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Richard Fontaine

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Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer[1] of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), an independent, bipartisan think tank that develops strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and foreign policies. He is a foreign policy and international affairs expert whose writings and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post[2][3], the Wall Street Journal[4][5], Foreign Affairs[6], The Atlantic[7] and other publications. Prior to CNAS, Fontaine at the U.S. State Department[8], the National Security Council[9] and as foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain[10], including during the 2008 Presidential election.[11]


A native of New Orleans, Richard Fontaine graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Tulane University in 1997.[12] He earned an M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington,[13] and he attended Oxford University.[14]

Upon graduation from Tulane, Fontaine taught English in Japan as a participant in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.[15] He went on to serve as a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,[16] focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. He subsequently worked in the office of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage[17] and in the State Department’s South Asia bureau. He went on to serve as Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) from 2003-04. He also worked on Southeast Asian issues in the NSC’s Asian Affairs directorate. [18]

Following his executive branch service, Fontaine joined the staff of Senator John McCain as his foreign policy advisor.[19] During his time with McCain, Fontaine traveled extensively with the senator[20] and handled a range of foreign policy, national security and intelligence matters. He served as foreign policy advisor to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign[21] and, after the election, as deputy minority staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. [22]

Fontaine joined CNAS in 2009 as a senior fellow[23]and then became the Center’s president in 2012.[24] Fontaine was named Chief Executive Officer of the Center in February 2019. He serves concurrently as executive director of the Trilateral Commission’s North America Group[25] and previously was chairman of the World Economic Forum’s global agenda council on the United States.[26] He has taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.[27]

In addition to writing for publications that include Foreign Policy[28], Politico Magazine[29], and The Washington Quarterly[30], Fontaine appears as an international affairs commentator on programs including CNN[31], Fox News[32], NBC News[33] and National Public Radio[34]. He has testified before Congressional committees[35] and commissions[36] and speaks regularly on foreign policy matters.[37]

External Links[edit]

Richard Fontaine on Charlie Rose Appearances on C-SPAN Biography at the Center for a New American Security


  1. https://www.cnas.org/people/richard-fontaine
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-give-up-on-india/2012/09/20/20564550-f2b9-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-steps-a-divided-government-can-take-to-protect-national-interests/2015/01/16/312d2f6e-9cf9-11e4-bcfb-059ec7a93ddc_story.html
  4. https://www.wsj.com/articles/health-surveillance-is-here-to-stay-11585339451
  5. https://www.wsj.com/articles/reassuring-asia-of-americas-commitment-to-the-region-1488994821
  6. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-10-15/nonintervention-delusion
  7. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/we-need-new-atlantic-charter/610069/
  8. https://www.cnas.org/people/richard-fontaine
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/world/middleeast/ex-officials-urge-white-house-to-accept-more-syrian-refugees.html
  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/think-tanked/post/cnas-names-richard-fontaine-former-mccain-adviser-as-its-new-president/2012/05/17/gIQABi5nWU_blog.html
  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/magazine/between-iraq-and-a-hawk-base.html
  12. https://www.cnas.org/people/richard-fontaine
  13. https://sais.jhu.edu/content/center-new-american-security-cnas-names-new-president
  14. https://www.cnas.org/people/richard-fontaine
  15. http://jetwit.com/wordpress/2015/09/05/jet-alum-richard-fontaine-featured-in-ny-times-article-on-foreign-policy-of-republican-candidates/
  16. https://www.rollcall.com/2019/09/27/the-art-of-the-ask-foreign-aid-isnt-a-campaign-slush-fund/
  17. https://foreignpolicy.com/2012/05/17/fontaine-chosen-as-new-cnas-president/
  18. https://www.cnas.org/people/richard-fontaine
  19. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/08/remembering-john-mccain/559247/
  20. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.4800295/john-mccain-s-yukon-trip-that-led-him-to-poet-robert-service-s-home-1.4800300
  21. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/working-national-security-on-john-mccains-presidential/id1444685662?i=1000463295450
  22. Allen, Thad W.; Whitman, Christine Todd; Brimmer, Esther; Schmemann, Anya (March 2017). Arctic Imperatives: Reinforcing U.S. Strategy on America's Fourth Coast. ISBN 9780876097083. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  23. https://www.cnas.org/press/press-release/longtime-mccain-advisor-richard-fontaine-joins-cnas
  24. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/think-tanked/post/cnas-names-richard-fontaine-former-mccain-adviser-as-its-new-president/2012/05/17/gIQABi5nWU_blog.html
  25. http://trilateral.org/download/files/press/Post-Paris_Press_Release_6_20_19_final.pdf
  26. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC_IssueBriefs_2012-14.pdf
  27. https://gufaculty360.georgetown.edu/s/contact/00336000014RjK1AAK/richard-fontaine
  28. https://foreignpolicy.com/author/richard-fontaine/
  29. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/02/aumf-congress-obama-115132
  30. Fontaine, Richard (2017). "Networking Security in Asia". The Washington Quarterly. 40 (3): 45–62. doi:10.1080/0163660X.2017.1370359.
  31. https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/31/politics/afghanistan-trump-troop-decision/index.html
  32. https://video.foxnews.com/v/5827434722001#sp=show-clips
  33. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/president-obama-arrives-vietnam-historic-asia-trip-n578251
  34. https://www.npr.org/2018/05/11/610335333/trump-north-korea-summit-is-a-game-changer-fontaine-says
  35. "Preserving Progress: Transitioning Authority and Implementing the Strategic Framework in Iraq : Hearing Before the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, First Session". 2011.
  36. https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/sites/humanrightscommission.house.gov/files/documents/MassAtrocitiesPreventionI_RichardFontaine_CNAS.pdf
  37. https://ags.duke.edu/mc-events/richard-fontaine/

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