Richard Fontaine is the President of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as a Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow at CNAS from 2009-2012 and previously as foreign policy advisor to Senator John McCain for more than five years. He has also worked at the State Department, the National Security Council, and on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Mr. Fontaine served as foreign policy advisor to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign and, following the election, as the minority deputy staff director on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Prior to this, he served as associate director for Near Eastern affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) from 2003-04. He also worked in the NSC’s Asian Affairs directorate, where he covered Southeast Asian issues.
During his time at the State Department, Mr. Fontaine worked in the office of former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and in the department’s South Asia bureau, working on issues related to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Mr. Fontaine began his foreign policy career as a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia. He also spent a year teaching English in Japan.
A native of New Orleans, Mr. Fontaine graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in International Relations from Tulane University. He also holds a M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, and he attended Oxford University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He also served as the chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.
Mr. Fontaine lives in Falls Church, Va., with his wife and four children.