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 2023. Sessions are held on Friday afternoons. To receive 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 2024. All events will take place virtually. 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.
Application: 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 email@example.com. Applications for the Fall 2023 session of the NPEC Public Policy Fellowship must be submitted by 5:00 PM ET on July 7, 2023, for early notification and acceptance, and by 5:00 PM ET on August 4, 2023, 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 virtually on Fridays from 12:00 PM ET – 2:00 PM ET. 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. 8 City Busting, the Nuclear Weapons Revolution, and Precision Guidance*
• Sept. 15 Nuclear Deterrence
• Sept. 22 Nuclear Energy Basics: Fission, Fusion, and Bomb Designs (Part 1)*
• Sept. 29 Nuclear Energy Basics: Fission, Fusion, and Bomb Designs (Part 2)*
• Oct. 6 Nuclear Energy Basics: Reactors and Nuclear Fuel Making*
• Oct. 13 Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime: Its History and Key Premises (Part 1)*
• Oct. 20 Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime: Its History and Key Premises (Part 2)*
• Oct. 27 Arms Control
• Nov. 3 Energy Economics: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear
• Nov. 9 Nuclear Terrorism & Nuclear Proliferation Intelligence
• Nov. 17 Thinking about the Next Arms Race*
In between formal required lectures, several optional, additional guest lectures will be held at 5 PM ET on the following days. Please note the following are last year’s presenters and are subject to change.
- Sept. 7 Paul Bracken: The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics
- Sept. 11 Chris Chen: The World Replete with Advanced Precision Strike Weapons
- Sept. 18 Brent Ziarnick: How Space Power Theory Affects One’s Deterrence Outlook || Jake Bebber: How Might We Deter China?
- Sept. 25 Gregory Jones: More Than Fissile Material: Building a Bomb, The Historical Experience
- Oct. 2 Bruce Goodwin: Reactor-Grade Plutonium’s Weapons Utility
- Oct. 10 Edwin Lyman: Reactors in Warzones: What Could Go Wrong
- Oct. 16 Thomas Grant: Articles I, II, and VI: New Issues for the NPT
- Oct. 23 Eva Lisowski: Grim Prospect: Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East
- Oct. 30 Brian Chow: Technical and Policy Responses to Rendezvous Spacecraft and Ground-Based Laser ASAT
- Nov. 6 Peter Bradford: How Should Small Reactor Accidents Be Insured?
- Nov. 13 William Tobey: Libya As a Nuclear Nonproliferation Intelligence Success || Richard Lawless: Success in Turning Off the South Korean Program in the 1970s
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?
SUBMIT AN APPLICATION HERE Early Decision Deadline: 5:00 PM ET on July 7, 2023, Regular Decision Deadline: 5:00 PM ET on August 4, 2023.
Praise for NEPC’s Fellowship:
I am very grateful for the chance I had to participate in the NPEC Public Policy Fellows program. It has been intense, with much reading and many hours attending class — unfortunately not in person but via Zoom, however I also have to recognize that since I live and work in Italy, I would have not been able to join the program in person for two months: thus, unfortunate events turned out into an opportunity for me personally.
I remember when in summer 2018 I read a couple of books — The Atomic Baazar by William Langewiesche, and the collection of plays titled The Bomb: A Partial History, by the Trycicle Theatre — and I wanted to learn more about the topic. I am grateful that three years later my path crossed with NPEC and its Founder and Executive Director. Prof. Sokolski is both an encyclopedia on the topic (and always up to date to the very latest developments, along with a special look towards the future), but he is also a very accessible and kind person. And an excellent professor. The staff he assembled is also very professional and competent.
– Marco Tantardini Advisor to the Chair of the Italian inter-Ministerial Committee for Space Policy, Italian Government
It was an absolute pleasure having you preside over this course, and being a student under your direct tutelage. What intrigued me the most is how we managed to cover topics at the 10,000-foot policy level, to the very technical aspects in two short months. That’s nearly impossible in academia! We also had a very good range of professionals with whom we could network, especially at a time of great distance and remote activity. I hope to use this knowledge and understanding in future policy areas.
– Craig Stafford Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State
I never knew anything about Nuclear Policy and benefited from these courses. These courses can be very technical, and the videos came in handy for times I needed a refresher.
– Kenny LaSalle Policy Advisor, Office of Representative Tony Cárdenas
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 http://www.cq.com/doc/weeklyreport-5257611.