Skillbridge Opportunity for Transitioning Military Servicemembers!
Who: Minimum E-6 / O-2 with experience working in intelligence*
What: Serve as a SkillBridge Fellow for a duration of 3-6 months, working on intelligence and national security policy reform, initiatives, and outreach. In this role, you will coordinate, facilitate, and participate in multiple INSA events where senior leaders gather from across the Intelligence Community to discuss key issues and priorities. You will receive direct mentorship from senior staff members at INSA to guide your career discernment process and work alongside graduate interns who are also pursuing a career in the national security sector. Additionally, you will work with INSA’s eight policy councils to encourage dialogue on key security issues, facilitate council meetings, and edit/publish white papers to advocate for policy reform.
Where: The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA), headquartered in Arlington, VA, is a non-profit trade association dedicated to driving public-private collaboration in the intelligence and national security communities. INSA also works closely with defense and intelligence agencies and with federal contractors to enhance government efficiency and improve the effectiveness of contractor support.
When: Accepting rolling applications in Fall/Winter 2022
Why: To gain knowledge and experience working with both government and industry partners in the Intelligence and National Security sectors, make valuable connections for job searching in both the government and private sector, and pursue a career in national security/policy/intelligence!
How to Apply: Submit a resume and cover letter that includes why you want to work at INSA and how this fellowship will inform and enhance your post-military career path. Please send all application materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Exceptions on rank requirements may be made on a case-by-case basis
Please note: this fellowship requires the individual be located in the national capital region. Partial telework is authorized, but the individual should be in the local area to work in the office for the majority of the fellowship and attend events as necessary.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
Q&A with DOD SkillBridge Fellow CPT Susan Lipster, USA
Q: What did you do in the military and why did you choose to undertake a SkillBridge fellowship?
A: I served as an Air Defense Artillerywoman in the Army, where I gained technical and tactical skills in missile defense, C4ISR, and all-source intelligence analysis. I completed assignments in South Korea, Fort Hood, and Saudi Arabia where I supported missile defense operations of US assets. I applied to SkillBridge to receive mentorship on my civilian career path and to practice translating my military experience in a civilian application.
Q: What do you want to do when you leave active duty?
A: I hope to work within the national security-space enterprise. I first developed an interest in counterspace technology and space domain awareness during my time in the military. My time with INSA fostered that interest while also providing me with multiple forums and opportunities to learn more about the increasingly important commercial space sector and its impact on different disciplines of intelligence collection and analysis.
INSA team members connected me with senior executives at multiple member companies and intelligence agencies so I could explore options in government and in different types of contracting firms. Before my Fellowship ended, I had received job offers from an intelligence agency and two large contractors. I’ve accepted a position where I will support military clients on the development and deployment of counter-UAS technologies – my dream job!
Q: What do you do at INSA?
A: I have the unique opportunity to learn about national security and intelligence policy issues from both government officials and the industry experts who support them. I support INSA’s eight policy councils, which address the business of the Intelligence Community and examine issues like security clearance reform, cybersecurity strategies, and management of counterintelligence risks and insider threats. I also worked on developing two written reports, including the next Annual Report. I also develop and facilitate INSA events, including a fireside chat on the roll-out of the Commercial GEOINT Strategy with Dave Gauthier, the Director of Commercial and Business Operations at NGA and a panel on commercial space during the Intelligence and National Security Summit. I also developed a panel discussion on the Intelligence Community workforce and did open source research to support a classified discussion regarding cybersecurity of space infrastructure involving senior executives from NSA, NRO, Northrop Grumman, and MITRE.
I enjoyed supporting activities of the Intelligence and National Security Foundation, INSA’s non-profit organization dedicated to address contemporary intelligence and national security challenges. I also had the opportunity to participate in events at which INSA hosted the Intelligence Community’s top leaders, including the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Directors of NRO, NSA, DIA, NGA, and other intelligence agencies
Q: What will you learn at INSA that will help you transition to a civilian career?
A: I think one of the most important things I have learned at INSA is how to network and make genuine connections that have helped inform my job search. This was particularly valuable to me, as someone that did not know how to narrow down my aspirations of being a “national security analyst”. I also learned, through working with the graduate student interns and mentorship from the management team, how to better translate my military experience into the right language/phrasing to ensure comprehensive understanding of your skills and abilities.
Q: What are your top takeaways from your INSA experience so far?
A: My top takeaways would be: 1) networking is important and takes practice; 2) national security needs positive and strong partnerships between private and public sectors; 3) our nation needs talented, diverse professionals to serve in the intelligence and national security sectors to prepare for future threats and challenges. A fourth piece of advice for transitioning servicemembers: don’t let your MOS or specialty code hold you back from pursing the career you want.
Q: Would you recommend INSA to a future SkillBridge fellow?
A: Most certainly! INSA is the best place for a transitioning servicemember interested in continuing their career in the national security sector. Not only will you gain experience for your next job, develop an understanding of the civilian job market, and build a terrific network, but you will also find a close-knit organization that you’ll want to be a part of for the rest of your career. INSA alumni are frequently involved in various events, and the people you work with and meet will continue to be close relationships.