Employment

Opportunities at ISW

 Summer Internship Opportunities

Applications for Summer 2016 internships at the Institute for the Study of War are now being accepted. You may submit your application immediately. We will consider applications on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. We will begin considering applications immediately for the following positions:

Research Internship - Iraq Project
Research Internship - Afghanistan Project
Research Internship - Syria Project
Research Internship - Egypt Security Project
Research Internship - Counterterrorism project
Research Internship - Ukraine Project
Communications and Digital Arts Internship
Press, Media, and Government Relations Internship
Fundraising and Non-Profit Management Internship
Emerging Technologies Internship
Editing and Communications Internship
Presidential Internship
 

We prefer full-time availability although part-time interns may also be accepted depending on qualifications. All intern positions are unpaid.

To submit your application, please email your cover letter, resume, a brief writing sample (5 pages maximum, excerpts from longer pieces are acceptable), and unofficial transcript to internships@understandingwar.org.

Please format the subject line of your email: FIRST NAME LAST NAME

Please submit all documents in pdf form and submit your resume and cover letter as one document. Documents submitted in word format WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.

Please only submit one application – if you are interested in multiple positions, please list them in rank order at the top of your cover letter. Please also list these in rank order at the top of your email submission.

Why work for ISW: ISW believes ground realities must drive the formulation of strategy and policy. In pursuit of this principle, ISW conducts detailed, open-source intelligence analysis to provide the most accurate information on current conflicts and security threats. We offer interns a chance to train on work with cutting-edge technologies employed in business and in the intelligence community. Interns at ISW will have an unparalleled opportunity to conduct research that directly informs policy-makers on some of the most pressing issues facing American national security. Our interns work directly with analysts and have many opportunities to engage with Institute leadership on the subjects of their research. ISW offers its interns to be at the front lines of military research and policy, tackling the issues that are in the headlines. ISW has published the work of its interns and hired many onto its staff.

Research Internship – Iraq Project

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of research intern with the Iraq Project.

ISW’s Iraq Project is its original, flagship program and has an outstanding history and reputation.  ISW publishes regular research reports on Iraq in order to inform policy makers and journalists in Washington, DC, as well as the general public.  The Iraq program examines the resurgence of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the spillover between Iraq and Syria, and Iraq’s foreign relations and politics.  Interns will be trained to use innovative technologies to assist their research.  Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of Research Analysts; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with coursework in a field of study related to ISW's core mission and research agenda. Graduate-level coursework in a related field is a plus. Interns with the ability to read and conduct research in Arabic are highly desired, as is knowledge of Iraq. Candidates should have excellent writing and analytical skills, and the ability to conduct research using social media and other open sources. Ideal candidates should also have the ability to conduct tasks in a timely and efficient manner.  The candidate must also possess an interest in and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission.

Iraq Interns report to the Iraq Research Analysts and Research Director.

Research Internship – Afghanistan Project


“On the Afghanistan team I learned new methods to track insurgent hideouts and support bases. My team was able to use these techniques to create a detailed map of insurgent attack and control zones and evaluate the most vulnerable places in the country.” – H.B., Summer 2015 Afghanistan Intern


Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of research intern with the Afghanistan project.


ISW publishes regular research reports on Afghanistan’s politics and security in order to inform policy makers and journalists in Washington, DC, as well as the general public.  Interns will be trained to use innovative technologies to assist their research.  Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of Research Analysts; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with coursework in a field of study related to the ISW's core mission and research agenda. Graduate-level coursework in a related field is a plus, as is familiarity with Afghanistan. Candidates should have excellent writing and analytical skills, and the ability to conduct research. Ideal candidates should also have the ability to conduct tasks in a timely and efficient manner.  The candidate must also possess an interest in and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission. Interns with the ability to read the Farsi, Dari, or Pashto language and to conduct research in one of those languages are highly desired.

Interns report to the Internship Coordinator and Research Director.

Research Internship – Syria Project

 "Working on Syria Team was an incredible opportunity. Each of the interns was responsible for tracking an actor inside Syria such as the regime, Jabhat al-Nusra, or the opposition. It truly allows you to specialize and learn about the conflict every day.” – S.N., Summer 2015 Syria Intern

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of research intern with the Syria Project.  


