Research Assistant: Foreign and Defense Policy; Congress, Budgets, and National Defense Planning

Washington D.C.
Aug 15, 2018
Sep 19, 2018
Analyst, Research
Career Level
Entry Level
Full Time

The American Enterprise Institute seeks a full-time research assistant to work on issues related to the US defense budget, Congress’ role in national defense, military modernization, Pentagon reform, and changes to force planning or strategic guidance.


Primary responsibilities include analyzing raw defense-spending data from the Pentagon and congressional primary sources to support various products, including media interviews, PowerPoint presentations, op-eds, and reports. Candidates should possess demonstrated experience with detail-oriented quantitative data analysis and communication of analytical conclusions through concise and precise writing. Additional duties include organizing and coordinating public and private events with high-level interlocutors and conducting outreach at the direction of scholars to create lasting coalitions. This position also requires the ability to effectively communicate with AEI colleagues.


Candidates must excel at administrative support and be comfortable preparing a principal for frequent briefings with government, media, and military personnel on defense budgets, American force structure, and the legislative political dynamics pertaining to national defense. The ideal candidate will possess a demonstrated ability to thrive in fast-paced environments. Experience with general defense issues is a plus, as is familiarity with the federal budgeting process, military operations or organization, and weapons systems. Knowledge of foreign militaries, regional dynamics, or language skills are subordinate to effective writing, a knack for data collection and organization, and experience visualizing complicated systems or data sets.


When preparing your application, please include a resume, cover letter, a general writing sample, transcript (for undergraduate and graduate work, if applicable), and a research sample, to consist of ONE of the following:

  • A PowerPoint presentation you produced;
  • An Excel sheet you produced;
  • A graphic or data visualization you produced; or
  • A position paper that either:
    • Outlines a proposal and a series of assumptions needed to arrive at some quantitative conclusion or definition of a term, or
    • Briefly (under 1,000 words) discusses salient aspects of a complex and pertinent topic.




About AEI


The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world.  The work of its scholars and staff advances ideas rooted in a belief in democracy, free enterprise, American strength and global leadership, solidarity with those at the periphery of our society, and a pluralistic, entrepreneurial culture.


AEI is committed to making the intellectual, moral, and practical case for expanding freedom, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening the free enterprise system in America and around the world.  Its work explores ideas that further these goals, and AEI scholars take part in this pursuit with academic freedom.  AEI operates independently of any political party and has no institutional positions.  Its scholars’ conclusions are fueled by rigorous, data-driven research and broad-ranging evidence.