Mission Statement

To advance leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom, and human dignity, in the United States and around the world.

The McCain Institute for International Leadership is a center for research and action in national security and foreign policy. It seeks to promote leadership and decision-making, in the best American tradition of open inquiry, spirited discussion and practical action. Through its policy research, events, fellows programs, and other activities, the Institute aims to inform, convene, train and assist current and future leaders from the United States and abroad.

Guided by values that have animated the career of Senator John McCain, the Institute is committed to:

  • Sustaining America’s global leadership
  • Upholding freedom, democracy, and human rights as universal human values
  • Supporting humanitarian goals
  • Maintaining a strong, smart national defense
  • Serving causes greater than self-interest

Based in Washington, D.C., the McCain Institute is part of Arizona State University. Its work is focused on achieving both immediate and long-range impact, through activities that maximize the ability of leaders to make enlightened decisions in pursuit of the American and global interest. Four central themes guide all of the Institute’s work:

  1. Provide decision recommendations for leaders through open debate and rigorous analysis, including by convening experts, publishing policy-relevant research, and holding decision-making exercises using cutting-edge technology.
  2. Identify and train new national security leaders, both American and foreign, in the public, private enterprise, and military spheres, including through fellowships and targeted training.
  3. Play a unique role in a crowded intellectual space, including through the Sedona Forum and the McCain Debates and by serving as Washington’s preeminent “decision tank.”
  4. Promote and preserve the McCain family spirit of character-driven leadership and national service, including by hosting the McCain family archives.

The McCain Institute measures success by its ability to have tangible impact on the nation’s and the world’s most important issues and debates. It aims to challenge conventional wisdom, make action recommendations, attract and train high-quality staff and fellows, and influence policy. It draws upon Senator and Mrs. McCain’s ability to convene leaders and focus attention on issues and events, and on Arizona State University’s world-class faculty, institutions, and facilities.