Four years after the experience, I view my decision to become a Duke CTPP fellow as one of the best things I have done, professionally and personally, in my 25 year career. The greatest thing about the Duke fellowship is the people. Those “people” are a diverse group. They begin with world class Duke faculty and staff who manage the fellowship program. Then you have your cohort of military fellows. I formed life-long friendships through study and work with leaders from other services. In several cases, I have seen the same people again on the battlefield or on staffs in Washington, DC. Then there are the students. The Duke CTPP fellowship is unique from some of the other military programs because you attend classes with both the graduate and undergraduate students. When I arrived to the program I felt like I was an “out of the box” thinker. The reality is I was a middle aged military dude and hadn’t been thinking out of the box for years. The thoughtful, intelligent perspectives from many of the students and faculty expanded my thought process, re-assured me of the exceptional intelligence and grit of today’s young men and women, and made me a better military leader.
Since the Duke fellowship, I have served in the Pentagon for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC), served at the Joint Special operations Command as a Deputy Operations Officer, and currently command the East Coast SEAL Teams. The lessons I learned and the connections I made as a Duke CTPP fellow have benefitted me at every turn. I continue to lean on advice and perspective from faculty within the fellowship, the Sanford School of Public Policy, Fuqua and Duke Law. If you have an opportunity to participate in this Duke CTPP fellowship then don’t hesitate – this is a MUST DO. You will emerge a better educated, intelligent and diverse military professional and leader.
-CAPT Jamie Sands
Before starting the Fellowship I was convinced that I wanted to write about the Civil-Military Divide — the sense that over the last decade and a half, ‘the Army was at war, but America was at the mall.’ I was also convinced that this statement cut both ways: that while a variety of factors have isolated military communities since the end of the Cold War, we in the military weren’t doing much to try to bridge that gap. I believed the Fellowships were a perfect opportunity to do just that–to expose bright young Americans to career military officers, providing opportunities for both sides to challenge and learn from each other. I could not have been more pleased with the result–I have formed lifelong relationships with young Duke students and their families who, frankly, we now consider family. I have run a Marathon and obstacle course with them, we’ve shot all manner of guns, and we’ve hosted them at our house several times. They have cooked meals and baked cookies with my wife, curled up and watched movies on the couch with my boys, and they traveled out to Colorado this Summer to visit us for our change of command. On top of that they never pass up an opportunity to educate me regarding just how ill-informed and incorrect I am! None of this would have happened at Carlisle Barracks and I’ll be forever grateful for the Fellowship opportunity.
-COL Lawrence G. Ferguson
The Counterterrorism and Public Policy fellowship experience exceeded all expectations! Access to a world class institution like Duke, with all its academic resources, was incredible and provided an unmatched opportunity to learn about subjects normally unavailable in the military’s resident institutions. Faculty and students welcomed us at every opportunity and adopted us in the classroom as fellow Blue Devils. The interaction with professors and classmates certainly broadened my exposure to concepts and ideas not usually found within the sometimes cloistered life of the military. My experience at Duke certainly helped me better appreciate the challenges involved in formulating and implementing public policy, which I have put to good use participating in the development of strategic guidance for the Army in my current job on the Army staff.
-COL Geoff Stewart
Incredible broadening opportunity that spans opportunity and access to an influential community of faculty and students alike. Both the Sanford and Fuqua schools at Duke are the best at what they do. Duke’s first class faculty delivers content of value to all who experience it. A program I will not soon forget and one I look forward to leveraging in the future.
-COL Nate Hunsinger
The US Army War College fellowship at Duke University provides a unique, challenging, and rewarding experience for Army leaders. The program’s focus on counterterrorism and national security in a world-class academic learning environment adds unique strategic perspective to military practitioners, who will return to the field to lead and command service members around the globe. I truly appreciated the opportunity to interact with highly intelligent, well-informed undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. These individuals challenged my critical thinking skills and forced me to view tough problems with a new lens. I was encouraged by the caliber of Duke University educators. Many of the faculty served in various high level governmental, non-governmental, and private sector entities before joining the academic team. Additionally, Duke attracts and schedules a number of former and current leaders from all three sectors. Speakers and guests interact candidly with the Duke community. In many cases, they seek input from students and faculty on some of their toughest problems. The opportunity to research, write about, and present a strategic topic, with assistance from Duke research and academic professionals, created an incredibly enriching environment. My experience at Duke altered my perspective on several strategic topics. Duke allowed me to explore areas, relevant to leading service members at the operational and strategic level. Finally, I cherish the relationships I built in the program, which I plan to leverage in future leadership roles.
-COL Matthew Weinshel
“This experience was 100% about relationships – and I continue to value the connections I was able to make with Duke faculty and students outside of the traditional Sanford school network. Even now, as the commander of a Stryker Brigade Combat Team, it is rare that a week goes by that I don’t reference an experience or conversation from my time in the fellowship program. Sometimes it is a discussion on media coverage that I picked up from Phil Bennett, or a leadership discussion from Sanyin Siang and Joe LeBoeuf from Fuqua, or trying to decide how we force the future of Army technology from Michael Clamann and Missy Cummings – each one of those relationships has an impact on the leaders and soldiers of the Ghost Brigade and the Army.
–COL Jasper Jeffers