NSSP Students at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service.

NSSP Students at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service.


The term National Security Studies Program has been in use since 1965, but the official launch was in March of 1977 when Georgetown University established a program under that banner. At the same time the American Security Council’s Congressional Conference Center became an off campus center for Georgetown, and the university emblem was displayed at the entrance of the estate. The NSSP then offered a Master’s Degree in International Security Affairs which was jointly conducted by Georgetown and the Department of Defense, with ASC’s assistance.

This first Director and the founder of the program was by Dr. Stephen P. Gibert. He was then and remains to this day a professor of government at Georgetown.  The NSSP was then the only advanced degree-granting program in national security studies in the United States and Europe. The faculty was composed of experts in the field, and classes were held in the Pentagon on weekdays, and at ASC’s Conference Center on weekends.  ASC also provided over $1 million in financial assistance for the NSSP.

The first class of forty students was enrolled in September 1977. They were scheduled to graduate in June of 1979 with a Master of Arts degree in government and a Certificate in National Security Studies. Beginning with the first group, the classes were generally made up of equal numbers of military officers, and civilians from government agencies.

Some were sent by the services of other countries; a fair percentage already were advanced degree holders or graduates of the service War Colleges. It was hoped that the horizons opened for them by their acquaintance with national security and strategy would have in time a significant impact on policy as those individuals rose to positions of prominence. To obtain a Master’s Degree the student had to be enrolled at Georgetown, and they had to meet the universities vigorous requirements.

Today many academic institutions offer national security studies programs, but Georgetown’s remains the largest. The current faculty includes former Ambassadors Chester Crocker, Robert Galluci and Donald McHenry, as well as the former National Security Advisor to President Clinton, Anthony Lake.

National Security Studies Programs have now been established at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, George Washington, the University of Chicago, the University of Georgia; the University of Illinois, the Army War College; the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; the College of Naval Warfare; the Naval Post Graduate School; the National Security Institute and the George C. Marshall College of International and Security Studies.

In addition to assisting the Georgetown program, ASC continued to administer its own NSSP. While the NSSP’s curriculum often changed, several key courses were always maintained. These included “Counterintelligence and Covert Operations” by James J. Angleton; the “U.S./Soviet Military Balance” by Generals George Keegan and Dan Graham; “Cuba’s Foreign Policy” by Dr. Herminio Portell Vila; “The United States in World Affairs” by Greg Hilton; “The Peace Through Strength Strategy” by John M. Fisher; “The Rising Tide: Free Markets and Free Trade” by Colonel Philip S. Cox; “Latin America’s Democratic Transition” by Colonel Samuel T. Dickens USAF (Ret); “Congressional Oversight in Defense and Foreign Policy” by Dr.Loren Thompson of Georgetown University; “Russia’s Global Strategy” by Ambassador William Kintner and Col. Ray Sleeper; and “Arms Control and Verification” by Thomas B. Smith.

The 25th anniversary of Georgetown’s National Security Studies Program was held in 2001, and the University honored ASC with an impressive plaque and presentation. The 25th anniversary was also a decision time for ASC. Veteran Chairman John M. Fisher had often expressed his desire to step down from the programs many administrative burdens, and it was clear the NSSP had outgrown the Congressional Conference Center. The Center will always be an important part of the NSSP’s history, but its primary drawback was that is was located too far away from the nation’s capital (a 79 mile drive), and it was only able to accommodate 60 residential students.


The Georgetown University program is
today known as the Peace and Security Studies Program, and it is part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.  The new Security Studies Program is awarding doctoral degrees.  When Georgetown renamed its program, ASC kept the original name. For ASC the program began with annual conferences in the 1950’s and it was expanded steadily over the years to include a Fall, Spring and Summer Semester.

When potential students contact me I always refer them to the Application Form. This should be downloaded and sent to us along with your resume, and a writing sample (preferably a paper you have already submitted for academic credit). A letter of recommendation is also useful, particularly if it is from a Member of Congress, a Foreign Service Officer, a U.S. Flag Officer or a former member of the Peace Corps.

The “Frequently Asked Questions” section will hopefully address many of your concerns. You should also review the schedule for the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, as well as the Residential Agreement you will have to abide by if you decide to live at the Student Center. The NSSP gives students the opportunity to perform substantive research and writing assignments, along with training in public diplomacy and audio/visual production. The program varies for every student. The usual procedure is for the student to serve as an intern in various Congressional offices, executive agencies, interest groups or think tanks for four days a week. They attend seminar classes for one day a week, which is usually on Fridays.

Depending on the program in which you are enrolled, classes will be held at our Student Center on Capitol Hill, or one of the universities in the D.C. area.  Students receive anywhere from 6 to 16 transferable credit hours per semester.

Interns who are not receiving academic credit and do not desire to participate in classes can also stay at the Student Center as Residential Associates. This is an especially popular option during the summer months.  The program for individual NSSP students varies, but typically they receive four credits for the internship, four credits for a research assignment approved by their sponsoring school, and an additional four credits for the class they attend.

