MacArthur announced a grant of $750,000 to double the number of overseas internships available to U.S. Military Academy cadets in the Department of Social Sciences. Internships provide cadets with a better understanding of the complexities of working in different cultures, as well as an opportunity to learn how governments and non-governmental organizations work together. These internship opportunities will better prepare them for the variety of missions they may face in a military that is increasingly involved in peacekeeping operations.
In 2005, 34 cadets participated in internships, only half the number who applied for such positions. With MacArthur funding, the Academy’s Social Science Department plans to expand internship opportunities to at least 75 per year by 2009, including more placements at non-governmental organizations and in new geographic areas. The Department’s Conflict and Human Security Program will also host more guest speakers and increase the number of cadet field trips, which will better prepare cadets for their internship experiences.
“Our military men and women are increasingly called on to work directly with varied organizations in diverse cultures all across the globe to ensure U.S. security and to keep the peace,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “Expanding overseas internships for cadets will provide essential learning opportunities for these future military leaders.”
“Military operations today require officers to work with many different groups, including nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations as well as interagency partners,” said Lt. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy. “Leaders in our nation’s Army must understand both those relationships and the underlying organizational and international cultures. The MacArthur Foundation’s generous grant will help cadets better prepare for the complexity they will face after graduation.”
The Program offers cadets an overview of the nature of global conflict in the 21st century. By investigating conflict prevention, conflict intervention and management, and post-settlement operations, the program seeks to provide cadets with a broader understanding of human security needs.
Cadets who participate in overseas internships make presentations to fellow cadets when they return. Such presentations have included eyewitness reports on conditions in Indonesia, elections in Chad, and micro-credit projects in Lesotho. Several cadets have sought subsequent postings as officers in the areas where their internships were located.