Students gain insights into American national security in Washington, D.C. 

Using funding from the National Security Strategy Studies Program, fourteen students and four faculty participated in the Summer National Security Staff Ride from May 22 to May 27 in Washington, D.C. Through first-person visits and discussions with representatives of the Legislative and Executive branches as well as leading policy experts in local universities and think-tanks, participating students gained unique insights into the ideas shaping contemporary American national security. 

“We are very pleased to give our students this opportunity to meet with national security policymakers,” said George Reed, dean of the College of Public Service. “They received a front-row seat to the policy process and benefitted from the opportunity to interact with some of the nation’s most promising future military leaders. We are thankful for the contributions of the Anschutz Foundation that made this trip possible.” 

The week-long program was designed around the concept of a “staff ride,” which is a training methodology that gives military officers and personnel a deeper understanding of a significant historical battle by visiting the site in person. Students engage in interactive discussion of the decisions and actions made by commanders and units. Through the analysis of the overall strategies used during the historical event, participants gain crucial insights into the challenges faced by the leaders of the past in order to apply those insights to their own decision-making. 

The Summer National Security Staff Ride adapted this pedagogical technique. Rather than studying an individual battle from history, students were introduced to the intricate and multivalent “battlefield” on which American foreign and defense policy is formed by leaders in Washington, D.C.  

Eight of the participating students were from UCCS including those from the College of Public Service and the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences Department of Political Science. The other participants joined from the USAF Academy’s Martinson Honors Program.  

About the National Security Strategic Studies Partnership (N3SP)   

The National Security Strategic Studies Partnership (N3SP) is a cooperative effort by the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the United States Air Force Academy that brings together Colorado’s unique resources in higher education, private industry, as well as civilian and military agencies to provide thought leadership in national security with a particular interest in space and cyber security. The N3SP creates exceptional opportunities for students and faculty from participating campuses to enrich the study of key strategic national security issues through events allowing them to engage firsthand with experts from around Colorado and across the nation. Programs are open to students from Colorado universities that are members of the N3SP. The Partnership is made possible by a generous gift from the Anschutz Foundation.