ISW’s Syria project has become a leading source of innovative analysis and information about the Syrian civil war. Interns will provide critical assistance to our researchers. Interns will be trained to use innovative technologies to assist their research, as Syrian social media is a key source of information on this conflict. ISW publishes regular research reports on the conflict in Syria and evolving and emerging conflicts in the Middle East in order to inform policy makers and journalists in Washington, DC, as well as the general public. Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of Research Analysts; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications:  The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with coursework in a field of study related to the ISW's core mission and research agenda. Graduate-level coursework in a related field is a plus, as is familiarity with Syria. Candidates should have excellent writing and analytical skills, and the ability to conduct research using social media and open sources. Ideal candidates should also have the ability to conduct tasks in a timely and efficient manner. The candidate must also possess an interest in and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission. Interns with the ability to read and conduct research in Arabic, Turkish, or Farsi are highly desired.

Syria Interns report to the Research Analysts and Research Director.

Research Internship – Egypt Security Project

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of research intern with the Egypt Security Project.  

Interns will provide critical assistance to our researchers. ISW is expanding its research into the conflict in Egypt in order to inform policy makers and journalists in Washington, DC, as well as the general public. Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of the Deputy Research Director; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications:  The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with coursework in a field of study related to the ISW's core mission and research agenda. Work or academic experience in Egypt is also a plus. Candidates should have excellent writing and analytical skills, and the ability to conduct research independently. Ideal candidates should also have the ability to conduct tasks in a timely and efficient manner. The candidate must also possess an interest in and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission. Arabic language skills are mandatory.

Egypt interns report to the Internship Coordinator and Research Director. 

Research Internship – Counterterrorism Team

"Working as a Counterterrorism intern is extremely challenging because research isn’t focused on a single country or region. I have achieved a level of insight and knowledge into ISIS’s social media presence and global messaging strategy that I never thought was possible from an internship." - L.H., Spring and Summer 2015 Counterterrorism Intern


Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of counterterrorism intern.

ISW publishes regular research reports on the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) as well as other terrorist networks in the Middle East in order to inform policy makers and journalists in Washington, DC, as well as the general public. This portfolio focuses upon network analysis, center of gravity analysis, and intelligence from open sources. Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of Research Analysts; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with military or intelligence experience and coursework in a field of study related to the ISW's core mission and research agenda. Graduate-level coursework in a related field or demonstrated network analysis experience is a plus. Candidates should have excellent writing and analytical skills, the ability to conduct research, and desire to use technology. Familiarity Palantir or other analytical visualization software platforms is preferred. Ideal candidates should also have the ability to conduct tasks in a timely and efficient manner.  The candidate must also possess an interest in and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission. Interns with the ability to read and conduct research in Arabic are highly desired.

The Counter terrorism Interns will report to the Research Analysts and Research Director.

Research Internship – Ukraine Project

 "My time at ISW has not been anything like the stereotypical ‘internship experience’, and has instead given me the opportunity to constantly test and expand my analytical and Russian language skills. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the other interns and the staff here.”  - F.H., summer 2015 Ukraine Intern

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of research intern with the Ukraine Project.  

ISW’s Ukraine focuses on innovative analysis and open-source research on the zones of conflict. Interns will provide critical assistance to our researchers. Interns will be trained to use innovative technologies to assist their research, and to gather information from social media as a key source of information on this conflict. The Ukraine team at ISW analyzes the dynamic conflict ongoing in Ukraine (and potentially elsewhere in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union) by synthesizing unclassified information on military operations and political players in order to provide expert and in-depth analysis about Russian intent and capabilities, separatist intent and capabilities, the intent and capabilities of the Ukrainian government and volunteer forces, and the potential for political crisis in Kyiv. ISW will be expanding a series of publications and graphical products to inform policy makers and journalists in Washington, DC, as well as the general public. Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of Research Analysts; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications:  The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with coursework in a field of study related to the ISW's core mission and research agenda. Graduate-level coursework in a related field is a plus, as is familiarity with Ukraine and/or Russia. Candidates should have excellent writing and analytical skills, and the ability to conduct research using social media and open sources. Ideal candidates should also have the ability to conduct tasks in a timely and efficient manner. The candidate must also possess an interest in and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission. Interns with the ability to read and conduct research in Russian or Ukrainian are highly desired.

