CNA (nonprofit)

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Founded1942; 82 years ago (1942)
FocusResearch and analysis services
Key people
Katherine A.W. McGrady, President and CEO

CNA (The Center for Naval Analyses), formerly known as the CNA Corporation, is a federally-funded nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Arlington County, Virginia. It has around 625 employees.[1]


CNA traces its origins to the Antisubmarine Warfare Operations Group (ASWORG), formed in 1942 to assist the U.S. Navy with scientific advice for finding and attacking U-boats that were sinking commercial ships off the Atlantic coast of North America.[2] Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics Professor Philip M. Morse founded ASWORG at the request of Capt. Wilder D. Baker, then commander of the Antisubmarine Warfare Unit of the Atlantic Fleet.[3] Morse is considered the father of operations research in the United States.[4] By the end of World War II, the organization had expanded to almost 80 scientists serving on eight military bases in the Atlantic and Pacific as well as at the Washington, D.C. headquarters. They advised U.S. forces on air, antiaircraft, submarine, amphibious, and antisubmarine operations.[5] Though the group served the military, it was designed to be civilian and independent in order to preserve the objectivity of its analysis, and was administered by Columbia University.[6]

In 1945, the Department of the Navy decided to support the continuation of the group under the name the Operations Evaluation Group (OEG), which exists to this day as a division within CNA.[7] OEG grew rapidly during the Korean War, during which one of its analysts, Irving Shaknov, was killed in combat.[8] In 1962, OEG was merged with smaller naval advisory groups to form the Center for Naval Analyses.[9] The first ongoing analysis support program for a non-defense agency began in 1991 for the Federal Aviation Administration.[10] All non-defense work at CNA was brought together under its Institute for Public Research in 1993, with the Center for Naval Analyses remaining as the other division of CNA.[9]


CNA consists of two primary components. One, also called CNA, is a Federally-Funded Research & Development Center (FFRDC) focused primarily on the US Department of Navy and secondarily on other US Defense Department organizations. The other large component focuses on civilian government agencies and departments. There also is a third, much smaller, component, which is the CNA Military Advisory Board.

Center for Naval Analyses[edit]

The Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) is a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. It also provides research and analysis services to other military and government agencies to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. national defense efforts.

This FFRDC has seven divisions: Advanced Technology & Systems Analysis, China Studies, Resource Analysis, the Marine Corps Program, the Operations Evaluation Group, the Center for Strategic Studies, and the Special Operations Program.[11] These divisions address issues of preparedness, operations evaluation, systems analysis, foreign affairs, strategic relationships, humanitarian operations, logistics, and manpower.

Through the Center’s Field Program, approximately 50 analysts are assigned to Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Commands around the world. Assignments range from carrier strike groups and Marine expeditionary forces to the U.S. Pacific Command. Field analysts are included in all functions of the command and provide real-time analytical support on operational problems of immediate concern to the military.[12] Mark Geis, formerly vice president and director of CNA's Operations Evaluation Group and of CNA's Marine Corps Program, became the executive vice president of the Center in 2015.[13]

Institute for Public Research (IPR)[edit]

The Institute for Public Research conducts research and analysis on domestic policy issues for federal, state, and local government agencies, including the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the United States Department of Education.[1]

It has four divisions: Education; Energy, Water, & Climate; Enterprise Systems and Data Analysis; and Safety & Security.[14]

CNA Military Advisory Board[edit]

The CNA Military Advisory Board is an American defense advisory group composed of retired three-star and four-star generals and admirals from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps that studies pressing issues of the day to assess their impact on America's national security.


CNA Headquarters in Arlington, VA

Katherine A.W. McGrady, Ph.D. is President and Chief Executive Officer of CNA.[15] She was previously CNA's Chief Operating Officer.[16]

Board of trustees[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hiring PhDs: Interview with the Director of Human Resources at CNA Corporation",, archived from the original on June 15, 2018, retrieved September 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Tidman, Keith (1984). The Operations Evaluation Group. Annapolis, Maryland: the United States Naval Institute. p. 36. ISBN 0-87021-273-7.
  3. ^ Morse, Philip (1977). In at the Beginnings. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. p. 174-175. ISBN 0-262-13124-2.
  4. ^ Kaplan, Edward (2011). "Chapter 2: Operations Research and Intelligence Analysis". In Fischhoff, Baruch; Chauvin, Cherie (eds.). Intelligence Analysis. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-309-17698-9. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Tidman, Keith (1984). The Operations Evaluation Group. Annapolis, Maryland: the United States Naval Institute. pp. 42–45. ISBN 0-87021-273-7.
  6. ^ Tidman, Keith (1984). The Operations Evaluation Group. Annapolis, Maryland: the United States Naval Institute. p. 36. ISBN 0-87021-273-7.
  7. ^ Tidman, Keith (1984). The Operations Evaluation Group. Annapolis, Maryland: the United States Naval Institute. p. 97. ISBN 0-87021-273-7.
  8. ^ Flynn, Sean (2013). "Flynn, John P., Jr.". In Bielakowski, Alexander (ed.). Ethnic and Racial Minorities in the U.S. Military: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1598844283. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  9. ^ a b A History of the Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (Report). Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress. June 1995. p. 39.
  10. ^ Boroughs, Don (2017). The Story of CNA: Civilian Scientists in War and Peace (PDF). p. 53. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  11. ^ CNA, Centers and Divisions, archived from the original on March 3, 2022, retrieved September 1, 2017.
  12. ^ CNA, Field Program, retrieved October 6, 2015.
  13. ^ CNA (July 13, 2015), CNA Names Mark Geis Executive Vice President of the Center for Naval Analyses.
  14. ^ CNA, Solution Centers, archived from the original on March 3, 2022, retrieved September 4, 2015.
  15. ^ CNA, Katherine A.W. McGrady, Ph.D., retrieved June 8, 2023.
  16. ^ Charity Brown (September 7, 2009), "New at the Top: Katherine A.W. McGrady", The Washington Post.
  17. ^ "Washington area appointments and promotions for the week of Oct. 1". Washington Post. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  18. ^ Hellman, Gregory (December 20, 2017). "House GOP ditches plan for full-year Pentagon funding". Politico. Retrieved 12 January 2018. Sean Stackley, a former assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, is joining CNA's Board of Trustees.
  19. ^ CNA. "CNA Board of Trustees". Archived from the original on Dec 17, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.

External links[edit]