Opportunities at ISW

Summer Internships

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.  Please note that all summer 2016 interns will be required to start on one of two dates:  May 24 or June 1. Please do not contact us for a status update on your application. Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. 

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.

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 – Turkish Linguist

Description: The Institute for the Study of War is seeking motivated and experienced university students or recent graduates to fill the position of Turkish Linguist Intern. The linguist will be responsible for reviewing open source data in Turkish to support our various research teams, with a focus on the Syrian conflict and Russo-Turkish relations. The linguist will have the opportunity to collect and analyze data from traditional and social media sources and will be trained to use analytic software to better inform ISW’s already groundbreaking research. The linguist should be a self-starter able to identify critical inflections and trends, but (s)he will also have the opportunity to work under a research team.

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. The ability to read and conduct research in Turkish is mandatory. 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. 

Employment Opportunities

Research Analyst -- Counterterrorism

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) seeks a full-time Research Analyst to join ISW’s Counterterrorism program and provide timely and exceptional analysis of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)’s global strategy and operations. ISW’s Counterterrorism Program provides vital analysis of ISIS’s intent and global capabilities to support U.S. national security leaders and the American public with regular reports on events in the Middle East, North Africa, India, Southwest and Southeast Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Analysts on the Counterterrorism team are responsible for accurately and comprehensively describing the multiple dimensions of the threat posed by ISIS as it evolves over time. ISW seeks a talented and passionate Research Analyst with proven expertise in understanding ISIS’s ideology and strategy, global social movements, and local and regional drivers of conflict. The Research Analyst must also communicate the risks presented by ISIS’s shifting capabilities for U.S. policy and national security interests.


The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) promotes an understanding of war and conflict by providing data and critical analysis to key American political and military leaders. In addition, ISW seeks to educate civilians about war and conflict, thus bridging gaps between military and civilian decision-makers. ISW aims to improve how the United States formulates and executes its national security policy. ISW is vigilant at monitoring crises around the world, and has a track record of accurately predicting potential and actual conflicts. ISW provides a proven platform for emergent researchers and analysts to launch their careers in an innovative and highly relevant project.

The Counterterrorism team analyzes ISIS’s regional expansion and global terror campaigns by synthesizing unclassified information on extremist actors and local security in order to provide expert and in-depth analysis about ISIS’s intent and capabilities as a military organization and as a radical movement.

 The Counterterrorism team works closely with analysts studying Iraq, Syria, al Qaeda, Iran, Russia, West Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen in order to forecast ISIS’s expansion and impact in the context of complex and volatile regional dynamics. The project aims to keep policy makers informed of the strategic situation, inflection points, and potential policy options for the United States.

The Counterterrorism Research Analyst will develop and articulate the principles of ISIS’s physical and digital ways of war through sustained study of the organization’s objectives, strategy, and operations. The Analyst will assess ISIS’s current impact on global security and forecast how that impact may evolve over time. The Analyst will participate in a high-paced workflow comprised of research, collaboration, and publication of fine-grained daily products in addition to long form writing.

The Counterterrorism Research Analyst implements Palantir software and other data-driven analytic software platforms. The Counterterrorism Research Analyst will publish findings through timely written and graphical reports as well as briefings.

The Counterterrorism Research Analyst will coach, mentor, and manage several research interns and collaborate with other analysts and team members.

The Counterterrorism Research Analyst reports to the Research Manager.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate will have:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree in a field of study related to ISW’s core mission and research agenda;
  2. Previous experience with military operations, either in an operational context or through research or coursework. A sophisticated understanding of military institutions and military history is helpful;
  3. Exceptional writing skills, proven independent research skills, good initiative, and the ability to collaborate on research projects;
  4. Excellent briefing and presentation skills and experience;
  5. Excellent qualitative and analytic skills, ability to represent material graphically, and comfort with integrating technology, particularly social media, into research;
  6. The dedication and drive to produce policy-relevant research in a timely manner;
  7. Interest and enthusiasm for ISW’s research agenda and mission;
  8. Strong Arabic language skills and expertise on ISIS’s history are highly preferred.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please submit a letter of interest, a CV, an academic/professional writing sample (8 pages maximum, excerpts from longer pieces are acceptable), and an unofficial academic transcript to ISW@understandingwar.org. Please format the subject line of your email: FIRST NAME LAST NAME –CT ANALYST. Submit all documents in pdf form with your letter of interest and CV as one document. Documents submitted in Word format will not be considered. Please do not contact us for a status update on your application. Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.