Ukraine Interns report to the Ukraine Research Analyst and Research Director.

To submit your application, please email your cover letter, resume, a brief writing sample (5 pages maximum, excerpts from longer pieces are acceptable), and unofficial transcript to internships@understandingwar.org.

  • Please format the subject line of your email: FIRST NAME LAST NAME
  • Please submit all documents in pdf form and submit your resume and cover letter as one document. Documents submitted in Word format will NOT BE CONSIDERED. 
  • Please only submit one application – if you are interested in multiple positions, please list them in rank order at the top of your cover letter. Please also list these in rank order at the top of your email submission. 

 Communication and Digital Arts Internship

The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of Communications and Digital Arts Intern. 

The Communications and Digital Arts Intern is responsible for assisting the External Relations Department with supplementing ISW’s research, publications, and events through the visual arts. The Communications and Digital Arts Intern will help design print and web products and graphics. ISW production has been featured in major media news outlets including and not limited to CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The New York Times. The Communications and Digital Arts intern will contribute heavily to ISW’s mission of providing timely and accurate information to policy-makers and war fighters. Among other duties, the Communications and Digital Arts intern will be actively involved with developing ISW’s website, coordinating events, forging social media initiatives, and producing collateral outreach materials.

Candidates must be motivated, organized university students or recent graduates with coursework in a related field.  They should have experience with Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Experience with website management is preferred though not required.  Familiarity with international and national security topics is a plus.  The applicant must possess excellent writing and editing capabilities. Exceptional candidates will have commitment and interest in ISW's core mission and values. 

Press, Media, and Government Relations Internship

 “During my internship I have had the opportunity to attend high profile hearings and briefings on the Hill and assist in outreach to over 25,000 individuals who rely on ISW’s publications. I know of no other organization as devoted to its mission or as invested in its interns as ISW.” – N.R., Summer 2015 Press, Media and Government Relations Intern

The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of Press, Media, and Government Relations Intern. 

The Press, Media, and Government Relations Intern is responsible for assisting the External Relations Department with updating ISW’s press and media tracker (excel document), and helping to create material for a monthly newsletter. The Press, Media, and Government Relations Intern will help assist the External Relations Director with press inquiries including inquiries from major media news outlets including and not limited to CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and The New York Times. The Press, Media, and Government Relations intern will contribute heavily to ISW’s mission of providing timely and accurate information to policy-makers and war fighters. Among other duties, the Press, Media, and Government Relations intern will be actively involved with developing ISW’s outreach lists, coordinating events, and producing collateral outreach materials.

Candidates must be motivated, organized university students or recent graduates with coursework in a related field.  They should have experience with the MS Office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.   Experience handling phone calls and responding to external inquiries is preferred though not required.  Familiarity with international and national security topics is a plus.  The applicant must possess excellent writing and editing capabilities. Exceptional candidates will have commitment and interest in ISW's core mission and values. 

Fundraising and Non-profit Management Internship

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking a highly-motivated, organized, and creative university student or recent graduate to fill the position of fundraising and non-profit management intern during the spring semester. You will be responsible for assisting the Development Director and President in initiating, implementing, and monitoring ISW’s fundraising and development initiatives. The intern will play an important role in helping to plan and coordinate fundraising events and engagements.  The intern will also assist with researching new prospects; writing newsletter articles and grant proposals; drafting communications to prospective and current donors; developing marketing materials; and maintaining records and database information. 

Qualifications: This position offers a unique opportunity for an individual with excellent communication skills and an interest in fundraising to enhance their credentials.  It is the perfect opportunity for individuals who want to learn more about working for a non-profit and are looking to make an over-size impact on a growing and dynamic organization!   

