The Washington Post

CNAS: Kristin Lord heads to USIP, Shawn Brimley steps up to VP

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has announced that senior fellow Shawn Brimley has been promoted to vice president and director of studies — a position that puts him on the think tank’s executive team. 

Shawn Brimley

“Shawn’s government service and policy expertise will be instrumental in his new role directing our research agenda and guiding how we think about the most challenging national security issues facing the nation,” said CNAS President Richard Fontaine in a statement. 

Brimley replaces Kristin Lord, who is taking over as executive vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace later this month. Lord led CNAS research for nearly four years. 

Brimley, a founding member of CNAS, served in the Obama administration from February 2009 to October 2012, most recently as director for strategic planning on the National Security Council staff at the White House.

He also served as Special Adviser to the under secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon from 2009-2011, where he focused on the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, overseas basing and posture, and long-range strategy development.

Brimley begins his appointment Feb. 1.

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.



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Allen McDuffee · January 7, 2013