Job Description

The Strategy, Policy, Plans, and Programs (SP3) division supports the Defense Department and other US Government organizations by providing decision-oriented, operationally-informed analysis that has a firm grounding in empirical social science methods.  SP3 analysis is focused at the strategic and operational level of US National Security planning and execution.  SP3 analysts have deep regional and functional expertise, a command of both theoretical and applied models, and a commitment to using primary source data to inform their analyses.  All of our analysts conduct field research and have experience in the operational environment.


1 Develop and apply creative and innovative analytic solutions to complex problems with assistance/support from more senior staff. Play a supporting role in the mentoring and training of new staff individually or as a member of a project team.

2 Develop and maintain deep, specific institutional knowledge and expertise of primary clients/sponsors; their culture, organization, and issues. Use that knowledge to support training & mentoring of new staff, to support on-going work, and to support development and shaping of new work for existing clients/ sponsors.

3 Support business development efforts and/or marketing activities by interacting with CNA managers and current clients/sponsors on securing follow on work (e.g., small grants, or above core projects), expanding or developing new ideas for future projects, and occasionally working with potential clients/sponsors on developing new project ideas. Occasionally serve as internal reviewer of technical proposals.

4 Interact regularly and independently with clients/sponsors and related parties. Typically interact at the “peer equivalent” level, and have some level of interaction at senior level. Effectively represent CNA as an organization.

5 Influence decisions by sponsors/ clients; provide sponsors/clients with implementable recommendations. Occasionally support efforts to enhance CNA’s reputation via publishing and outreach activities.

6 Summarize and synthesize larger pieces of work into effective executive summaries/executive briefings. Effectively present work to more senior and larger audiences. Effectively communicate with & engage colleagues at all levels of the organization.

7 Work under limited direction and general supervision from division management. Lead projects of low to medium size and/or complexity, as well as significant tasks on large or more complex projects. Effectively manage all assigned projects, to include delivery of high-quality analytic products on-time, and on-budget.

8 Help train/mentor less experienced team members, and support other staff on projects as required. Regularly demonstrate initiative in pursuing improvements in the quality of our projects and analytic products. Participate in corporate initiatives when asked to do so, and make contributions to initiatives focused on making CNA a better place to work.

9 Perform other duties as assigned.


Job Requirements

1 Education: Minimum Master’s degree in a relevant field or equivalent experience, PhD preferred.

2 Experience: Typical minimum requirements 5+ years of experience in research and analysis.

3 Skills: Extensive, working knowledge of contemporary and historical U.S. nuclear weapons policy and strategy, arms control policy, and deterrence theory and practice. Experience working with or in the Department of Defense preferred but not required. Broad, working knowledge of security and strategic studies research and literature. Ability to work on progressively more difficult projects/analyses, including directing portions of large research projects or small to medium projects under general supervision; Ability to operate independently and proactively in the execution of assignments; Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment; Strong critical thinking skills; Knowledge of research techniques; Strong planning and organizational skills; Excellent interpersonal skills; Strong and effective oral and written communication skills; Ability to interact directly and effectively with clients and influence their decisions.

4 Other: Ability to obtain and maintain an Active Secret Security Clearance.