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Call for NPEC Fellowship Applications 2020
Apr 17, 2020
Complete List of Praise for NPEC Fellowship (PDF) 219.58 KB

Fall 2020

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) Public Policy Fellowship is designed to give congressional, executive, and diplomatic staff and journalists the scientific, technological, legal, and historical background needed to gain a deeper understanding of civil and military nuclear policy. The program aims to cultivate a bipartisan community of practical experts focused on nuclear policy issues.
Applications will be taken from full-time legislative directors, legislative assistants, legislative correspondents, and professional committee staff members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate; executive branch staffers in intelligence, defense, and foreign affairs; full-time military, fellows detailed to the Hill or the executive branch; diplomatic staff; and journalists.
Fellowship Description:
NPEC will hold eleven lunchtime seminars between September and December 2020. Sessions are held on Friday afternoons. To recieve a course completion certificate requires attendance of six or more of the eleven seminars. Three of these six must include specified priority lectures. Individuals who complete the program will also have the opportunity to participate in an intensive day-long retreat in early 2020. All events will take place in Washington, DC.
The seminars are taught by Henry Sokolski, executive director of NPEC, former Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and military senate legislative assistant and special assistant for nuclear energy policy. 

Applicants should submit a current resume and a cover letter (no longer than two pages). The cover letter should explain the applicant's interest in the seminars and how the seminars would help them do their jobs. The application should also include contact details for a recommender. 
Apply here or via email to
Applications for the Fall 2020 session of the NPEC Public Policy Fellowship must be submitted by 5:00pm on June 25, 2020 for early notification and acceptance, and by 5:00pm on July 20, 2020 for regular decision. Only complete applications will be considered. 

Tentative Schedule:
An opening reception is being planned for the first week of September. All eleven seminars will be held near the Capitol, or virtually on Fridays from noon-1:30pm.  A light lunch will be provided if the meeting is held in person.  
Participants are expected to attend six or more seminars, and at least three must be priority topics.  Priority topics are denoted by an asterisk (*).  

Sept. 11   City Busting, the Nuclear Weapons Revolution, and Precision Guidance*
Sept. 18   Nuclear Deterrence
Sept. 25   Nuclear Energy Basics: Fission, Fusion, and Bomb Designs (Part 1)*
Oct. 2       Nuclear Energy Basics: Fission, Fusion, and Bomb Designs (Part 2)*
Oct. 9       Nuclear Energy Basics: Reactors and Nuclear Fuel Making*
Oct. 16     Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime: Its History and Key Premises (Part 1)*
Oct. 23     Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime: Its History and Key Premises (Part 2)*
Oct. 30     Arms Control
Nov. 6      Energy Economics: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear
Nov. 13    Nuclear Terrorism & Nuclear Proliferation Intelligence
Nov. 20    Thinking about the Next Arms Race*

Seminars will address the following questions:
  • How militarily significant was the nuclear weapons revolution and why, initially, did developing ever larger nuclear weapons seem logical? How did the advent of precision guidance constitute a counterrevolution, and how has this counterrevolution affected nuclear weapons deployments?

  • What is nuclear deterrence, what does a robust nuclear deterrent force require, and how can it be counted upon to assure security?

  • What does one need to know about the discovery of nuclear energy, the development of nuclear weapons and their design, and the production of nuclear weapons-usable fuels

  • How likely might civilian nuclear technology be used for military purposes?

  • How safeguardable are different civilian nuclear facilities and materials against possible military diversions?

  • What are the key premises and history behind the current nuclear rules, i.e.: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), The Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the U.S. Atomic Energy Act?
  • How has U.S. strategic force modernization and arms control been related to one another?
  • What might a Trumpian arms control agenda look like?

  • How well does nuclear energy perform economically in producing electricity as compared to its nonnuclear alternatives?

  • Is terrorism the most immediate and extreme threat we face? How likely is it that terrorists might use nuclear weapons or dirty bombs? How preventable is this threat?
  • What was the Cold War approach to gathering and using intelligence on nuclear proliferation and what might be a more sensible approach for preventing nuclear proliferation today?

  • Why did the United States and Russia reduce their nuclear weapons stockpiles by nearly an order of magnitude in the last 30 years?

  • What might the next arms race look like and what, if anything, can be done to reduce the dangers the next arms race might present?

  • What are the major schools of thought regarding nuclear weapons, their use, and their proliferation? How sound are these schools?

  • What are the nuclear proliferation trends of the last half century? What is likely to occur over the next three decades?

  • Are there arms control and nonproliferation initiatives beyond what the United States has supported that might help reverse these trends?
Early Decision Deadline: 5:00pm on June 25, 2020 
Regular Decision Deadline: 5:00pm on July 20, 2020 

Praise for NEPC's Fellowship:
The readings were very accessible and the quizzes provided the perfect means for review. I also found the lectures very engaging and informative; I learned more about nuclear policy in the span of 11 weeks than in my entire graduate experience.
      - Elizabeth Wright
        Research Trainee, Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Given that I had minimal background in the study of nuclear energy & weapons, I found tremendous value in each of the NPEC fellowship lectures... A huge benefit of participating in these fellowships is talking with folks you would otherwise never meet—and you manage to gather a fairly wide distribution of government employees for the fellowship.
      - Lisa Harst
        Strategic Partnerships Associate, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas
I highly recommend adopting the NPEC course for those concerned with identifying problems and assessing potential solutions in nuclear policy. The seminars by Henry Sokolski considerably improved my knowledge of topics related to nuclear energy, weapons, and deterrence as well as my awareness of contemporary issues in this field. More so than for other matters, in-depth familiarity with the technical characteristics is important for good nuclear control policies. Mr. Sokolski's discussions addressed key aspects such as nuclear reactor design, nuclear weapon-making, and the history and premises of the non-proliferation regime which I found particularly helpful. His comments regarding the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the IAEA, and safeguards/protocol was also very valuable in helping form a solid foundation with which to evaluate problems and potential solutions for issues we confront today.
      - CDR Jack McKechnie
        U.S. Navy
To read more praise about the fellowship, CLICK HERE.

What Congressional Quarterly says about the Fellowship: 
"A former top nuclear nonproliferation figure at the Pentagon during the George Bush administration, Sokolski has held multiple senior positions on Capitol Hill and been a member of several blue-ribbon national security commissions. But his greatest pride and enjoyment is in the work he does now, running a graduate-level course for young and mid-career professionals working on Capitol Hill, in the federal government, at foreign embassies and in journalism.

Sokolski began offering his public policy fellowship, which is funded by various foundations, in 2013 but says he really began teaching variations of the course 40 years ago at the University of Chicago. As he has tinkered with the course over the years and added more complex material to it on topics like nuclear fission and bomb design, Sokolski says he’s pleased it hasn’t scared away applicants. 'They keep coming,' he chortles.

About 150 people have gone through Sokolski’s fellowship and are now seeded throughout Democratic and Republican member offices, on Hill committee staffs and in places like the Pentagon and State Department. On top of his 10-seminar course, students and graduates are invited to panel discussions and dinner lectures Sokolski occasionally organizes at the National Republican Club, where they meet and network with nuclear experts from think tanks and advocacy groups, foreign diplomats and journalists."
Source: Rachel Oswald, “Nonproliferation Expert Schools Hill Aides on the Danger of Nuclear Annihilation,” CQ, February 5, 2018, available from


The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
1600 Wilson Blvd. | Suite 640 | Arlington, VA 22209 | phone: 571-970-3187 |