Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer 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, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic and other publications. Prior to CNAS, Fontaine at the U.S. State Department, the National Security Council and as foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain, including during the 2008 Presidential election.
A native of New Orleans, Richard Fontaine graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Tulane University in 1997. He earned an M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, and he attended Oxford University.
Upon graduation from Tulane, Fontaine taught English in Japan as a participant in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. He went on to serve as a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. He subsequently worked in the office of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage 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. 
Following his executive branch service, Fontaine joined the staff of Senator John McCain as his foreign policy advisor. During his time with McCain, Fontaine traveled extensively with the senator and handled a range of foreign policy, national security and intelligence matters. He served as foreign policy advisor to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign and, after the election, as deputy minority staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. 
Fontaine joined CNAS in 2009 as a senior fellowand then became the Center’s president in 2012. 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 and previously was chairman of the World Economic Forum’s global agenda council on the United States. He has taught at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
In addition to writing for publications that include Foreign Policy, Politico Magazine, and The Washington Quarterly, Fontaine appears as an international affairs commentator on programs including CNN, Fox News, NBC News and National Public Radio. He has testified before Congressional committees and commissions and speaks regularly on foreign policy matters.
- 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
- Fontaine, Richard (2017). "Networking Security in Asia". The Washington Quarterly. 40 (3): 45–62. doi:10.1080/0163660X.2017.1370359.
- "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.
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