Research Assistant: Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, Coalition Defense of Taiwan

Job Locations US-DC-Washington
Job ID
# of Openings
Foreign and Defense Policy


The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is seeking a full-time, in-person Research Assistant to support a critical new initiative, Coalition Defense of Taiwan, to identify alternative strategies for the defense of Taiwan. The project, a partnership with the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), will detail US interests and objectives vis-à-vis Taiwan, the Chinese threat to Taiwan, prospects and strategies for forming a regional and global deterrent coalition, possible coalition interests and objectives vis-à-vis Taiwan, and recommended coalition courses of action. Through tested methodology, deep subject matter expertise, and leveraging of policy-community knowledge, this project will make a significant contribution to understanding the requirements for successful coalition deterrence and warfighting in the Indo-Pacific. This project is scheduled for a one-year term, with the potential to be extended past May 2024.


The research assistant will primarily be responsible for providing support on research, writing, and editing in support of the project leads, Daniel Blumenthal and Frederick W. Kagan, and will work closely with the project coordinator for the initiative. Other duties include facilitating planning exercises, working groups, and other events; supervising interns; and collaborating with the ISW analytical team to ensure project cohesion. Research assistants may have opportunities to publish work or receive authorial credit on project deliverables.


This position requires excellent writing, communication, research, and organizational skills. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated interest in Asian studies, should be academically curious and able to take initiative on research lines of inquiry, and must be able to manage multiple competing priorities at once. Applicants must be proficient in Mandarin Chinese.

Qualified candidates should submit a resume, cover letter demonstrating their interest in AEI’s mission, unofficial academic transcripts, and a 500-word writing sample with their application. The anticipated start date for this position is as soon as possible.


  • Research, edit, and assist in production of policy publications with an emphasis on security and politics in the Indo-Pacific.
    • The research assistant will join a team of four others at AEI. Some researchers primarily focus on gathering the extant Western research on China and potential coalition partners relating to the project’s mission, synthesizing and digesting that research, and preparing analytical inputs. Other researchers conduct deep-dive research in support of the task of understanding Chinese Communist Party decision-making and strategic calculus.
  • Conduct frequent spot research and short-term memo writing for project execution.
  • Prepare read-ahead materials and presentations in advance of each planning exercise, working group session, and other events.
  • Collaborate with team to collectively produce research, intelligence assessments, and other work for use in drafting papers or to present to project leads.
  • Supervise the work of interns under the oversight of the project coordinator: meet regularly with interns, translate research requests into tasks with steps and timelines, review intern products, and coordinate meetings between interns and project coordinator.

Physical requirements and working conditions at AEI:

  • The employee is regularly expected to stand, sit, talk, hear, and use hands and fingers to operate a computer, telephone, and keyboard. This job requires close vision abilities due to computer work.
  • The employee must be able to lift up to 30 pounds at times.
  • The employee must be able to work in a confined area.
  • Moderate noise (e.g., from computers, phone, printers, and light traffic) is expected.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential responsibilities associated with this position.


  • BA in international relations, history, Asian studies, or a related field.
  • 0-2 years of previous full-time work experience
  • Familiarity with policy issues regarding to cross-strait relations and Asian security challenges.
  • Mandarin Chinese language is required.


AEI offers generous benefits, including 18 days of paid leave (15 days of paid annual leave and 3 personal/floating holidays); 12 days of paid sick leave; paid family leave; medical and dental coverage, in addition to a health savings account; medical and dependent care FSA; a tuition assistance program of up to $5,200; life and disability insurance at no cost to employees; and a 403b retirement plan with a 12% contribution from AEI, among other benefits. For more information, you can see a full summary of our benefits here.


Compensation is based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: scope and responsibilities of the position; a candidate's full-time, applicable work experience; key skills and qualifications; as well as internal and external market considerations. The salary range for this full-time, exempt position is $50,000 - $54,000. Salary is just one component of AEI’s total compensation package for employees.


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