Clements Center
Clements Center

Clements Funding Recipient Trey Curran talks about his internship at the State Department

Aug 12, 2016

The Clements Center's Student Professional Development Fund enables UT undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern at some of the top governmental and non-governmental organizations across the world by providing monetary support for unpaid positions. 


The Center funded thirteen students this summer and here is Trey Curran's story: 

"This summer I have had the privilege to work in the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers (RSAT), supporting the United States’ mission to enhance our security and that of our allies worldwide. The transfer of U.S.-origin defense articles deepens bilateral and multilateral security relationship with our partners to enhance regional stability and security. This occurs through the direct support of allies’ self-defense and ability to partner in the fight against global terrorist threats. I draft recommendations and justifications of arms transfers that support the security of our allies. This includes an upcoming interdepartmental presentation where I will advocate that a retired Coast Guard cutter be transferred to the Nigerian Navy to support its infrastructure protection, maritime domain awareness, and anti-piracy goals. I also represented RSAT in inter-office discussions to reach agreement on whether arms transfer cases should be licensed. These discussions ensure a nuanced analysis of the regional balance of power is considered alongside allied defense requirements and potential implications to democracy and human rights, in order to ensure our allies’ and their citizens’ security. 

"I have directly supported counter-Boko Haram security assistance and operations planning. I represented RSAT at weekly meetings, which enabled the U.S. government to avoid redundancy and maximize the effective use of limited resources and allowed each U.S. government organization to leverage its capacities to buttress the democratic governments in the Lake Chad Basin region against the terrorist threat. Through effective interagency collaboration on this issue, we have strengthened bilateral relationships with allies, as well as increased our efficacy in fighting terror in the region. I assisted in the coordination of the United States and the Multi-National Joint Task Force’s support to counter-terrorism operations, and helped people to return to their homes half a world away. State and DoD coordinated on efforts to clear and secure contested areas so that USAID and NGOs could provide critical supplies and support to recovering communities.

"I have helped draft Congressional reports and responses detailing foreign policy and national security implications of arms transfers, including the overarching annual Congressional Report on Arms Transfers and Regional Military Balance in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, cheekily nicknamed the MEAT Report. The MEAT Report aids the American peoples’ representatives in providing oversight of our nation’s security cooperation with this critical region.  This has permitted me the opportunity to explore the broad spectrum of United States’ security cooperation across the near East. In conjunction with preparing multiple regional balance of power analyses and preliminary Congressional question and answer sheets, this glimpse into the full scale of data that is ultimately condensed into delineated Congressional notifications has allowed me to work for the benefit of the American people across the scope of security relationships.

"With a couple of weeks left in D.C., I have learned an incredible amount about not only the security challenges facing our allies abroad, but also the breadth of security cooperation and assistance mechanisms that the United States provides to our allies. My work has sustained both American industry and our allies’ abilities to protect themselves overseas by preparing cases worth billions of dollars in U.S.-origin defense articles to proceed to Congressional Notification. Moreover, I have drafted talking points, action memos, and information memos for various officers and Assistant Secretaries as well as the NSC, better preparing them for meetings with Congress, industry leaders, and foreign interlocutors. Through my experience as an intern here in RSAT, I truly feel I have contributed in a meaningful way to the mission of the U.S. Department of State: to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community."

As a student at UT-Austin, Trey studies Aerospace Engineering and Plan II Honors. He has been a Clements Center Undergraduate Fellow during 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 academic years. 

Photo of Ambassadors Philip Hughes (left) and Timothy Chorba (right) provided by Trey (center).