The NSSP is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Our preference is to have all NSSP students stay with us as Residential Associates, and we believe the community atmosphere is an integral part of the learning experience. Nevertheless, it is possible to enroll in the NSSP without being a Residential Associate, and it is also possible to be a Residential Associate if you are part of an approved intern program which is not connected to the NSSP.

Students in the Congressional Fellowship Program.

See http://housing.georgetown.edu/summer for information about living on the Georgetown campus.

Admission to the Congressional Fellowship Program is competitive.  They students are paid, but they are not Residential Associates. During the last academic year the Fellows included Julie Mills of Sebastian, Florida (Georgetown University School of Foreign Service); Chris Stagg of Huntington, New York and Jonathan Jozefowicz of Bangor, Maine (both of Catholic University’s School of Social Service), and Walter Grafton of the University of Chicago’s Center for International Studies. The current Congressional Fellows are shown below:

The NSSP and the Fellowship Program are both oriented to students who are planning careers in foreign policy, defense analysis or international trade. Students with a career interest in serving as a Foreign Service Officer or in the U.S. military are especially encouraged to apply. We also give a special priority to students who are planning to enroll in the Peace Corps, the USA Freedom Corps or other international endeavors. Responsibilities and research assignments are assigned to the students by the NSSP’s Dean of Academic Affairs.


In the information age our scope is far broader than our campus. This is why we are working on a continuing education program.

The Democracy and Free Market Education Program will eventually include 26 courses, but to date only 14 of them have been completed. The initial courses are all in Spanish and they are designed to assist the democratic process in Central and South America. The courses have already been accepted into the continuing education program at the North South Center of the University of Miami, Miami Dade Community College and Florida Atlantic University.


The NSSP has provided residential housing for undergraduate and graduate students for over 40 years. The Student Center has a view of the U.S. Capitol. The building includes a broadcast studio and most students do not bring cars because the Metro subway station is just a block away.  The Student Center is fully furnished and there is no charge for local telephone use, cable televison or the laundry facilities. Small refrigerators, microwave ovens, coffee makers, pop-up toasters, DVD/CD players and televisions are allowed in student rooms.

The rooms are furnished with study desks, chairs, beds, dressers and closets. The rooms have “murphy beds” which fold up into the wall. We encourage students to bring sheets, pillows, pillowcases, towels, blankets, and alarm clocks. Students will be assigned a telephone access number and they are responsible for long distance telephone charges. Many students prefer to use cell phones or calling cards for long distance conversations.

We also encourage students to bring personal computers or laptops, and complimentary DSL Internet access is provided. To use a laptop in any location, it needs to be equipped with an ethernet card already installed or it can be connected to one of the 80 wall jacks located throughout the building. The entire building has wireless computer capability.


One of the best parts of living at the Student Center are the many special trips to events in the Washington, D.C. area. These often include lectures by prominent political leaders on Capitol Hill, the State Department and at the Pentagon. The interns also attend events and seminars sponsored by other non-profit organizations with focus on international issues.

Weekend day trips are made to the Smithsonian and other area museums, and the new Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport is now a popular destination. We arrange special tours every semester of the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Capitol and the Holocaust Museum.

When a sufficient number of students sign-up we will also make charter trips to the Six Flags America amusement park, concerts at Wolf Trap and the Post Pavilion, sporting events at FedEx Field (the home of the Washington Redskins); the MCI Center (the home of the Washington Wizards basketball team) and to Camden Yards in Baltimore for Orioles baseball and the many attractions associated with the Inner Harbor area.


Residential Associates are strongly encouraged to join the meal plan which provides breakfast, lunch and dinner for a fixed low monthly fee. There are always bagels, cereals, fruit, etc. available. On weekdays there is a salad bar available during dinner hours.



The Congressional Conference Center was used by scholars throughout the world. They primarily came to Culpeper County, Virginia to use the 25,000 square foot Sol Feinstone Research Library. Over 30,000 books from this collection were later donated to the American Security Council Library at the Institute of World Politics (IWP), 1521 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20036, (202) 462-7031.

The ASC collection was divided into eight major sections: foreign policy, national security, international trade, human rights, democracy, political and economic freedom, and the American Cause, and all of the books and supporting materials are now owned by IWP.

The IWP is a graduate school and its students receive academic credit through Boston University. The IWP offers two M.A. degrees (M.A. in Statecraft and National Security Affairs, and an M.A. in Statecraft and World Politics), Certificates of Graduate Study, and individual courses.  The library transfer agreement noted that the IWP is “an educational institution dedicated to the same ideals and goals that has inspired the work of the American Security Council.” ASC continues to have access to the library but we have to comply with the same general rules which apply to other users of the library.


The Congressional Conference Center also housed ASC’s “Cold War Collection” which consists of 1.4 million research files that were primarily based on newspaper, magazine and scholarly journals from 1920 until the collapse of the USSR in 1991. On August 29, 2001, these files along with a considerable amount of Cold War memorabilia were donated to the Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

One response to “NSSP

  1. Greg– You have established a positive nitch for yourself. Congratulations and much success.

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