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The Problem

Our nation’s students have never been less educated on or less prepared for a career 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 millennials are generally not knowledgeable about the military’s basic characteristics. Students are graduating from college and entering the defense workforce without a proper and fundamental framework for 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.

*Admission to this program is by nomination only.

The Peace Through Strength Boot Camp

The Peace Through Strength Boot Camp will be an intensive four-day program run in partnership between the Alexander Hamilton Society and the Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington D.C. The program aims to educate ~20 advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent graduates about the vocabulary, theory, practice, and organization of U.S. defense policy.

The program will be 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. Over time, the Boot Camp will serve as a pipeline of young defense talent and vetting agency for key defense nodes.

Note: Due to constraints imposed by the ongoing public health crisis, our inaugural program will take place virtually. In the future, however, this program — including lodging, meals, and a transportation stipend for participants — will take place in Washington, DC.

Please direct questions to

Schedule & Agenda

Thursday, Oct 22  
6:00pm - 8:00pm Introductions and Guest Speaker, H.R. McMaster
Friday, Oct 23  
10:00am - 1:00pm Session 1: Introduction to National Defense, Raphael Cohen
1:00pm - 2:00pm BREAK
2:00pm - 5:00pm Session 2: Developing & Implementing Defense Strategy, Eric Edelman
Saturday, Oct 24  
10:00am - 1:00pm Session 3: Budget, Industrial Base, and Policy, Bill Greenwalt
1:00pm - 2:00pm BREAK
2:00pm - 5:00pm Session 4: Force Structure & US Weapons Capabilities, Thomas Mahnken
Sunday, Oct 25  
10:00am - 12:00pm Session 5: Future of Technology in Warfare, Thomas Mahnken
12:00pm - 1:00pm Closing Session

Materials: For attendees, all books & course packets will be provided.


Meet our 2020 students & instructors!