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Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
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Montgomery, Alabama, United States (on-site)
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Washinton, Dist. Columbia, United States
2 days ago
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NPEC Nuclear Public Policy Fellowship

Fall 2024


The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) is soliciting applications for its Nuclear Public Policy Fellowship from full-time congressional, executive, and diplomatic staff and journalists. The program is designed to provide the technical, legal, and historical background needed to gain a deeper understanding of civil and military nuclear policy. Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of NPEC and former Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy at DOD, will teach the seminars along with eleven guest lecturers.

This is the 12th year NPEC has run the fellowship. Never has it been as relevant. Among the most recent nuclear developments are Putin's recent nuclear threats, his seizure of nuclear power plants, the prospect of renewed nuclear testing in North Korea, renewed interest in nuclear weapons in South Korea, the expansion of China's nuclear arsenal, the promotion of new nuclear reactor designs and builds, Iran's continued nuclear development, and the prospect of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

The sessions run on Fridays from 12:00 to 2:00 PM ET. These sessions shall be held virtually.

·       Sept. 6        City Busting, the Nuclear Weapons Revolution, and Precision Guidance*

·       Sept. 13      Nuclear Deterrence

·       Sept. 20      Nuclear Energy Basics: Fission, Fusion, and Bomb Designs (Part 1)*

·       Sept. 27      Nuclear Energy Basics: Fission, Fusion, and Bomb Designs (Part 2)*

·       Oct. 4          Nuclear Energy Basics: Reactors and Nuclear Fuel Making*

·       Oct. 11        Early International Nuclear Controls: The Acheson-Lilienthal Report, the Baruch Plan, and Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace *

·     Oct. 18       International Nuclear Controls, Part 2: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Safeguards, The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Three Pillars View *

·       Oct. 25        Arms Control

·       Nov. 1         Energy Economics: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear

·       Nov. 8         Nuclear Terrorism & Nuclear Proliferation Intelligence

·       Nov. 15       Thinking about the Next Arms Race*


To receive a course completion certificate, fellows must actively participate via webcam in seven or more of the program’s eleven seminars. Four of these seven must include specified priority lectures marked with *. Individuals who complete the program will also have the opportunity to participate in a research retreat in early 2025.

In between formal required lectures, several optional, additional guest lectures will be held at 5 PM ET on the following days. Please note the following are last year’s presenters and are subject to change.

·       Sept. 5        Paul Bracken: The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics

·       Sept. 9        Jim Thomas: The World Replete with Advanced Precision Strike Weapons

·       Sept. 16      Brent Ziarnick: How Space Power Theory Affects One’s Deterrence Outlook;  Jake Bebber: How Might We Deter China?

·       Sept. 23      Gregory Jones: More Than Fissile Material: Building a Bomb, The Historical Experience

·       Sept. 30      Bruce Goodwin: Reactor-Grade Plutonium’s Weapons Utility

·       Oct. 7          Henry Sokolski: Reactors in Warzones: What Could Go Wrong

·       Oct. 15        Thomas Grant: Articles I, II, and VI: New Issues for the NPT

·       Oct. 21        Eva Lisowski: Grim Prospect: Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East

·       Oct. 28        Brian Chow: Technical and Policy Responses to Rendezvous Spacecraft and Ground-Based Laser ASAT

·       Nov. 4         Peter Bradford: How Should Small Reactor Accidents Be Insured?

·       Nov. 12       William Tobey: Libya As a Nuclear Nonproliferation Intelligence Success; Richard Lawless: Success in Turning Off the South Korean Program in the 1970s

Applications for the Fall 2024 sessions of the NPEC Public Policy Fellowship are due by 

5:00 PM EDT on July 26, 2024 for early decision or

5:00 PM EDT on August 16, 2024 for regular decision.

For more information and to apply, visit NPEC’s website:

Questions about the fellowship or application?

Please contact NPEC’s Production and Outreach Coordinator, Brooke Buskirk, at [email protected]

or by phone at (571) 970-3187.

Please note this is a voluntary, unpaid fellowship opportunity. 

What Congressional Quarterly Says about the Fellowship:

“A former top nuclear nonproliferation figure at the Pentagon during the George Bush administration, Sokolski has held multiple senior positions on Capitol Hill and been a member of several blue-ribbon national security commissions. But his greatest pride and enjoyment is in the work he does now, running a graduate-level course for young and mid-career professionals working on Capitol Hill, in the federal government, at foreign embassies and in journalism.

