Job Description
Job Title Director - Joining Forces Initiative
Job ID 733828
Begin Date 6/4/13
Location Washington,  DC 20005
Other Location New York, NY 10001
The task of the Director will be to implement the Joining Forces Initiative––cultivate and grow an international group of retired senior military, law enforcement and security sector leaders to work with Human Rights First in engaging in national security policy discourse at the national, regional, and global levels. Beginning with the issue of ending torture and cruel treatment, we will build on the expertise we have developed as a leading advocate for human rights in the national security context in the United States and scale this model to the international level for greater and more systemic impact.

Human Rights First seeks to disrupt the prevailing convention that respect for human rights weakens security and build in its place a broad, pro-security consensus that defends human rights.  The director will build the international group; deploy it effectively to accomplish concrete objectives; integrate it with existing anti-torture initiatives at the national, regional and global levels and, where appropriate, with U.S. policies in such fields as promoting security sector reform and counterterrorism cooperation.

Over the last decade, Human Rights First has gained prominence for our work to establish a powerful coalition of U.S. retired generals and admirals—including a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former Commandant of the Marine Corps—who, in the wake of the egregious abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, argued publicly that torture was illegal, immoral, and undermined our national security. Working together, we challenged the misguided notion that human rights and security are opposing values in a zero-sum game and changed the nature of the debate about torture in the United States.

Building on this experience, Human Rights First is implementing the Joining Forces Initiative, developing a unique new resource to increase the capacity of human rights organizations to engage effectively in policy debates in the field of national security, an international group of distinguished retired senior military, intelligence and law enforcement leaders.  Members of the group publicly endorse the absolute prohibition of torture and endorse the view that torture is counterproductive in protecting security. The initiative will strengthen the fight against torture by building a prevailing anti-torture consensus among security practitioners at the national, regional and international levels. 


Leadership and Strategic Direction
  • Lead and direct Human Rights First’s initiative to build and deploy an international group of retired senior military, intelligence and law enforcement leaders to contribute to international efforts to end torture and to promote security policies that adhere to international human rights standards.
  • Develop concrete, measurable objectives and a comprehensive strategy and work plan, including determining specific activities in target countries, based on an analysis of opportunities where Human Rights First, working with local partners and the international group can make a meaningful impact.
  • Recruit members of the group from diverse geographical regions and with appropriate seniority and expertise in different branches of the security services.
  • Maintain regular contact with members of the group, keeping them informed about relevant activities and development in the initiative and consulting them as appropriate.
  • Develop a strong public profile for this initiative and the international group, including a visible public launch, the production of news-generating materials and the development of strategies aimed at educating and engaging national security thought leaders, policy makers, the media, experts, and popular audiences.
  • Identify key target countries where the group can work that make optimal use of the strategic strengths of Human Rights First with respect to its capacity to engage with and influence U.S. policy.
  • Cultivate and manage strategic relationships, coalitions, and partnerships to advance our objectives, including with U.S. federal agencies, Congress, national security think tanks and policy centers, national security scholars, and other experts. To include:
  • Outreach to security institutions, including think tanks, governmental and non-governmental organizations that may serve as operational partners or provide venues for initiative related activities or events.
  • Outreach to relevant international and regional multilateral human rights mechanisms.
  • Outreach to local human rights groups in target countries and potential target countries, in consultation with the Director of the Human Rights Defenders Program, as well as international human rights groups involved in combating torture and other national security abuses.
  • Outreach to security sector reform experts in policy think tanks, academia and government.
  • Outreach to U.S. officials and policy makers involved in security sector reform programs in countries of interest to the initiative in consultation with the Senior Advocacy Strategist.
  • Build and maintain a network of such experts and practitioners to the benefit of the initiative.
Research, Policy Analysis, and Advocacy
  • Lead initiative efforts to advance reforms that prevent torture and promote national security policies that adhere to international standards in specific country contexts.
  • Lead missions by Human Rights First staff and by members of the international group to target countries.
  • Prepare background materials and talking points for Human Rights First delegates taking part in such missions.
  • Identify and seize opportunities for Human Rights First to engage in the international policy debate about national security and counterterrorism to effectively make the case that protecting national security is fully compatible with upholding respect for human rights.
  • Organize panels and events in the United States and elsewhere supportive of initiative goals.
Management Responsibilities
  • Lead a team of professionals, as assigned, to achieve initiative objectives.
  • Supervise assigned support staff.
  • Supervise consultants, as necessary.
  • Monitor assignment of and assist in prioritizing tasks and projects, ensuring that clear expectations are set and standards are understood.
  • Measure and evaluate the results of delegated work against clear objectives.
  • Provide mentorship and professional development opportunities, such as lobbying visits, strategy sessions, writing projects, and training, and advance approaches that encourage collaboration, innovation and professional development.
  • Work closely with Human Rights First’s Development department to identify sources of funding for the initiative, support fundraising efforts through grant writing and editing, and outreach to key donors and foundations to ensure long-term sustainability of the initiative’s activities.
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS:  Advanced degree in law, national security policy, international affairs, political science, human rights, or other relevant discipline.

ANNUAL SALARY:  Competitive with comprehensive benefits package

START DATE:   Immediately

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:  June 24, 2013.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to apply early.


Please complete the online application found at our website under ABOUT US / JOB OPPORTUNITIES links.

You will be requested to provide:
·Resume (upload)
·Cover letter (secondary upload*)
·Writing sample (secondary upload*)
·Names and contact details for three (3) references (enter online)

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Applicants will receive a confirmation email with their username and password once they’ve created a profile.  Please keep this information to access your application and make changes at any time.

Only selected applicants will be contacted for phone or in-person interviews.  NO PHONE CALLS, PLEASE.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington DC. We build respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny, and violence.

Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, developing, and promoting staff across all programs and departments from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives help make our advocacy work stronger and more effective.
Required Skills •Significant knowledge of and leadership experience on national security, counterterrorism or security sector reform policy, including advancing human rights protections as part of those policies.

•Strong professional profile, credibility, and experience in making or influencing government policies and practices in the areas of national security and human rights.

•Demonstrated commitment to human rights promotion and protection.

•Excellent communication skills; demonstrated abilities to translate highly technical material for a variety of audiences and effectively write and edit the written work of others.

•Proven ability to work efficiently and effectively under pressure; to work successfully across organization lines and with a diverse team of colleagues; to work in a variety of national and international settings (including governmental, legal, advocacy, and the media).

•Strong leadership, strategic, organizational and analytical skills; good judgment; a high degree of initiative; and the desire and ability to thrive and multitask in a demanding, fast-paced, professional environment.

•Excellent interpersonal skills.

•Experience working with the press to achieve advocacy goals.

•Strong public speaking skills.


•Familiarity with or experience of service in the military, law enforcement or security sector.

•Experience of working in the Global South and of working in cooperation with human rights defenders and other stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.

•Knowledge of and experience in U.S. government and legislative policy development and decision making, and in the workings of one or more branches of the federal government, in relation to national security, counterterrorism, and human rights.

•Knowledge of languages other than English, especially Spanish, French or Arabic.

•Familiarity with global anti-torture mechanisms and other relevant international human rights mechanisms.
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