Congressional Fellowship Program accepting applications
March 22, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 22, 2011) -- Applications are now being accepted for Soldiers and Army civilians to apply for fellowship positions with members of the 113th Congress.
Active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers as well as Department of the Army civilians all have the opportunity to participate in the Fiscal Year 2013 Army Congressional Fellowship Program.
The program educates selected Army officers and civilians on the importance of the strategic relationship between the Army and the Congress. The three-year program includes pursuit of a master's degree in legislative affairs at George Washington University, service on the staff of a member of Congress, and duty on the Army or Joint Staff in a legislative liaison position.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates recently commented on the value of the program during a visit to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Feb. 25.
"The Army has always needed entrepreneurial leaders with a broad perspective and a diverse range of skills, in addition to the essential troop command and staff assignments, you should look for opportunities (that) include being a congressional fellow," Gates said.
Each year, the Army selects up to 25 congressional fellows. For those chosen to participate, the program begins with a headquarters Department of the Army orientation that runs May-December 2011. Participants also begin the educational portion of their fellowship in May, with the goal of earning a master's degree in legislative affairs by the end of summer 2013.
As part of the program, congressional fellows will also serve on the staff of a member of Congress or on a congressional committee during the 1st session of the 113th Congress. That session runs January through December 2013.
As part of this portion of the program, fellows are typically given responsibility for drafting legislation, arranging Congressional hearings, writing speeches and floor statements, and briefing members of Congress for committee deliberations and floor debate.
The one-year Capitol Hill experience concludes the fellowship. Fellowship participants are then assigned to a two-year position in the Washington, D.C. area. There, former fellows will work as Army legislative liaison officers interacting directly with Congress in the Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison or Army Budget Liaison, or doing Congressional-related duties in another Army staff agency.
The former fellows typically serve as principal liaison for portfolios valued in the billions of dollars, as well as become experts on a wide range of Army policy issues. Fellows gather information, prepare strategies, organize briefings and arrange world-wide congressional fact-finding travel aimed at educating members and staff on Army programs.
Over the years, members of Congress and senior defense officials have grown to appreciate the service and experience of having defense fellows serving on congressional staffs.
"And it's been a privilege to have a chance to dialogue with those folks, one on one, about what really is happening out there, which, in addition to the great service they provide from an information standpoint, committee-wise, just personal-wise, they're just such an asset," said Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, during a March 3 meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "So it's a very valuable program."
Full details on criteria for participation in the fellowship and program requirements are detailed in Milper message number 11-045. The deadline for submission by active duty and Army Reserve officers is July 8, 2011. For Army National Guard officers, the deadline for submission is Aug. 1, 2011. For Department of the Army civilians, the deadline for submission is Aug. 12, 2011.