Job Location: Atlantic Council Headquarters – Washington, DC
Position Type: Full-Time
Job Category: Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security


The Atlantic Council seeks dynamic, intellectual entrepreneurs to staff and help build the New American Engagement Initiative (NAEI), an exciting new effort to challenge conventional foreign policy thinking, question outdated assumptions — in particular regarding military engagement, and help US government policy-makers to manage risks in decision-making and resource-allocation in a manner that fits the times and is at the same time thoughtful and provocative.  The new initiative will be housed with the Foresight, Strategy and Risks Initiative (FSR) in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security.  The program will deepen our work on strategy and reshape America’s role in the world, one of the six defining challenges that the Council has laid out for itself to tackle.

The NAEI will be composed of a five-person team under two Co-Directors whose mission will be to question core assumptions, while producing policy and strategy papers that are unconventional, non-mainstream, and deliberately and productively provocative.

The successful candidates will have a passion for contributing to the Atlantic Council’s mission of working with allies to shape the future and experience in explaining and catalyzing new approaches to U.S. foreign policy and international relations. They will know how to galvanize debates and be able to frame strategies and policies that maximize opportunities while minimizing risks during this exciting but also challenging period of rapid change.  

The two Senior Fellows to be selected will have substantial expertise, a superior ethic toward teamwork and collegiality, demonstrated superior written and oral communication capability, and advanced leadership skills,

Successful candidates should be fully integrated within established networks of geopolitical thinkers and practitioners in the U.S. foreign affairs arena, particularly U.S. government, academic and think tank analysts and decision-makers, and they should have a desire to continue to build this network. Experience in the executive or legislative branches of government is helpful.  

The NAEI will work in an integrated fashion with others in the Scowcroft Center, plus the Council’s other regional and functional programs and centers, through dynamic outreach to and engagement with government, industry, foundations and academic leaders.  The NAEI team will be responsible for building out the intellectual foundation for the new Initiative and growing it into a cutting-edge, world-class program.  

NAEI will provide counterarguments in real time to traditional policy proposals and offer side-by-side refutation of the assumptions underlying conventional policies.  The initiative also will offer unconventional thought leaders outside the Atlantic Council’s network the ability to publish their work and participate in conferences, workshops, and task forces.  Over time, the initiative will hold conferences and workshops on a regular basis in Washington, DC, for policymakers, private-sector leaders, scholars and their students, and the media, establishing the Atlantic Council as the “go-to” place for questioning the conventional, asking the difficult questions, and proposing concrete, real-world alternatives.

The position is located in Washington, DC, and requires occasional domestic travel.


Senior Fellows are expected to have extensive familiarity with US government decision-making processes, and background in debate on directions in US foreign policy: 

  • Intellectual Leadership. Play a leading role in developing the non-mainstream intellectual and policy frameworks that centrally advance the Council’s mission and programming through written work and speaking opportunities within and outside the Council; develop selected issues on which the incumbent maintains a profile and is respected in the policy community for her or his thought leadership.
  • Programmatic Design and Oversight. Help in developing programming for influencing policy and impacting the public debate on U.S. foreign policy and international relations in a changing world.  Oversee implementation of multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Business Development. Contribute programmatic ideas for NAEI, helping to craft proposals for funding that can generate financial support for new and existing lines of effort. Working with the Co-Directors and the Center Director and the Office of External Relations, build the Initiative’s funding base by sustaining current financial support and pursuing additional support from corporations, governments, international organizations, foundations, and individuals.
  • Outreach/Communications. Represent the Atlantic Council externally with the administration, Congress, the diplomatic community and foreign governments, donors, media, etc., as well as at public and private events, international conferences, etc.

The successful Senior Fellow candidates should possess:

  • A minimum of 6-10 years of significant work experience on thinking, speaking and publishing on non-mainstream ideas in U.S. foreign policy and international relations; 
  • Excellent writing, editing, and briefing skills; must be able to write policy-like documents under tight time constraints. A dossier of published work is highly desirable;
  • A strong and current bipartisan network in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government in Washington and experience in engaging with other domestic audiences; 
  • Demonstrated track record in responding to government grant solicitations, and fundraising to include solicitation from individuals, foundations, and corporate sources;
  • Excellent organizational skills; and
  • A proven ability to build networks and initiate effective partnerships among expert analysts, government leaders, and non-governmental organizations, international institutions, and business executives.

A Master’s degree or Doctorate in a relevant field is required.