Sokolski began offering his public policy fellowship, which is funded by various foundations, in 2013 but says he really began teaching variations of the course 40 years ago at the University of Chicago. As he has tinkered with the course over the years and added more complex material to it on topics like nuclear fission and bomb design, Sokolski says he’s pleased it hasn’t scared away applicants. ‘They keep coming,’ he chortles. 

About 150 people have gone through Sokolski’s fellowship and are now seeded throughout Democratic and Republican member offices, on Hill committee staffs and in places like the Pentagon and State Department. On top of his 10-seminar course, students and graduates are invited to panel discussions and dinner lectures Sokolski occasionally organizes at the National Republican Club, where they meet and network with nuclear experts from think tanks and advocacy groups, foreign diplomats and journalists.”

Source: Rachel Oswald, “Nonproliferation Expert Schools Hill Aides on the Danger of Nuclear Annihilation,” CQ, February 5, 2018, available from


Praise for NEPC's Fellowship:

It was an absolute pleasure having you preside over this course, and being a student under your direct tutelage.  What intrigued me the most is how we managed to cover topics at the 10,000-foot policy level, to the very technical aspects in two short months.  That’s nearly impossible in academia!  We also had a very good range of professionals with whom we could network, especially at a time of great distance and remote activity.  I hope to use this knowledge and understanding in future policy areas.

– Craig Stafford Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State


Let me say that the class was fantastic.  Prior to the fellowship my knowledge of nuclear issues was pretty one-dimensional. There were nuclear weapons, a treaty or two, and vague guidance on when/how the U.S. might use them. Done. I’d never considered the implications seemingly tangential issues such as civil nuclear power (outside of environmental concerns), the economics of nuclear power, or the electric grid. Drawing the connection between civil and military nuclear applications was especially eye opening for me.  Also, as a non-STEM person, learning about bomb design, the enrichment process and power plant design was completely new. Truthfully I did wonder how useful the technical information would be for me in my work but all of the learning brought so much depth and understanding to issues I encounter on the job. I just really loved the whole class.

– Felicia Lopez Senior Attorney, GAO


I appreciated the scope of the course. Because of the extensive topics it covers, I felt like I received a liberal arts education in the nuclear world. Not just nonproliferation regimes but also nuclear terrorism and nuclear economics and the science behind it all. As a policy influencer, that is a huge benefit; I can now pursue my own separate lines of inquiry with some steady footing. So much of life is understanding enough of a subject to begin to know how to ask the right questions, and now I can. That’s the crux of how I benefited and what the course provides. 

– Ryan Uyehara Office of Rep. Ami Bera


I’m not exaggerating when I say it was an absolutely rewarding experience.  Is it indicative of a twisted mind that I attended every session (and both optional dinnertime discussions)? Perhaps. But I found the material and the lectures so compelling that I genuinely would have felt cheated to miss any of them…Sometimes it’s not easy to convince experts in the nuclear field to talk to a reporter. Already, I’m seeing a difference in their willingness to talk with me because, after some conversation, it becomes apparent to them that I’m not as clueless about the topic as they first imagined. That might not have been the case just a few months ago before I took your course.

– Patrick Malone Center for Public Integrity 

I came into the fellowship with only a basic understanding of aspects of non-proliferation, so the course was EXACTLY what I needed to help me understand not only how nuclear weapons are made and used. So, from my perspective, the course did everything I had hoped it would do to prepare me to understand what I'm reading when different opinions are presented -- your class also invited me to challenge authority when it comes to accepted norms of deterrence, nuclear weapons, proliferation (and non-proliferation), and research more when something just doesn't seem right -- or seems too easy.

– CDR Daniel G. Straub U.S. Navy


Any civil servant working in nuclear matters can benefit immensely from the NPEC Fellowship. I haven’t seen anything else like it offered in the D.C. area and I would recommend it to anyone whose work touches on nuclear matters.

– Robert Grace Senior Analyst, Nuclear Weapons and Nonproliferation, U.S. Government Accountability Office 



Applications will be taken from full-time legislative directors, legislative assistants, legislative correspondents, and professional committee staff members in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate; executive branch staffers in intelligence, defense, and foreign affairs; full-time military, fellows detailed to the Hill or the executive branch; diplomatic staff; and journalists.  

The fellowship consists of Friday, virtual, noontime seminars in which fellows engage and visually appear. If you have the availability in your schedule to actively participate in at least seven of the eleven sessions, please apply. Applications are now open. 

The application process is competitive and spaces are limited. Applicants should submit a current resume and a cover letter (no longer than two pages). The cover letter should explain the applicant's interest in the seminars and how the seminars would help them do their jobs.

For more information and to apply, visit NPEC’s website:

Job ID: 74375323
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