Program Assistant – Forward Defense

  • Washington DC
  • $24.04 per hour USD
  • May 23, 2024

Website Atlantic Council

The Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense (FD) program, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, conducts the Atlantic Council’s US defense strategy and policy research and analysis. FD generates ideas and connects stakeholders in the defense ecosystem to promote an enduring military advantage for the United States, its allies, and partners. Our work identifies the defense strategies, capabilities, and resources the United States and its allies need to deter and, if necessary, prevail in future conflict. We conduct work on US and allied defense strategies; force planning; space security; nuclear deterrence; defense innovation, industry, and acquisition; and emerging technology, such as AI and machine learning.

About the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security

The Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security works to develop sustainable, nonpartisan strategies to address the most important security challenges and opportunities facing the United States and the world. The Center honors General Brent Scowcroft’s legacy of service and embodies his ethos of nonpartisan commitment to the cause of security, support for US leadership in cooperation with allies and partners, and dedication to the mentorship of the next generation of leaders.

Overview of the Role

The Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense Program is thrilled to hire a Project Assistant who will work on FD’s defense innovation, technology, and industry portfolio. The Project Assistant will execute administrative, logistical, and research tasks to support FD’s Commission on Software Defined Warfare by assisting with reports and publications; event planning and execution; and correspondence and scheduling. This is a unique opportunity to support high-level defense conversations and learn from leading experts on critical issues impacting US national security. This entry-level role is a temporary contractor position for six months, with the possibility of extending into a full-time, permanent role thereafter.

The ideal candidate is innovative, resourceful, proactive, and has a demonstrated interest and basic knowledge of defense and national security issues and/or software and dual-use technology. The Project Assistant will have a keen attention to detail and the ability to multi-task and communicate effectively in a dynamic work environment. The ability to take direction and feedback, manage up, and work collaboratively with team members across all levels is critical. In addition, sound judgment and the skills to work on multiple projects and keep tasks and deliverables on track while balancing competing timelines is a must.

The position is based in Washington, DC on a hybrid schedule. Pay is commensurate with experience, education, and organizational equity, with offers starting at $24.04 per hour. Applications submitted by April 26, 2024, will be prioritized for consideration.

Job responsibilities

The Project Assistant will be specifically responsible for the following:

  • Provide logistical and administrative support to FD’s defense innovation, technology, and industry portfolio.
  • Coordinate the scheduling of calls, in-person and virtual meetings, and travel for events and projects.
  • Prepare agendas, memos, and talking points to prepare principals for meetings and events with external stakeholders.
  • Organize and execute public events and convenings associated with the Commission on Software Defined Warfare and FD’s other defense industry and innovation projects.
  • Draft, edit, and proofread internal and external correspondence and other written communication.
  • Liaise with internal and external offices, including with Forward Defense fellows, military fellows, partners, and commercial and government stakeholders project-related tasks.
  • Maintain programmatic databases and mailing lists.
  • Take detailed notes during events and draft write-ups for program archives and publication on the Atlantic Council’s website.
  • Support media campaigns for events and reports, including drafting social media posts, website language, and scripts for videos and multimedia products.
  • Support the publications process for FD’s reports and op-eds, including editing, proof-reading, design choices, and communicating with authors.
  • Support FD’s network of senior fellows and consultants, drafting agreements and coordinating payments as applicable.
  • Support the oversight of program interns.
  • Conduct ad hoc research to support the FD Director, portfolio lead, and senior fellows on priority projects and current events related to the Commission and assist with the research and drafting of editorial work.
  • Draft gift agreements for new donors, ensuring compliance with institutional best practices.
  • Prepare invoices, track payments, and update Salesforce accordingly.


  • Demonstrated interest in, and a passion for, defense and security issues is crucial.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Studies in international affairs or a related topic are preferred, although a range of educational experiences may qualify you for this position.
  • Ability to execute and manage project deliverables with exceptional attention to detail is key.
  • Ability to multi-task and stay on top of evolving timelines in a dynamic environment is a must.
  • Exceptional organizational and written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to work well with others and interact professionally with senior figures.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office. Experience in WordPress, Salesforce, and Market welcome.
  • Past events management experience is a plus. Internships, volunteer work, and school clubs count.
  • Past communications, business development, or brand development experience is a plus.
  • Past experience in tracking finances and expenses is a plus.

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