The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas

1152 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005


The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is launching a new premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Selected applicants will make their pitch for innovative policy ideas to renew American competitiveness in front of a distinguished panel of judges and live studio audience. Competitors will also have their ideas featured in official CNAS products and on social media. The Pitch’s winners will be invited to present their talk at the CNAS National Security Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 24, 2020.

Applicants should make their pitch for one of the following prompts:

  • Alliances and multilateralism: What new approach could the United States pursue to strengthen and better leverage its alliances or international institutions to advance vital U.S. interests and renew American competitiveness?
  • Economics and technology: What new idea in U.S. technology or economic policy would bolster American competitiveness in the world and enhance the prosperity of the American people?
  • Military and defense: What critical policy change – especially in the areas of strategy, force development, posture and presence, concepts of operation, recruitment and retention, the industrial base, or technology adoption – would have a significant effect in helping maintain America's strategic military advantage over China and Russia?
  • National security institutions: What is a key reform to U.S. national security institutions (including structures, processes, and human capital) that would help the United States adapt to evolving challenges in strategic competition?

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be between 25 and 35 years old, as of April 7, 2020.
  • Be able to travel to Washington, D.C. for the competition. (Please note that CNAS will not cover travel costs for selected participants.)

Complete applications include:

  • A resume
  • A 280-character (including spaces) summary of your idea
  • A 30-second video pitch of why your idea should be selected
    • Please note that your application will be judged on the quality of your idea, not the video’s production quality. Videos do not need to be high-quality and should be shot on a camera phone or comparable recorder. Please see our example video for reference.

If you have any questions about the application process, please see the FAQs or email

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM EDT on March 2, 2020. Decisions will be conveyed via email to all applicants in mid-March.

If a prospective applicant is unable to submit the required video due to disability, please contact at CNAS to obtain a reasonable accommodation.