple deliverables, and delegate tasks to and oversee junior colleagues to execute logistical and administrative operations in support of events and publications, ensuring products delivered to upper management meet high expectations.
  • Shape the content, format, and structure of FD’s military strategy, operations, and technology publications and convenings, and support the Director’s assignment and coordination of the team’s projects.
  • Contribute to shaping Forward Defense’s goals and desired policy and programmatic outcomes for our military strategy, operations, and technology portfolio, including assisting business development, grant and partnership proposal writing, donor reporting, and budgeting.
  • Edit written work and coordinate closely with fellows and staff to produce articles, issue briefs, blog posts, and other written and audiovisual work.
  • Liaise with other Council programs and centers, our development team, engagement team, and executive office to ensure successful execution of, and publicity for, events and publications.
  • Maintain, develop, and cultivate a wide network of crucial partner and donor relationships, including defense industry, US and foreign government partners, technology sector, and academic partners.
  • Contribute to the intellectual work of the Center through research and writing on issues related to military strategy, operations, and technology, especially in areas of your specific expertise. Generate ideas for programming on these topics.
  • Represent Forward Defense at some external meetings and events.
  • Supervise and provide mentorship to FD’s interns and junior staff, including training junior staff on processes, protocol, and software.


  • Graduate degree in a related field is strongly preferred, although an undergraduate degree with additional work experience may qualify.
  • Past work experience with transferable operational, project, and people management skills (or management training).
  • Experience in project management, event management, and stakeholder management.
  • Exceptional organizational, writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship-building skills.
  • Strong track record in engaging, and knowledge of, key stakeholders in US defense and security, including representatives of US and foreign governments, academia, and think tanks.
  • Significant interest in, and demonstrated knowledge of, defense and security issues across Forward Defense’s work, specifically US and allied military strategy, military operations, and defense and emerging technology.
  • Previous relevant, substantive work experience and demonstrated expertise in subject matter.
  • Experience in overseeing a small number of interns and staff, and skill in mentoring and developing a diverse, high-performing team that embodies the ethos of the Council culture and delivers on our mission. 
  • Experience in business development, developing budgets, and tracking expenses desirable.

*NOTE* The Atlantic Council values superior writing capabilities and attention to detail. Applicants should upload a Forward Defense-focused writing sample that demonstrates these qualifications.

Explore the Program

Forward Defense

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, generates ideas and connects stakeholders in the defense ecosystem to promote an enduring military advantage for the United States, its allies, and partners. Our work identifies the defense strategies, capabilities, and resources the United States needs to deter and, if necessary, prevail in future conflict.

All Atlantic Council employees are required to adhere to the Atlantic Council’s vaccination policy. All Atlantic Council employees must be fully vaccinated and boosted, and they must submit proof of both vaccination and COVID-19 booster shot on their first day of employment. Prospective or new employees may seek an exemption to the vaccination requirement through human resources and must have an approved exemption prior to the start of their employment.

Please note: The Atlantic Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristics covered by applicable law. The Atlantic Council is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodation for all qualified individuals and bases all employment decisions on qualifications, merit, and business need. The Atlantic Council believes that diversity and inclusion amongst our team members are critical to our success as a global organization and seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. For more information, check out our Talent DEI Statement or connect with us at Eligibility to work in the United Stated is confirmed with E-Verify; employment at the Atlantic Council is eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).