Senior Research Fellow, Defense Programs

Washington, DC
Full Time
Allison Center for National Security

Title:                          Senior Research Fellow, Defense Programs

Reports to:             Director, Allison Center for National Security

Job Summary:          The Senior Research Fellow, Defense Programs engages in advanced research, publication, and education programs on defense programs, operational concepts, and strategies of the Department of Defense to ensure the United States is able to protect and promote its national security interests. This position collaborates with other staff and departments to develop policy papers, studies, and reports, refining proposals into affirmative public policy positions. The Senior Research Fellow is responsible for creating a high-profile and national reputation for The Heritage Foundation in the Defense Programing policy field. The Senior Research Fellow must be of the highest professional caliber, conducting ground-breaking research and analysis that advances Heritage’s agenda and acts as a spokesperson for Heritage in public events.  

Job Duties:

  • Develop policy recommendations and proposals related to defense programming and military readiness.
  • Conduct advanced policy analysis and scholarly research; write high quality papers, reports, and books.
  • Serve as lead editor for the Index of U.S. Military Strength, a flagship Heritage publication.
  • Speak at major public functions and professional conferences.
  • Fully engage and participate in debates over defense policy with relevant audiences.
  • Play an active role with the media and in the public policy community.
  • Represent Heritage in major professional forums and settings, including conferences, congressional hearings, and public speaking.
  • Organize and participate in internal and external events and meetings.



Education:                  PhD or the acquisition of equivalent level of technical and research skills

Experience:                 15+ years of experience in the public policy field; extensive body of public policy publications, including several scholarly or professional publications; experience with the Armed Forces and defense programming, policy, and budget

Communication:         Accomplished writer and influential public speaker; able to articulate policy positions in multiple media

Technology:                Microsoft Suite

Other Requirements:           

  • Understand and support the Heritage mission and vision for America, and the department's goals and objectives.
  • Promote policies consistent with Heritage’s priorities; speak with one voice.
  • Knowledge level: expert knowledge of policy area and of legislative and executive branch figures having influence on its development.
  • Leadership skills: very strong; able and willing to lead teams and to act as mentor for less experienced staff.
  • Professionalism: highest possible degree (adaptability, maturity, integrity, and accountability).
  • Initiative: highest possible, requiring only general guidance with high degree of independent action.
  • Achievement: nationally recognized in his/her field; demonstrated ability to achieve decisive changes in public policy.
  • Innovation: highest possible degree, an acclaimed policy entrepreneur in his/her field.



Benefits and Salary:

The Heritage Foundation offers a highly competitive benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, best-in-class health care, vision, and dental insurance, employer-sponsored retirement funding, “take what you need” PTO and sick leave, 14 weeks of paid leave for new moms and 6 weeks of paid leave for new dads, among other programs.


The salary range for this role is $155,000 - $170,000 annually. This range is a good faith estimate, and the final salary offered to a selected candidate depends on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the candidate’s experience, education, and other qualifications; internal and external market pay for comparable jobs; and level of hire based on aforementioned qualifications.


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