Career Opportunities

Opportunities at ISW

Open Positions

External Relations Manager (Apply Here)

Hertog War Studies Program (Application Deadline: February 11, 2020): Please visit the Hertog Foundation website to apply for this two-week summer program for undergraduate students

Summer 2020 Internships

  • National Security and Intelligence Analysis (Apply)
  • National Security Innovation and Emerging Technologies (Apply)
  • Business Development and Marketing (Apply)
  • Non-Profit Management (Apply)
  • Government and Media Relations (Apply)
  • Audio Production and Social Media Marketing (Apply)


External Relations Manager (Apply Here)

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) seeks an External Relations Manager to plan and execute the organization’s strategic engagements with U.S. and allied governments, relations with press and media, and communications with all of its audiences using multiple platforms. ISW aims to improve the nation’s ability to execute military operations through real-time, independent, open-source analysis of ongoing military operations and crises.  ISW publishes analysis on Russia, the Middle East, and other geographic and thematic areas.

Reporting to the President, the External Relations Manager will play an integral role in the achievement of ISW’s mission and objectives. The External Relations Manager will cultivate and manage relationships with media and government officials working closely with the research, operations, and development teams. ISW is a growing, dynamic organization that responds to the changing threat environment and the needs of its readers. The demand for frequent and timely release of information has never been greater.

ISW has a proven track record of accurate analysis and early warning forecasts. Its work is consumed by military and civilian decision-makers, their staffs, analysts, scholars, and journalists. 


The External Relations Manager will envision, plan, and execute an effective strategy by which ISW communicates its research and its mission to a wide audience, generally and in segments. To do so, the External Relations Manager will:

Oversee Media Outreach and Government Relations

  • Cultivate and enhance collaborative working relationships with members of the media, military, and civilian government organizations, including officials across the Executive Branch and Members of Congress and their staff, as well as selected non-government organizations, in order to disseminate timely information and research findings and frame the policy relevance of ISW’s research
  • Select and distribute press requests to the appropriate team members
  • Place op-eds or other approved products in appropriate external publications
  • Manage congressional relationships and government outreach events or briefings
  • Collaborate with the research department to anticipate likely policy issues and decisions and to enable ISW research staff to respond informatively and rapidly to media and government queries
  • Establish benchmarks for ISW’s earned media and government relations with ISW’s president, track them, and measure their effectiveness

Oversee Communications Campaigns

  • Maintain and grow ISW’s general and segmented communications lists and communicate effectively with external contacts, ensuring that ISW reaches its important, intended audiences,
  • Effectively communicate news about the organization and regularly promote its work to the media and to other important audiences
  • Create and execute product lines for specific, important audiences that derive from the research team’s findings and distribute those products via e-mail communications or online platforms

Ensure Brand Image and Integrity

  • Ensure the organization protects and promotes its stellar image and reputation in a proper, coordinated, and consistent manner with the brand messaging
  • Detect public relations issues as they emerge and address them directly and promptly in conjunction with ISW’s president
  • Compose press releases and company literature for internal and external use
  • Ensure ISW’s social media presence preserves brand integrity
  • Identify opportunities to promote ISW’s mission, programs, and thought leadership at special events and conferences, and ensure that ISW regularly hosts interesting, informative events that reach multiple audiences:
  1. Draft invitations for these events
  2. Suggest panelists and invitees
  3. Serve as the primary liaison for government or media guests

Develop Staff Professionally

  • Develop and mentor emerging analysts to communicate the policy significance of their work, brief government officials and take print, radio, and television engagements, and continually improve their effectiveness at communicating their findings
  • Assist all staff and interns with proactively understanding and navigating the policy environment in Washington, D.C.
  • Collaborate with peers and near peers at ISW who supervise research, development, and operations to help them achieve their missions and ensure that ISW’s work has an impact on policy
  • Ensure that ISW staff and interns follow ISW’s social media policy
  • Manage an intern and over time a subordinate staff who support the External Relations program

Oversee Online Platforms

  • Oversee the remaining steps of the redesign and testing of ISW’s new website, relaunch it, and ensure its content is maintained in ways that support ISW’s strategic goals;
  • Oversee the messaging content, strategic use and expansion of ISW’s social media outlets and podcasting;
  • Establish benchmarks for ISW’s social media and online platforms with ISW’s president and Director of Operations, track them, measure the platforms’ effectiveness, and improve them so that they meet these benchmarks
  • Work with ISW’s IT providers to ensure that its audiences have secure, reliable access to the platforms, which the IT providers  maintain, patch, and monitor 


Candidates must have a Bachelor’s Degree (and the ideal candidate will have a Master’s Degree) in public policy, foreign policy, national security, communications, journalism, or a related field and a minimum of four years of professional experience working on these issues in Washington, DC. Candidates must also demonstrate:

  • Commitment to ISW’s mission
  • Demonstrated, strong understanding of the national media and policy landscape and a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively within it
  • Proven ability to communicate intelligently about issues surrounding our national security
  • Proven understanding of communications strategy, specifically for policy non-profits, and an ability to execute it
  • Ability and commitment to developing staff and collaborating with others
  • Ability to write and communicate effectively in a fast-paced environment by email, phone, and in person
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and balance both rapid response and long-term projects
  • Initiative, drive, and ability to work independently to advance the organization’s mission
  • Excellent judgment under pressure
  • Willingness to learn and innovate
  • Excellent time-management and organizational skills
  • Creativity, collaborative spirit, and great people and problem-solving skills

Apply for this position here. 


