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Nilanthi Samaranayake leads research and analysis for CNA

Nilanthi Samaranayake leads research and analysis for CNA

 October 24, 2022

CNA is led by talented women experts dedicated to the safety and security of their nation. One such leader is Nilanthi Samaranayake, who directs CNA's Strategy and Policy Analysis Program. Nilanthi leads a team of analysts who conduct multidisciplinary research and analysis for civilian and military leaders on maritime strategy, nuclear policy, alliance management, Arctic strategy and policy, and non-traditional security. 

Working as a CNA analyst 

Before joining CNA, Nilanthi worked for a decade at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC, where she analyzed public opinion.

Since joining CNA in 2010, Nilanthi has been an analyst, leading several studies on Indian Ocean strategy, including the US-India naval relationship. Nilanthi provides analytic support to civilian and military leaders on US alliances and strategic partnerships, contested sovereignty and US basing rights, the development of regional and trans-regional strategies, non-traditional security issues, and small states in an era of great power competition.

Writing and speaking on national security issues

Nilanthi writes and speaks widely on national security issues, and her analysis has appeared in Foreign Policy, Defense One, Lawfare, War on the Rocks, and other outlets. Nilanthi has appeared in media such as Al Jazeera, the New York Times, and Nikkei Asian Review.

Her publications include Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh, and Brahmaputra River Politics (Marine Corps University Press, 2018) and China's Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries (US Institute of Peace, 2019).

Nilanthi earned an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Inspired by Nilanthi's work?

CNA women are thriving in exciting roles, leading teams and pioneering work that ensures the safety and security of the US.

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