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Defense and Foreign Policy Intern

*To be considered for an internship, you must apply directly through our online application here.* 

Cato Defense and Foreign Policy (DFP) interns conduct a variety of research assistance tasks, including writing research briefs and memos, conducting literature reviews to help policy staff better understand broad topics, and helping to edit work. DFP interns attend both internal and external events, learn about a wide range of foreign policy and defense topics, and provide programmatic support. Individuals with a passion for advancing a grand strategy of restraint are especially encouraged to apply.


  • Research projects on a wide range of foreign policy topics—from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and all points in between—as well as defense, homeland security, and counterterrorism
  • Attend Hill briefings and panels at other think tanks
  • Compile foreign and defense policy news articles and op-eds


  • Strong research and writing skills
  • Dedicated interest in foreign and defense policy
  • Background in computational social science or computer science (especially fluency in R and Python) a plus but not required
  • Graduate students (in political science, international relations, or history) are preferred or undergraduates with a solid foundation in international relations or international history

Cato scholars seek to promote a better understanding around the world of the benefits of market-liberal policies and institutions, openness and engagement in the global economy, and principled and restrained foreign policy. Those benefits include notable improvements in human well‐being as countries increase their levels of economic, civil, and personal freedoms. The United States should thus engage the world, trade freely, and work with other countries on common concerns, but avoid trying to dominate the globe militarily. 

About the Cato Internship Program

Cato’s paid internships are for undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students, law students, and early-career professionals who have a strong commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace—principles that, taken together, constitute libertarianism, known alternately as “classical liberalism,” “market liberalism,” or, to many of our international friends, just “liberalism.” 

All Cato interns attend the same intensive seminar series, which covers a broad range of history, philosophy, policy, and professional development topics. Interns also aid with events and occasionally help Cato staff with other day-to-day needs. 

Interns receive competitive compensation. Part-time positions are adjusted accordingly and carry a minimum of 25 hrs./wk. Program participants must be available in person in Washington, D.C.  

For more information about the internship program and experience, we encourage you to explore our website.  

If you have any questions, feel free to email Cortez Bartolome, Programs Coordinator, at