FORT CARSON, Colo. -- For one U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command space warrior, it is the opportunity of a lifetime – an all-expense-paid master’s degree from George Washington University and fellowships at the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon.
Master Sgt. Andrew Brown, the senior enlisted adviser to the Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence’s commandant at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, was chosen for the Army Congressional Fellowship Program; his 44-month journey begins in May.
“Here’s an opportunity to earn my graduate degree paid for by the Army while gaining invaluable experience in the seat of our nation’s government,” Brown said. “It’s an unbelievable chance to serve in a capacity aiding Congress in military affairs.”
The three-year, three-part program for mid-to-late-career Army officers, senior non-commissioned officers and Department of the Army civilians includes academic work, service on the staff of a member of Congress, and utilization on the Army or joint staff in a legislative liaison duty position.
Capt. Thomas Sawicki, Brown’s former commander at Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USASMDC, said he was an excellent candidate for the fellowship.
“He is an intellectual and analytical leader and able to solve extremely complex problems with favorable outcomes for all involved,” Sawicki said. “He will no doubt excel as a graduate student and will be an asset to any Congressional team he is assigned.”
Brown applied twice to gain acceptance. He was thrilled to hear he was chosen late last year. For a Soldier with a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international politics, who served at the U.S Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, the fellowship falls right in line with Brown’s interests and passions: politics, the Army, and making a difference.
“I want to be able to give back to the Army and our country. I want to bring the experiences I’ve logged in over 17 years to Capitol Hill to advise on space or air defense issues or foreign policy matters,” Brown said. “I’m bringing a very rounded career to the Capitol, and I hope I’m able to impact and improve things for the Army and our Soldiers ultimately.”
Brown, who comes from a background in air defense, crossed over into space following an initial Patriot missile unit tour. In addition to extensive knowledge in both career fields, he also served as an operations NCO and project manager for three years during his embassy tour, where he assisted in the effort to track down missing people from the Bosnian War, which took place 1992 to1995.
“Living in a place that underwent the gruesome reality of war in recent memory was never far from everyone's thoughts. The damage is still very visible in Sarajevo, and throughout the countryside,” Brown recalled. “Ultimately, we learned about the strength and importance of our U.S. foreign policy apparatus.”
Through the congressional fellowship program, Brown hopes to gain invaluable experience concerning U.S. foreign policy amongst a host of other government affairs.
In an official statement from the office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison the AFCP guarantees fellows to “either travel the world or be deeply involved in buying and building the future of the Army and gaining a deep understanding of how the Army enterprise really works.”
Brown said he has always had the drive to get out and make an impact.
“Like other experiences in my career, I'll seek doors or windows of opportunity that may arise along the way,” Brown said. “While serving as a congressional fellow, I will seek ways to give back to the Army, which has provided so much to my family and me.”
Brown said he hopes to serve in a government position or in the international human rights sector once his service to his country is done.
“I want to use my education and experience to end the constant cycle of human suffering from war, natural disaster, poverty, corruption and political and economic suppression,” Brown said. “I want to set a good example for my daughters to look up to, and I want them to see what a true international citizen is capable of accomplishing.”