Group visits CIA, State Department and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency during five-day March trip

Norwich University political science students explored the Russia-Ukraine conflict and discussed complicated national security and public policy questions in visits to federal agencies during the 2022 Washington, D.C., Policy Week tour.

Fifteen College of Liberal Arts students participated in the program, which ran March 7 to March 11 and which Norwich University professors Dr. Michael Thunberg and Dr. Nicholas Roberts hosted. Norwich University alumni and Board of Fellows members, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Jayson A. Altieri ’89, U.S. Air Force Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and Mary Bati, M’10 U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C., served as coordinators and mentors for this year’s weeklong experiential learning trek.

The Policy Week Students and faculty began the first two days by visiting the State Department and meeting desk officers and foreign policy experts who discussed challenges and successes of U.S. policies in China, Russia and Ukraine. The students also met with the lesser-known yet equally vital Diplomatic Security Service, a State Department subsection maintaining the security of all U.S. foreign service personnel and facilities worldwide. The students also discussed the Russo-Ukrainian Crisis with John Ballard, consul general, U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine.

Fifteen College of Liberal Arts students participated in the program, which ran March 7 to March 11 and which Norwich University professors Dr. Michael Thunberg and Dr. Nicholas Roberts hosted.

On the third day, students visited the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, one of 18 U.S. intelligence agencies, providing geospatial intelligence support to the interagency. During the visit, cadets and students met with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Cleveland, the agency’s operations director and military deputy, who discussed his agency’s future role in U.S. national security policy addressing the Ukraine crisis.

On Policy Week’s fourth day, Norwich University alumni networked with cadets, students and faculty. The evening reception, hosted by the NU Club of Washington, D.C., followed a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency, where students spoke with private lobbyist and NU alumni Adam Raezler M’09 about the shaping of public policy within the U.S. government.

DC policy weeek 2022 3 min
In visits to prominent government agencies in Washington, D.C., Norwich University students discussed the Russia-Ukraine conflict and other issues affection national security policy. (Photo by Norwich University Photography.)

A national security policy simulation addressing the Ukraine crisis occupied Policy Week’s fifth and final day. Students drew on their own experiences, materials from previous academic lessons and insights from foreign and national security experts to address difficult national security challenges. Current and former U.S. government policy officials joined Norwich faculty and alumni in playing national leaders during the simulation.

Cadet Sean Bassi ’25 said Policy Week widened his perspective.

“The experience in Washington, D.C., illustrated the invisible lines of dialogue, cooperation, and confrontation between cabinet departments who formulate what constitutes our national security policy,” he said, “These hidden lines are often overlooked coming from an academic perspective, where policies are formulated in a vacuum independent of these interactions and I hope to take forward the lessons learned in framing my academic research and efforts to formulate policy.”

Policy Week’s future looks bright, College of Liberal Arts Board of Fellows Chairman Scott M. Shelton ’97 said.

“The Board of Fellows looks forward to supporting the students each year with these preeminent experiential learning trips, now spanning multiple cities and areas of focus,” Shelton said. “It is imperative that we continue to find innovative ways to support the students not only with real-world expertise but to also reduce the financial burden these experiences can create for the students. We look forward to a future where experiential learning will remain a critical component of academic coursework.”

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