ISW Internship Program Overview

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is committed to training the next generation of national security leaders through its innovative educational programs. ISW is currently seeking motivated and experienced college students or recent graduates to join our intern team. ISW offers a wide range of internships across diverse research portfolios and departments, including Counterterrorism, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. ISW also offers internships in National Security Innovation and Emerging Technologies and in non-profit management, including Development and External Relations.

Why Work for ISW: 72% of ISW’s full time staff began their career at the organization as an ISW intern.  ISW believes that ground realities must drive the formulation of strategy and policy. In pursuit of this principle, ISW conducts detailed open-source intelligence analysis to provide timely and accurate information on current conflicts and security threats directly to policy-makers and warfighters.

Interns at ISW have an unparalleled opportunity to analyze conflicts in ways that directly inform policy-makers on some of the most pressing issues facing American national security. Our interns work directly with analysts. They receive classroom education, regular leadership engagement, and a chance to work with cutting-edge technologies employed in business and the intelligence community. Interns have the opportunity to stand at the front lines of military research and policy development, tackling the latest crises in the headlines.

ISW views interns as an integral component of the team. ISW has worked with interns to draft, edit, and publish their own research under the mentorship of senior analysts. It has also hired many interns onto its staff.

National Security and Intelligence Analysis Internship Summer 2020 (Apply)

ISW is a leading source of innovative analysis and intelligence on global conflicts that threaten American national security. ISW publishes regular research reports and graphics to inform policy-makers, warfighters, and journalists in Washington, D.C., as well as the general public. Interns provide critical assistance to our analysts and receive hands-on training from their supervisors as well as a formal development program taught by our leadership. Interns will be trained to use innovative technologies to conduct open-source collection and analysis in a fast-paced environment.

Interns will be paired with ISW researchers on subject matter that best matches their skill sets and language capabilities. Interns are expected to collect, process, analyze, and synthesize intelligence from native language sources under the guidance of our staff; collaborate with the wider research team to generate intelligence products; assist with editing, documenting, and compiling materials for publications; and support the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings held by ISW.

National Security Innovation and Emerging Technologies Internship Summer 2020 (Apply)

ISW uses emerging technologies and establishes software partnerships in order to improve research collection, intelligence analysis, and visualization. This internship provides valuable interactions with software partners who are transforming the national security space.  The Intern will receive further training on some of these platforms. Interns will use Python coding skills to help refine how ISW’s analysts implement these cutting edge tools.  Our roster of technology partners includes Linkurious, Crane + Grey, BlackSky, Sayari Analytics, Ntrepid, and Neo4J. 

Business Development and Marketing Internship Summer 2020 (Apply)

ISW’s Development Team provides an exciting opportunity for candidates interested in learning more about business development and donor relations at a mission-driven organization. The Intern will directly assist ISW’s President Dr. Kimberly Kagan and the Development Manager in implementing our development initiatives and strategic partnerships. They will also assist with the mission-critical tasks of developing potential strategic partnerships; drafting communications to prospective and current donors; generating new marketing materials; building maintaining our donor network database; and assisting with other tasks as needed by the Development Manager. The position offers a unique opportunity for individuals with excellent communication skills and an interest in business development to enhance their credentials, gain valuable marketing and strategic planning experience, and make an outsized impact on a growing and dynamic team.

Non-Profit Management Internship Summer 2020 (Apply)

ISW’s Operations Team offers a unique opportunity to candidates interested in learning more about non-profit management with an eye towards national security. Interns will be immersed in the hands-on experience of working at a non-profit think tank in Washington D.C. They will be exposed to a wide variety of tasks related to non-profit operations and receive a formal training program taught by our leadership. Interns will work directly with ISW’s President Dr. Kimberly Kagan and the Director of Operations to assist in special projects and company initiatives as well as attend briefings and events across Washington D.C. The internship provides a great opportunity to train alongside a small and flexible management team operating in an engaging and fast-paced working environment.

Government and Media Relations Internship Summer 2020 (Apply)

ISW’s External Relations Team is focused on getting our analysis and ideas to key stakeholders in the national security community. Interns will harness their creativity to help our organization convey complex insights to multiple core audiences in a dynamic and fast-paced policy environment. Interns will have an opportunity to contribute to our communications, government relations, and partnership development projects. They will also assist with media engagement and press inquiries; publication launch campaigns; multimedia product development; Congressional outreach; public and private discussion events; network expansion; marketing and design; and other communications-related initiatives. Interns will work closely with the Director of External Relations and interact with team members across ISW. This internship provides a unique learning and growth opportunity at a premier non-profit policy research organization in Washington, D.C.

Audio Production and Social Media Marketing Internship Summer 2020 (Apply)

ISW offers a unique opportunity to candidates interested in learning about the marketing process for open-source intelligence products. Interns will have the opportunity to develop their understanding of national security threats and help the organization convey complex analysis to the general public. They will assist in social media campaigns; marketing and design; and audio production including content formulation, recording, editing, and publishing. Interns interact with team members across departments as well as external guests from congress, think tanks, government organizations, and the military.