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The National Defense Fellowship is an intensive program run in partnership between the Alexander Hamilton Society and the Ronald Reagan Institute. The program aims to educate about 20 advanced undergraduate and graduate students in the vocabulary, theory, practice, and organization of U.S. defense policy. The fellowship has two primary components, participating in the Peace Through Strength Boot Camp and attending the Reagan National Defense Forum.

Our nation’s students have never been less prepared for careers in military affairs. Universities have overseen a steep decline in the teaching of military history; more than seventy percent of the nation’s 18-24 year-olds are ineligible for military service; and young Americans are generally not knowledgeable about the military’s basic characteristics. College graduates are entering the defense workforce without a basic understanding of national defense policy.

This generation of research assistants and analysts at think-tanks, staff and legislative assistants on Capitol Hill, and special assistants at the Pentagon and across the Executive Branch face a steep learning curve in the theory, application, and even the vocabulary of working in the Washington defense world. The national security workforce is under severe stress. The cultivation of a new generation of leaders is critical to our future.

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PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH BOOT CAMP

The first component of the fellowship is an intensive four-day boot camp at the Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington DC, which will be held on Thursday, September 26, 2024 through Sunday, September 29, 2024. The program is a unique opportunity to learn from the nation’s foremost defense policy thought-leaders and practitioners and hear from distinguished senior leaders in the national security and military communities. Students will emerge with a strong fundamental understanding in defense affairs, covering specific topics such as: budgeting, strategy, civil-military relations, force structure, readiness, the industrial base, the future of warfare, etc. Students will also learn about the key actors and institutions involved in making defense policy.

Each day consists of morning and afternoon seminars led by leading instructors complimented by guest speakers. Students are assigned readings ahead of time. Lodging, meals, a transportation stipend, and a course reader are provided.


REAGAN NATIONAL DEFENSE FORUM

The second component is attendance at the Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF), the nation’s premier gathering of defense professionals, held between Friday, December 6, 2024 and Saturday, December 7, 2024 at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The conference is an unparalleled opportunity for students to not only hear from, but also interact with, defense policy leaders, such as Secretaries of Defense, Directors of CIA, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Combatant Commanders, and industry executives, and understand the shaping forces of national security.

Please direct questions about the National Defense Fellowship to Thomas Kenna at tkenna@reaganfoundation.org.

 

2023 students

2022 students

2021 Instructors and students

2020 Instructors and students