Bob Work to be CEO of CNAS

Bob Work to be CEO of CNAS

Undersecretary of the Navy Bob Work has been selected as the new chief executive office of the Center for a New American Security, The Cable has learned.

The board of directors of CNAS, the think tank begun in 2008 by former Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy, chose Work at their meeting Tuesday to fill the void left by Nate Fick, who stepped down last November to become CEO of Endgame, Inc., a cyber security firm. A formal announcement is expected Wednesday, but The Cable obtained the press release in advance. Work begins work at CNAS on April 22.

“Bob Work is in the very front ranks of those thinking about and working to strengthen our national security,” CNAS Board Chairman Richard Danzig said in the release. “More than a thought leader, he is also a widely admired leader in all dimensions. His qualities of character combine with qualities of mind to make him a worthy successor to Nate Fick and CNAS co-founders Kurt Campbell and Michèle Flournoy as the new head of CNAS. We are delighted to have him.”

The Cable reported that Campbell is expected to be named the next chairman of the board, although that process has not yet begun. Flournoy has been a member of the board for some time.

“Bob brings to CNAS his vast substantive expertise on many of the most critical defense issues facing the nation, along with the leadership experience and management acumen gained in running the day-to-day operations of the Department of the Navy,” Flournoy said in the release. “Bob’s incisive intellect and strategic vision will be invaluable as he leads CNAS into its next phase. I enjoyed working with him immensely during our time together at the Pentagon and look forward to working with him again as he assumes his new role.”

Work’s selection completes the reorganization of the CNAS management team. President Richard Fontaine, former advisor to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), replaced John Nagl last May. Nagl left to be a research fellow at the Naval Academy’s history center and then subsequently announced he would leave Annapolis to become the headmaster at the Haverford School for boys. CNAS also recently acquired Shawn Brimley as vice president and director of studies.

“Bob Work is renowned both as a leader and a top thinker on national security affairs, and I am delighted at the opportunity to work with him,” said Fontaine in the release. “He joins CNAS at a time when its mission — to develop strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies — is of paramount importance.”

As undersecretary, Work has been the principal assistant to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and the chief operations and management office at the Navy. He had a 27-year career in the Marines, which included commanding an artillery battalion and serving as base commander at Camp Fuji, Japan. He was Danzig’s military assistant when Danzig was Secretary of the Navy. He also worked for years as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Studies. 

“Since its inception in 2007, CNAS has established a reputation for innovative, pragmatic and bi-partisan thinking about national security affairs,” Work said in the release. “I am both honored and excited at the prospect of leading such a great organization, and working with superb people like Richard Danzig, Michèle Flournoy, Richard Armitage, Richard Fontaine and Shawn Brimley to take CNAS to the next level.”