Madison A. Estes
Associate Research Analyst


Madison A. Estes is an analyst with CNA's Strategy and Policy Analysis program. Her expertise is in nuclear weapons policy and arms control. Her research portfolio includes deterrence, extended deterrence, escalation, strategic stability, ballistic missile defense, and arms control.

Prior to joining CNA, Estes interned with the Nuclear Threat Initiative, where she worked on the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV) with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. She also interned with the U.S. Embassy in London in the Office of Network Engagement and with the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), where she was a contributing author to their quarterly publication, Trust & Verify.

Estes holds a master's degree in non-proliferation and international security from King's College London, where she completed her dissertation on the contribution of the New START Treaty to U.S.-Russia strategic stability. She received her bachelor's degree in international relations and global studies with a concentration in international security from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of the 2019 CSIS Project On Nuclear Issues Nuclear Scholar's Initiative.


October 20, 2020

According to the CNA report, Nuclear Arms Control Without a Treaty? Risks and Options After New START, if the agreement lapses in February, "The U.S. intelligence community would likely devote more resources to monitoring Russian strategic nuclear forces but have less insight and less confidence in its analytical judgment."

Politico: "Morning Defense"

September 30, 2020

Madison Estes writes, "Together, the framework of tools, objectives and the vetting process provide an anchor in a sea of uncertainty confronting defense planners."

Defense News: "Modern Nuclear-Armed Competitors Require a New U.S. Approach to Managing Escalation"

April 30, 2020

Madison Estes writes, "There are existing diplomatic mechanisms like the New START Treaty and the Strategic Stability Dialogue that may offer a logical, accessible, and low difficulty starting point for addressing many of the reviewed arguments surrounding hypersonics and bringing each side closer to achieving strategic stability."

Project on Nuclear Issues: "New Futures for Nuclear Arms Control: Examining a Framework and Possibilities With Hypersonic Weapons"

December 31, 2019

Madison Estes writes, "Novel employment of dual-capable offensive technologies, such as hypersonic weaponry, have emerged alongside this increased vulnerability and threaten to exacerbate force survivability concerns."

Royal United Services Institute: "New Futures for Nuclear Arms Control: Hypersonic Weapons"

December 17, 2019

Madison Estes and Vince Manzo write, "There's little public indication that the Trump administration is thinking about several things that will happen if the last strategic arms agreement is allowed to expire."

Defense One: "The D Brief"

August 30, 2019

Madison Estes says, "If U.S. allies, particularly within NATO that have really large anti-nuclear domestic constituencies, perceive that the United States is mismanaging this relationship with Russia and not really putting forward a serious nuclear risk-reduction strategy, it might become more difficult to really unite NATO allies around a common security strategy."

CIMSEC: "Forum for Authors and Readers" [1:35:25]