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National Security Fellowship — Department of Defense

August 28, 2015 | Tyler Duke

For my policy summer internship, I joined the front office for the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict in the Department of Defense. I work alongside a team of six staffing the Assistant Secretary, the Honorable Michael Lumpkin, and his deputy, Ms. Theresa Whelan. The office’s portfolio includes counterterrorism; unconventional warfare; direct action; special reconnaissance; foreign internal defense; civil affairs, information and psychological operations; and counterproliferation of WMD. Although this is my fourth assignment in the Pentagon (in addition two previous internships and one contracting position), this job has given me insight into a much different policy world.


Given the small size of the immediate staff, the broad scope of the work, and the warm welcome (not to mention blind naiveté) from the team, I’ve stayed busy. Projects have included writing a policy paper on the evolving counter-ISIL strategy, supporting the ASD’s engagements with Capitol Hill and his oversight of U.S. Special Operations Command, and authoring a number of policy speeches – to include the ASD’s speech for the Aspen Security Forum. I’ve also contributed to the management of the organization, working with the Chief of Staff to conduct a strategic review of our policy priorities to inform the remaining time in the Administration.

The experience has been as rewarding as it has been informative, providing me a close look at policy surrounding Special Operations while giving me the opportunity to work with a great team. I remain grateful for Duke for making this possible – specifically, the generous support from the Carlucci family and their Fellowship program for national security internships.