Clements Center
Clements Center

Clements summer policy intern
Alan Leonard at the House Armed Services Committee

Aug 29, 2014

I spent the summer at the House Armed Services committee responsible for the authorization and oversight of the Department of Defense (DoD) and US military activities.

My responsibilities included helping the research, writing and editing of memoranda on topics like destroyer and cruiser modernization, missile defense, the acquisition workforce, and US security agreements. I also helped with the committee's hearings and briefings to examine DoD processes and policies. As a policy student you get to see first-hand how hard it is to deliver both context and analysis quickly, especially with rapidly evolving events. One staff member summed it up a couple weeks ago by blurting out, "can current events please stop happening!" The best part of the internship, far and away, was the committee staff. They are a smart, dedicated and dynamic group, and it was an honor to work with them.

I supplemented my internship with two classes taught by adjunct faculty members of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. One class taught the process by which the policy ideas we learn in the classroom are actually sculpted into legislative language, using both historical case studies and our own independent projects. The other class used national security to understand the tensions and dynamics between the executive and legislative branch. These combined with the coursework provided constant feedback and food for thought.

Click here to learn more about the Summer Student Development Fund.