As the weeks have gone by I have really become part of the team. I am treated as a regular employee, assigned to tasks billeted personnel would normally be responsible for. The trust afforded me by my division has allowed me to further develop my analytical research and writing skills as well as positively contribute to the workflow of other divisions. I am really enjoying my time here and am grateful for the support provided by the SSP summer grant.
How does your internship sponsor or agency contribute to the mission of national security?
USTRANSCOM provides air, land, and sea transportation for personnel, materiel, and aid in peace and in war and functions as the Department of Defense’s single manager for transportation. The command organizes and employs forces to carry out assigned missions and supports other unified commands with transportation and strategic mobility objectives. Put simply, USTRANSCOM leverages its resources to deploy and sustain forces in times of war and utilizes those same networks to deliver aid and assistance in times of peace or humanitarian crisis.
USTRANSCOM is special among the combatant commands because its mission is functional, rather than regional. As such, personnel must keep abreast of events happening globally in order to prepare appropriate courses of action should U.S. capabilities need to be utilized. USTRANSCOM lies at the core of the United State’s security enterprise as it provides the means by which domestic and foreign operations are readied, sustained, and returned home.
Why did you choose this particular country/internship?
I chose this particular internship because it offered the opportunity to work within a joint combatant command. As SSP students, we learn about the different cultures of the armed forces through books and articles. It is a unique experience to work in an environment where all of the services must come together and work towards a single mission, while still maintaining their own service missions and identity. I wanted to experience this dynamic firsthand. Now that I am a little over halfway through my internship and have established relationships with individuals from the branch services and three letter agencies, I can honestly say that while the service cultures are strikingly different from one another, the commitment to the central overarching mission ties them all together.
How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
As a relative newcomer to the field, this experience has given me a crash course in the “nuts-and-bolts” of how the leviathan that is the U.S. defense system operates within defined domains and across theaters. Understanding how these processes work is critical to any career field even remotely related to security and international affairs because it affects decision-making that can have an impact on millions of lives across the globe. Everything from whether or not, even how, to intervene in a crisis to how financial resources are allocated are directly related to the capability of the United States to meet challenges logistically.
The experience that I have gained at USTRANSCOM has provided me with a new lens with which to view the current and future challenges facing the United States. I believe that this is an asset that can be applied across multiple fields regardless of which career path I choose.