Qualifications: Current students or recent graduates with an interest in fundraising, non-profit management, event planning, and/or marketing are encouraged to apply. Ideal candidates will have a strong academic record in non-profit management, business, public relations, communications and/or political science or international relations. Strong candidates will also have a commitment to and interest in ISW’s mission.

The Fundraising and Non-Profit Management Intern will report to the Development Director. 

Emerging Technologies Internship

“Interns are an integral part of the team at ISW. We don’t do clerical or administrative work. As a technology intern, I was tasked with challenging projects and even given the opportunity to start my own.” – M.C., Summer 2015 Emerging Technologies Intern

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of Emerging Technologies Intern.

ISW is constantly seeking to utilize new technologies and partnerships in order to improve research collection and visualization. ISW also produces graphics and maps that visually represent the ongoing conflicts in ISW’s areas of focus. ISW seeks to remain at the forefront of technological innovation to improve its products and better inform its audiences. ISW Interns will be trained to use innovative technologies to assist their research. Interns are expected to conduct research under the guidance of Research Analysts; work in conjunction with other members of the research staff to produce research briefs and analysis; assist with editing, documenting, and supporting materials for products of the Institute; assist with the planning, preparation, and execution of public events and private briefings of employees of the Institute; and conduct other activities in support of Institute projects.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will be a recent graduate or current undergraduate with coursework in computer science as well as a field of study related to ISW's core mission and research agenda. Graduate-level coursework in a related field is a plus. Candidates should be self-motivated, independent, creative, and demonstrate strong analytical skills, the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, and a passion for foreign affairs. Knowledge of HTML, Java, XML, Python and GIS software is strongly recommended. 

Duties include, but are not limited to, creating map products, automating online research processes, assisting with data management and curation, social media engagement, assisting our team on utilizing current technologies while pursuing new opportunities.

Emerging Technologies Interns report to the Research team.

Editing and Communications Internship

 “I’ve gotten the chance both to work closely with the products that ISW creates across country teams and to work on larger communications initiatives. This internship has been a tremendous opportunity to learn about the topics we research, how ISW impacts the military and policy communities, and about working at a think tank in general.” – M.S., Summer 2015 Editing and Communications Intern


The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of Editor Intern.

The Editor Intern is responsible for assisting the research team with ensuring that each of ISW’s publications achieves its full potential to inform policy and military audiences, and that products are both high quality and timely to support future decisions about America’s national security. The Editor Intern will edit all written and many graphical products, ranging from 1500-word blogposts to 20,000 word reports. The Editor Intern works on both content and copy, ensuring that language and composition are maximized for efficiency and impact for a policy audience while retaining the nuance of the analysis. The Editor Intern may also be asked to collaborate with the external relations and development teams to ensure the accuracy and readability of non-research products.

Candidates must be motivated, organized university students or recent graduates with coursework in a field requiring extensive English-language composition and with experience editing in a high-velocity environment. They should have experience with MS Office, and proficiency in InDesign and Adobe Illustrator is preferred. Familiarity with international and national security topics is a plus. The applicant must possess excellent writing and editing capabilities. Exceptional candidates will have a commitment and interest in ISW’s core mission and values.

Presidential Internship

The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated, experienced, and creative university students or recent graduates to fill the position of Presidential Intern.

The Presidential Intern is responsible for assisting the President of the Institute for the Study of War, Dr. Kimberly Kagan, with a range of responsibilities in non-profit management. Past interns to the president have conducted research projects, designed electronic material for publication, assisted with event coordination, and participated in development events. The Presidential Intern will have the ability to work across different teams as well as attend some briefings and meetings with Dr. Kagan. The Presidential Intern directly assists Dr. Kagan on a daily basis and must be able to juggle responsibilities as well as be very organized and task oriented.

Candidates must be motivated and mature university students or recent graduates with coursework in a field related to national security, international relations, or history. Familiarity with international and national security topics is required.  They should have experience with the MS Office including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Experience with InDesign and Adobe Creative Suite is a plus as well. The successful applicant will possess excellent writing and editing capabilities and have commitment and interest in ISW's core mission and values.