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In recognition of the Navy Special Warfare Veteran community’s contributions and sacrifice, The Institute of World Politics has established the IWP Naval Special Warfare Veteran Fellows program for NSW veterans. This immersive one-to-two semester program in Washington, D.C. is designed to prepare veteran operators for their next chapter, whether it be in public service, the private sector, or academia.


Operators have served our country at the tactical level, executing missions whose scope was focused and whose objectives were clear. But what was the overarching foreign policy behind the mission? How was it crafted? What were the strategic thoughts, the debates, and the decisions that facilitated sending operators into action?

IWP trains aspiring and practicing national security professionals in the arts of statecraft, diplomacy, and strategic thinking. As an IWP NSW Veteran Fellow, an operator will learn to assess, analyze, and craft solutions at the strategic level. In the classroom, Fellows will add invaluable insight into discussions with graduate students who might one day make policy decisions affecting future operators. Finally, by joining the IWP community, IWP NSW Veteran Fellows join a family of patriotic Americans and students from the U.S. and allied nations who support each other throughout their respective careers.

About the Program

The IWP NSW Veteran Fellows Program is sponsored and administered by The Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.

By sponsoring NSW Veteran Fellows, IWP aims to:

  • Enable veterans to build on their experiences and make them more competitive candidates for positions in the fields of national security, intelligence, and international affairs.
  • Enable veterans to impact students of statecraft, intelligence, and international affairs in the classroom and beyond.

During their tenure, IWP NSW Veteran Fellows may take 8 credits per semester, with 100% of tuition waived. The Fall 2022 semester classes begin the week of August 29. Final exams are held the week of December 5. The course list is currently being finalized. (See general course list.) All courses taken for credit and completed with a passing grade count towards a future IWP Masters or Doctoral Program.

Based upon his specific interests and goals, each IWP NSW Veteran Fellow will be assigned a faculty mentor, giving the Fellow an opportunity to contribute to the scholar-practitioner’s cutting-edge work in the fields of national security, international affairs, and strategic intelligence.

Beyond the classroom, IWP NSW Veteran Fellows will attend in-person and online lectures by IWP faculty and visiting experts; meet with successful IWP alumni working in their respective field(s) of interest; and attend D.C. area events such as congressional hearings, think tanks and research institution seminars, and guided museum tours.

In addition to fulfilling their respective course requirements and attending specific program meetings and events, IWP NSW Veteran Fellows will conduct a talk/briefing on their respective experiences as operators and the critical role Naval Special Warfare plays within U.S. Special Operations and U.S. military strategy.

Career Success Services

IWP recognizes the need for Fellows to plan for their next steps upon completion of the program. The Director of Career Services, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran with extensive experience working with veterans, will meet with each Fellow on a one-on-one basis throughout his fellowship term to strategize and prepare for post-program opportunities. The Director of Career Services will assist with the development of a Success Strategy & Action Plan. Specific activities include but are not limited to career counseling; self-marketing assistance (resumes, federal resumes, cover letters, interview preparation); security clearance counseling; onsite recruitment events; networking introductions/informational interviews; job opening announcements within the IWP network.

Admissions Requirements

Candidates must be honorably discharged SEAL or SWCC veterans. Those operators who have earned a bachelor’s degree are strongly preferred, but the admissions committee will consider operators who do not hold a bachelor’s degree on a case-by-case basis.

Application Requirements

  • Completed Application Form
  • Professional resume
  • Academic transcripts (Unofficial copies are acceptable.)
  • Two professional letters of recommendation
  • Essay (500-1,000 words): (Part 1: What do you hope to achieve during your time as an IWP NSW Veteran Fellow? Part 2: What is an example of a U.S. foreign policy challenge that has not been sufficiently addressed? What is the nature of that challenge and how might you address it if you were a policy maker?)

All IWP NSW Veteran Fellows Program application materials for Fall 2022 must be submitted via email to no later than 11:59 PM EST on Monday, June 20, 2022. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Thanks to the generous support of the Navy SEAL Foundation, Fellows may apply for a stipend to cover living expenses in the Washington, D.C. area via the Navy SEAL Foundation (NSF) website. The NSF 2022 Scholarship Cycle Two opens Wednesday, June 1, 2022 and closes promptly at 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NSW veterans who wish to apply for a IWP NSW Veteran Fellows Program, Spring 2023 (early January – early May 2023) and would require a Navy SEAL Foundation stipend for living expenses, must apply for the stipend during the NSF Scholarship Cycle Two window. Please visit for more information.

For general questions about the program, please contact Christine Balling, IWP NSW Veteran Fellows Program Director at