Center for Security in Politics introduces inaugural Washington D.C. Immersion Week

April 20, 2023

Last month, the Center for Security in Politics offered UC Berkeley students an exclusive look into the inner workings of how government agencies and the private sector mitigate national and global security risks. Led by Professor Janet Napolitano — who reached out to her personal and professional colleagues to organize the week and develop the curriculum — the Washington, D.C. Immersion Week (DCIW) is the first-of-its-kind three-unit course and travel seminar offered at the Goldman School.

The course connected students to industry representatives, academics, and policymakers in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI, and the CIA, among others. Students yielded insights from policy makers and senior officials, taking part in a full week of meetings, panels, and visits at government headquarters.

The content was focused on security policy; how security issues are mitigated and handled by security professionals across industries; and how security threats to our democracy and infrastructure can be better managed and addressed across sectors in Washington D.C. and abroad.

In addition to visiting various government agencies and private practices, students participated in the Uncommon Table, an initiative built by the Center for Security in Politics and American University’s Sine Institute of Policy and Politics. Held at American University, the dinner brings together disparate voices and explores how we can create common ground to reconnect Americans to a renewed sense of trust in each other and our democracy.

The panel for the evening, moderated by Napolitano, featured Richard Fontaine, CEO, Center for a New American Security; and Cornell Belcher, President, Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies.

During the week, the students met with top administration officials and private practice executives to learn about the policy-making process on high-priority issues in security. The week concluded with onsite crisis simulation exercises at the National War College.

The trip is the first field immersion offered by GSPP. Immersion courses emphasize experiential learning, collaboration with elite companies and agencies, and networking with high-level business and policy experts. If funding allows, the goal is to offer these immersions at least once per year for students. Not only is the content and networking beyond compare, but the broader understanding of national security issues are transformative.

Read more about CSP’s DC Immersion week here and see more photos below.