Internships with NDCF

The NDCF Internship program has been suspended and no further applications are being accepted.

We wish to thank all of those former interns who have served over the years, many of whom continue to serve our great nation in leadership positions in the US Armed Forces, intelligence and law enforcement agencies. We are very proud to have been associated with some of America's finest young people. Thank you.

NDCF provides interns an unparalleled, real-world experience in foreign policy and defense studies, with a specific focus on terrorism, low-intensity conflict, and energy security.

Benefits | The Program | Details | Apply | Photos | Publications by Interns


For more than twenty-five years, interns worked closely with former NDCF President Milton Copulos, a leading energy researcher, and former Executive Director Major F. Andy Messing, USAR (Retired), an expert on special operations and low-intensity conflict. Current NDCF Executive Director Stephen Kaplitt and Colonel Bill Cousins, US Army (Retired) provide guidance and assistance to interns performing research and developing articles for publication in major media. Interns have contributed to Foundation efforts at the highest levels, met with key policy-makers and media figures, and developed the professional-level research and writing skills needed to stand out from their peers and address the pressing questions of American security policy.

Dozens of interns have published the results of their research in commentary pieces in The Washington Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, and even The Congressional Record. They have gone on to careers with Congress, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Armed Forces, major defense contractors, and several notable think-tanks.

The Program

NDCF interns are important assets for the foundation and are expected to make significant contributions that will also develop their critical thinking and writing skills. More than 90% of their time is spent on substantive work fulfilling the intern program: finishing the intensive reading list, researching individually, and composing letters and commentary pieces for national newspapers.

NDCF's intern program is three sessions annually corresponding to college semesters and consists of:

  • The core reading list, which consists of key works on strategic thinking, especially from an unconventional viewpoint. Sunzi's The Art of War is a foundational book key to strategic thought. General Edward Lansdale's In the Midst of War introduces the analytical tools for approaching unconventional warfare. Other books, including Theodore Shackley's The Third Option and the Toeffler's War and Anti-War, relate timeless strategic principles to the confused post-Cold War world.
  • A letter to the editor, based on the intern's new understanding, commenting on an article from a major national newspaper.
  • A commentary article, written together with Major Messing, analyzing a significant threat to American security or the effects of American defense policy.

Not every intern completes all three steps, but the vast majority complete at least two, and leave NDCF with a publication on their resume and new ideas, not the sort they could have learned in school, in their heads.


Applicants are generally accepted for an academic semester or the summer. Hours are flexible, but interns are expected to work between fifteen and twenty hours a week. They are provided a $7.50/day stipend to cover costs of transportation to our office in the Rosslyn section of Arlington, VA only a short walk from the Rosslyn Metro stop. Note: NDCF cannot arrange for interns' housing.


The NDCF Internship program has been suspended and no further applications are being accepted.

Photos of Interns in action

July 2010 - NDCF intern for Summer 2010, Allen Caruselle poses with the famous "Dick the Dog" while visiting Major Messing in Key West to collaborate on an op-ed piece about the war in Afghanistan.

August 2009 - NDCF interns for Summer 2009 pose in front of NDCF's many published articles. Left to right: Jonathan Scafide, Reina Saiki, John Llaneza.

September 2008 - Newest NDCF Intern Mariel Rodriquez, left, poses with former NDCF Intern Rachel Seitz who now is employed as a contractor working for the federal government in national security.
Click here to read Mariel's Letter to the Editor.

July 2008 - Former NDCF Chairman Jim Martin and NDCF Research Assistant Annie Rohrhoff pose with Congressman Dan Burton, R-IN during a meeting at Congress.

July 2008 - NDCF Research Assistant Annie Rohrhoff pose with singer, songwriter, actor and motivational speaker Pat Boone at the National Press Club where Pat who spoke about killing the death tax.

August 2007 - Two tour Iraq Marine veteran Aaron Ferreira and Devika Parashar are in the Summer 2007 class of NDCF interns.
Click here to read Devika's Letter to the Editor.

August 2007 - Aaron Ferreira and Sarah Gwilliam, Summer 2007 interns, prepare NDCF newsletters for mailing.
Click here to read Sarah's Letter to the Editor.
Aaron also published a Letter to the Editor of the Washington Times which will be posted shortly.

August 2007 - Former NDCF intern now US Army CPT Steve Katz, assigned as a Combat Engineer with the US Army 1st Infantry Division in Iraq poses with an Iraqi doctor and an interpreter as they sort some of the prescription drugs and diabetic test kits delivered by NDCF to support a civic action mission in Ramadi, Iraq.

July 2007 - Former NDCF intern now US Army CPT Steve Katz, assigned as a Combat Engineer with the US Army 1st Infantry Division in Iraq poses with USMC General Peter Pace, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Spring 2007 - Former NDCF intern 1LT Steve Katz, assigned as a Combat Engineer with the US Army 1st Infantry Division in Iraq poses with the Mayor of the city of Ramadi.

Fall 2006 - Former NDCF intern, left, assigned to unconventional role in Iraq poses with a British member of the team.

November 2006 - Pat Boone pauses for autographs after his speech at The Heritage Foundation. L to R, Pat Boone, Jim Martin of Sixty Plus, NDCF Intern Chase Bode and NDCF Executive Director Major Messing.

August 2006 - Major Messing administers the US Army officer oath of office to former intern Robert Paisley. New Second Lieutenant Paisley entered the Army Medical Service Corps and plans to attend medical school and become a Special Forces surgeon.

NDCF's Intern Class of Summer 2003 in Congress with Representative Dan Burton, R-IN.
From left: Chris DesBarres, Dan Somavilla, Rep. Burton and David Riddy

NDCF's Intern Class of Summer 2001 with House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX).
From left: Mike (Central Florida), Justin (US Army ROTC Duke), Kristen (U of Richmond),
Congressman Armey, Adam (Tufts), Adam our Canadian (Queens College), and Michael (Pepperdine).

NDCF Interns get medical supplies ready for a mission.

Shown standing in the foreground former NDCF Intern 1st Lieutenant Patrick Keane in 2004 while serving as a US Marine Corps officer in Afghanistan. Patrick also later served in Iraq where he was wounded. He returned to the US in 2006.

NDCF interns Heidi Bonnett and Ryan Scalise pose in front of some of the many articles published in major media over the years by NDCF staff and Research Assistants.

NDCF intern Amy Bowe in 1999 working on an Op-Ed piece in a room full of medical supplies bound for Central America.

Former NDCF President Milt Copulos poses with a group of interns in front of the display of the numerous Op-Eds and opinion pieces published in major media by NDCF staff and interns.

NDCF interns pose on the steps of the US Capitol with Major Messing and members of Congress.

NDCF interns Amy and Holly pose with Representative Dan Burton R-Indiana.

NDCF interns pose in El Salvador while on a mission delievring much needed medical supplies.

NDCF's Interns Greg Winger (left) and Jordan Evert (right) visit Fox News Television with Major Messing who was being interviewed about the Israeli/Hezbollah Conflict.

Major Messing poses with former 1985 NDCF staffer Lieutenant Commander Tom Davey who recently returned from a combat tour in Afghanistan as a US Naval officer. Tom presented Major Messing with a donation to the foundation equal to one month's combat pay as well as an Operation Enduring Freedom commemorative coin.