Location: N/A
Employment Type: N/A
Seniority Level: N/A
Category: Fellowship

Overview of the Role

Forward Defense (FD) is offering a unique opportunity for dynamic, inquisitive, and analytically minded individuals to join its bench of Nonresident Fellows working on the policy and military issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous systems, and related AI-enabled technologies.

This unpaid two-year fellowship is part of FD’s effort to break the traditional mold of the defense policy community and inject fresh thinking and creativity into the policy debate around the greatest security challenges facing the United States and its allies. FD is seeking candidates from a wide range of backgrounds to incorporate and showcase new perspectives into our work on the future of defense and warfare.Applicants from historically underrepresented groups in national security and defense spaces are encouraged to apply.

Through the fellowship, candidates will gain access to the Council’s expansive network in the international policy community, including opportunities to connect with government and military leaders at FD’s frequent private and public convenings. The fellowship will also offer opportunities to contribute to FD’s cutting-edge analysis, which in turn will raise the fellow’s professional profile in Washington, DC and beyond.

The Nonresident Fellow will contribute their expertise to the Atlantic Council’s work on a flexible and uncompensated basis, as mutually agreed by the Fellow and the Forward Defense leadership. The Fellow may have the option to join ongoing work in exchange for honoraria and/or submit proposals to bid for paid work focusing on select priorities in FD’s programming, including:

  • The implications of artificial intelligence and machine learning for the future of warfare, and the specific defense and security applications (e.g., intelligence analysis, command and control, targeting, autonomous systems, information operations, training and simulation) where AI will be most impactful.
  • The impact of artificial intelligence on the geopolitical and technological competition among the United States, China, Russia, and other powers.
  • The developing roles, responsibilities, and priorities of US organizations and industries dedicated to developing, fielding, and integrating AI-enabled technologies.
  • The structural (i.e., policy, bureaucratic, and military) challenges to, and opportunities for, AI adoption.

About Forward Defense

Forward Defense (FD), 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.

About the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security works to develop sustainable, nonpartisan strategies to address the most important security challenges and opportunities facing the United States and its allies and partners. The Center honors General Brent Scowcroft’s legacy of service and embodies his ethos of nonpartisan commitment to the cause of security, support for US leadership in cooperation with allies and partners, and dedication to the mentorship of the next generation of leaders.


  • Contribute to programming. Attend FD’s routine private roundtables and workshops with government and military officials and private-sector leaders and offer insights and analysis during these events that advance policy discussions. On a periodic basis, serve as a panelist or moderator at FD’s public events, which provide a highly visible platform to share expert insights.
  • Contribute to short-form analysis. Write regular short-form and policy-focused blogposts and op-eds on timely or strategic issues in defense and national security. Work with the Forward Defense and editorial teams as part of the editing process. Pieces will be published on the Council’s website or pitched by the Council’s communications team to external outlets.
  • Contribute to in-depth research. If opportunities arise, serve as a lead or contributing author by identifying a problem in the defense space and writing an in-depth research report on the issue. These opportunities would come with the possibility for a paid honorarium to support the Fellow’s substantial time investment.
  • Contribute to bids for new projects. Help the Forward Defense team identify and submit proposals for new business development and research opportunities, including by serving as the principal investigator when appropriate.


  • A mid-career professional with demonstrated interest and experience in the defense policy space, especially including:  
    • The technical advantages and limitations of artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and other AI-enabled technologies;
    • Potential defense and security applications for artificial intelligence;
    • Key AI issues for policymakers in the United States and its allies and partners;
    • National security threats posed through artificial intelligence by the United States’ principal competitors;
    • Key commercial and technological developments in artificial intelligence and related technologies; and
    • Structural impediments to and opportunities for AI adoption.
  • Availability to attend and speak at FD’s private events as a means of contributing to the policy discussion and building a network;
  • Commitment to contributing to FD’s written work either through periodic op-eds and blogposts or occasional in-depth research and reports;
  • Excellent writing, editing, and briefing skills; and
  • A collegial attitude and proven ability to work well with others, communicate effectively with anyone from senior government officials to interns, and accept constructive feedback on written work.

We plan to begin extending interviews in January 2023, so please submit your application by the end of the year.

Explore the Program

Forward Defense

Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, shapes the debate around the greatest military 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.

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