75 years of service to our nation


Paul J. Saunders
Research Scientist


Paul Saunders is an expert on Russia, overseeing research on that country's foreign energy policy, foreign policy, national security policy and domestic politics, as well as U.S.-Russian relations. He also focuses on climate change and national security, energy geopolitics, deterrence and European security.

Prior to his affiliation with CNA, Saunders served as Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, as Director of the Nixon Center and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Speaker's Advisory Group on Russia of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Saunders is the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Center for the National Interest and Associate Publisher of The National Interest. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Energy Innovation Reform Project. Saunders is a frequent commentator for national broadcast and digital media and is a columnist for Al-Monitor, writing about Russia.

Saunders holds both an M.A. and a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan. He is fluent in Russian and German.


August 16, 2017

The Tokyo Foundation publishes “Pyongyang’s Nuclear Warheads: Pursuing Options Short of War” by CNA analyst Paul Saunders

April 5, 2017

The National Interest quotes CNA analysts Paul Saunders, Ph.D. and Michael Kofman in "Why are Russia and Turkey Holding Joint Naval Exercises in the Black Sea?"

March 7, 2017

Al-Monitor quotes CNA analysts Michael Kofman and Paul Saunders in "Is Spotlight on Trump’s Russia Ties Slowing US-Russia Cooperation in Syria?"