Job Location:  Atlantic Council Headquarters – Washington, DC
Employment Type: Full-time
Seniority Level: Entry-level
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.

Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense Program is thrilled to hire a Program Assistant who will work on one of FD’s three main portfolios: defense strategy and force; nuclear strategy and space security; and defense innovation, technology, and industry. Within the assigned portfolio, the Program Assistant will execute administrative, logistical, and research tasks to support FD’s reports and publications; event planning and execution; and correspondence and scheduling. This is an entry-level role: we will invest in someone over the long term to develop and grow their defense and national security expertise. This is a unique opportunity to support high-level defense conversations and learn from leading experts on issues impacting US national security.

The ideal candidate is innovative, resourceful, proactive, and has a demonstrated interest and basic knowledge of defense and national security issues. The Program Assistant will have a keen attention to detail and the ability to multi-task and communicate effectively in a dynamic work environment. The ability to take direction and feedback, manage up, and work collaboratively with team members across all levels is critical. In addition, sound judgment and the skills to work on multiple projects and keep tasks and deliverables on track while balancing competing timelines are a must.

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 1 will receive priority consideration. Pay is commensurate with experience, education, and organizational equity, with offers starting at $50,000.

Job responsibilities 

  • Provide logistical and administrative support to FD team projects and operations.
  • Provide scheduling support to the Director and coordinate the scheduling of calls, in-person and virtual meetings, and travel for events and projects.
  • Prepare agendas and background materials to prepare principals for external meetings.
  • Organize and execute convenings, with primary responsibility for several Forward Defense public and private events.
  • Draft, edit, and proofread internal and external correspondence and other written communication.
  • Liaise with internal and external offices, including with Forward Defense fellows, military fellows, partners, and stakeholders on projects.
  • Maintain programmatic databases and mailing lists.
  • Note-taking during events and draft write-ups for program archives and publication on the Atlantic Council website.
  • Support communications for events and reports, including drafting social media posts, website language, and scripts for videos and multimedia products.
  • Support the publication process for FD reports and op-eds, including editing, proofreading, design choices, and communicating with the author.
  • Support FD’s network of senior fellows and consultants, drafting agreements and coordinating payments as applicable.
  • Supervise and support the management of program interns.
  • Conduct ad hoc research to support the Director, staff, and senior fellows on priority projects and current events related to security and defense.
  • Write occasional articles and assist with the research and drafting of op-eds and reports.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Studies in international affairs or a related topic are preferred, although a range of educational experiences may qualify you for this position.
  • Demonstrated interest in, and a passion for, defense and security issues is crucial.
  • Candidates with a particular interest in one or more of Forward Defense’s three portfolio areas should make that clear in their applications.
  • Ability to execute and manage project deliverables with exceptional attention to detail is key.
  • Ability to multitask and stay on top of evolving timelines in a dynamic environment is a must.
  • Exceptional organizational and written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including poise and professionalism with colleagues and senior figures.
  • Proficiency in MS Office suite. If you’re a whiz at other software platforms (WordPress, Salesforce, or Marketo, especially), please mention.
  • Willingness and ability to commit forty hours per week and occasionally longer to complete time-sensitive deliverables.
  • Ability to work in person at the Council’s Washington, DC headquarters a minimum of twice a week.
  • Past events management experience is a plus. Internships, volunteer work, and school clubs count.
  • Past communications, business development, or brand development experience is a plus.
  • Past experience in tracking finances and expenses is a plus.

*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).