CNA's approach to research is a modern iteration of the Newtonian principle that complex, dynamic processes are best understood through direct observation of events and people.
That was the methodology CNA analysts first applied in the 1940s when they pioneered the field of operations research by helping the Navy address the German U-boat threat. Not content to study the problem from afar, this small group of MIT scientists insisted on deploying with Navy forces in order to observe operations and collect the data needed for meaningful analyses. Their groundbreaking work, and the anti-submarine warfare equations it produced, set a standard for operations research methods that CNA has maintained for 75 years.
Today, with more than 500 professionals at our headquarters and 50 researchers in the field, CNA still takes a multi-disciplinary, real-world approach to our work. On-site analysts carefully observe all aspects of a process—people, decisions, actions, consequences—and then collaborate with a headquarters-based research team to assess data and arrive at findings.
CNA's objective, empirical research and analysis helps decision makers develop sound policies, make better-informed decisions, and manage programs more effectively. Our work, which in its early decades focused solely on defense-related matters, has grown to include investigation and analysis of a broad range of national security, defense, and public interest issues including education, homeland security and air traffic management. Through our Center for Naval Analyses and Institute for Public Research, we provide public-sector organizations with the tools they need to tackle the complex challenges of making government more efficient and keeping our country safe and strong.
Who We Are
At CNA, we analyze and solve problems by getting as close as possible to the people, the data – and the problems themselves – in order to find the clear, credible answers government leaders need to choose the best course of action.
CNA's leadership team is comprised of men and women drawn from the fields of business, government, public service, and the military. Their decades of experience, and records of accomplishment, lend substantive experience to our work.
We take a systematic, evidence-based approach to problem solving. We define the problem, collect data through observation and experiment, and formulate and test hypotheses, to deliver impartial answers grounded in a thorough understanding of the issues.
Note to reporters and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as "CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization located in Arlington, VA."
3003 Washington Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201 USA
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Business Development Contacts
If you’re with the Department of Defense or a foundation, contact:
Executive Director, CNA Military Advisory Board and Sr. Director, Strategic Development
If you’re a state or local government customer or with a non-DOD federal department or agency, contact:
Vice President, Business Development