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Aubrey Hodges (’24): Senior Security Cooperation Consultant

A recipient of IWP’s Alumni Scholarship, Aubrey Hodges benefited from IWP’s practical education. He is now using lessons learned at IWP in his work in foreign military sales. Aubrey recently spoke with us to reflect on his classes at IWP, his extracurricular activities, and his current work.

Aubrey Hodges Headshot“When I first heard of IWP, I was skeptical,” said Aubrey. “I didn’t want to put the foot forward until I knew what I was getting myself into.”

Aubrey was looking for a school to study intelligence and national security, and he first visited IWP’s campus in 2020. After being greeted by one of our recruitment officers and several of the students, Aubrey decided to sit in on the Enemy Threat Doctrine of Global Jihadism class taught by Dr. Douglas Streusand.

After experiencing the high-quality material of the class and appreciating the small class size, Aubrey decided to apply to IWP.  “And beyond this class,” he said, “It was also Dr. John Lenczowski and his character,” as well as the school’s focus on duty to one’s country, that gave Aubrey the final push to apply.

Aubrey Hodges at Commencement

A practical and philosophical education

“I thought IWP was a gem,” said Aubrey, particularly when comparing his education to that of his contacts coming from other M.A. programs.

Aubrey especially appreciated the practicality of his IWP education. IWP’s scholar-practitioner model ensures that students are studying under professors who have lived experience in the subject they teach. In addition to reviewing theories and concepts, IWP professors show their students real-world scenarios in intelligence and international relations.

In his nuclear strategy class, Dr. Wayne Schroeder challenged Aubrey to write about how the U.S. would handle the geopolitical situation if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon tomorrow.

In a class with Prof. John Quattrocki, Aubrey went through case files, learning about deception detection techniques and how to catch spies.

Aubrey said, “It prepares you to have a seat at the table in the White House, the Department of Justice, CIA, Congress, and other agencies of the government. It’s not about what you know, but how you conduct yourself with what you know. IWP helps to give you the mental fortitude to serve the common good.”

He also noted, “I don’t see things just through theories anymore.”

IWP also requires courses that serve as philosophical grounding for those entering national security professions. Aubrey said, “Philosophy classes at IWP give you a foundation. I’m not just looking at something through a left-wing or right-wing view. There is another way to look at things to not compromise the integrity of the nation when you are in a sensitive national security position.”

Dr. James Robbins with Aubrey at IWP Commencement in May 2024.
Dr. James Robbins with Aubrey at IWP Commencement in May 2024.

Extracurricular professional development

The opportunity at IWP goes beyond the classroom. Aubrey took advantage of IWP’s various professional development events, including a visit to CIA headquarters. “We were able to visit around and see what the agency is like and the people who work there. We also had the opportunity to have some of the CIA analysts sit with us at lunch, where they talked with us about careers and their backgrounds. I thought the museum was especially interesting because I had studied much of the history.”

During his time at IWP, Aubrey served as the President of IWP’s chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society (AHS), a national organization that seeks to launch students into foreign policy and national security careers with the Hamiltonian perspective of American leadership.

“I could not have done it without the help of some of my members and officers,” he said, “The best parts were just having all the members together and bouncing off ideas from each other and having our own internal debates. Then we would leave the discussion there, being fulfilled with what we shared with each other.”

Aubrey remembers one AHS event where he invited to Ilan Berman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council, to speak on campus. He worked with the IWP events team to set up the lecture, and it was a success. He said, “I got to interview Mr. Berman and pick his brain in front of forty people in the audience. That was one of the most memorable moments I had at IWP.” (Watch this discussion)

Ilan Berman and Aubrey
Aubrey (right) with Ilan Berman, who is speaking at an event titled “Moscow and Tehran: U.S. Policy Considerations” and sponsored by the IWP Student Chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society.

The IWP education in action

Aubrey has been applying his IWP education in his current role in foreign military sales, where he serves as a senior consultant (contractor program analyst) supporting the mission of civilian and military clients at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). His work requires constant cross-cultural interactions with clients around the world, and his classes have given him the tools to stay organized and detail-oriented during his interactions with clients.

He also learned some of the important aspects of developing relationships for security cooperation: “At IWP, I learned methods to create lasting partnerships with your allies abroad. It is important to be culturally aware and to dig into the other person’s history to connect with them.”

Aubrey also notes the effectiveness of Professor Sano‘s Writing for National Security Professionals as being applicable in his working life. “You’ll learn how to write with brevity,” he said, “And make sure you have the bottom line up front. That helped my writing and helped me with my intellectual abilities.”

Aubrey Hodges at Commencement
Dr. John Lenczowski, Amb. Aldona Wos, Aubrey Hodges, and John Lovewell at IWP Commencement in May 2024.

Aubrey also found that his counterintelligence class with Professor Quattrocki helped him in his professional work. “We read 6 books, each a different perspective on U.S. counterintelligence and its history. It really helped me in my own line of work because you get to see human nature on display.”

Beyond the insights into humanity, the class also helped improve Aubrey’s analytical thinking: “If one person says one thing and another person says another, you have to figure out what is the truth. People will throw different things at you, and you have to make sure you do your own due diligence and don’t get caught up in the hype or the prevailing opinion at the time. That class helped me figure out why something was written, and why someone would give the account they are giving. Sometimes people take these accounts as truth, and they become amplified in society. As a historian, you have to go through multiple sources of information.”

His time at IWP has also helped further develop Aubrey as a person: “IWP has helped me see the parts of myself that I hadn’t seen before, like fortitude, perseverance, temperance, moderation in how you conduct yourself in others.”

Aubrey said: “Having the IWP education under my belt, I know that wherever I go – as a contractor or an employee, I have that IWP ethos that I know I will carry with me into the future.”

Alumni and Faculty at Commencement
Aubrey with faculty and fellow alumni at Commencement in May.

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