Tag Archives: National Security

Mark Temnycky, Greetings From DOD

My name is Mark Temnycky. I am a Ukrainian-American pursuing a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in International Relations. I am also seeking a Certificate of Advanced Study in the European Union and Contemporary Europe, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in National Security Studies.

This fall I was fortunate to intern at the U.S. Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy (DoD: OSD), located at the Pentagon, where the duration of the internship lasted 16 weeks. During this period I assisted in developing U.S. and NATO strategy and policies; represented the DoD in interagency meetings, ensuring Department equities are protected while facilitating accomplishments of U.S. policy objects; prepared briefings, decision papers, and action memos for senior DoD officials; and interacted weekly with officials in the National Security Council, Department of State, Intelligence Agencies, U.S. European Command, and U.S. Mission to NATO.

During my days off, including the weekends, I was able to explore the numerous riches that Washington, D.C. has to offer. For example, I visited many of the memorials, visited the various Smithsonian museums throughout Washington, and attended numerous cultural events at embassies and festivals. I was also exposed to the sports culture in Washington, where I met some players from the U.S. men’s national soccer team; some friends and I attended the U.S. vs. New Zealand friendly at RFK Stadium, and we watched the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Washington Redskins in an NFC East division game at FedExField.

Overall I am very blessed and thankful for this experience. I learned more about the various administrative processes of the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. NATO Policy, the various issues that NATO faces during the twenty first century, and the strength that the NATO Allies have in order to overcome these issues. The experience was simply surreal. Thank you Washington!

Mark Temnycky at the Pentagon.

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Emily Ma Takes Unexpected Path from DC to Turkey

Emily Ma is a MAIR student who wrote this post last summer. She is currently interning at the U.S. Commercial Service in Taipei, Taiwan.

The course of my summer in Washington D.C. did not turn out as expected at all. I accepted an internship with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security as a Pathways Intern. On the first day of the internship, I found myself assigned to the Refugee Affairs Division. Blindly diving into this internship, it has turned out to be a profoundly rewarding experience, and a potential turning point in my career.

A division that works rather under the radar (my supervisors have admitted), the Refugee Affairs Division is the adjudicating authority on all refugee applications into the United States.  The RAD Office (as the US Government – USG – is so fond of acronyms), is comprised of several different sections, but I was the intern for the Refugee Corps. Refugee Officers within the Refugee Corps are sent on monthly details around the world to adjudicate refugee applications after they have been referred to the United States by UNHCR. I had heard about refugee resettlement within the US, and RAD is the final security check, pre-arrival.

The first project with which I was tasked was to organize and coordinate a large hiring surge of officers for the division. I organized resumes, collected letters of recommendation, and had the opportunity to sit in on several interviews.

After successfully completing the first project within the first three weeks working at RAD, my supervisors decided to send me to Turkey as a fingerprinter on the next detail. Despite the several setbacks due to recent events in Turkey, the US Embassy in Turkey confirmed that it was safe for our team to continue the mission. So, somehow, here I am writing this blog post in Turkey. I’ve been working directly (fingerprinting can be surprisingly difficult at times) with refugees, and the Refugee Officers on my team allow me to observe their interviews with refugee applicants.

Working with refugees and leaving the country had most assuredly not been in my plans when I moved down to DC this summer, but I guess it just goes to show that you’ll never know where life will take you.

P.S. Refugee Officers want to make it clear that refugee adjudications are made by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Refugee Affairs Division, not the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Emily Ma at the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey

Emily Ma at the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Kyra Murphy Forgoes DOS Internship for Language Training with No Regrets

Kyra Murphy is a joint MPA/MAIR student who worked as a graduate policy fellow with the National Security Network (NSN) in Washington, DC  during the Summer 2015 semester . She was also Head Intern at the National Security Studies Program at the Maxwell School under with Col. Bill Smullen (Ret.) and Executive Director Sue Virgil during the Fall semester 2015.

Originally, I had planned to be in New York City for the Fall 2015 Semester of my 2nd year working toward the MPA/MAIR Degrees. My internship with the U.S. Department of State at the permanent mission to the United Nations was confirmed and I could not have been more excited! Then, things changed. Unfortunate circumstances and wonderful new opportunities resulted in my decision to forget NYC and come back to Syracuse for the Fall Semester. My decision was primarily influenced by the announcement that I had been awarded a national Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for South Asian studies. This opportunity meant that I would have the chance to begin studying new languages, both Hindi and Urdu, as well as return to my former graduate fellowship position working at the National Security Studies program with Col. Bill Smullen (Ret.) and Executive Director Sue Virgil.

To my surprise, my decision ended up being one without any regrets. Even though the chance to work at the U.S. Mission to the UN would have been an unbelievable opportunity, I truly believe that I made the right choice. Now, I have the opportunity to expand my language skills even further, and have applied for a Boren Fellowship to spend the next year in India researching nuclear policy. I am even more marketable for when I begin my job search, as I have two additional critical languages to add to my former experience in Turkish. Finally, I am working as the Brady K. Fellow for the National Security Studies program and have been able to acquire skills in administration, logistics, strategy, and overall organization management.

The U.S. State Department will always have internship opportunities, but incredible fellowships don’t come around very often. I am thankful that I had wonderful mentors and advisors at the Maxwell School to help me make the right decision.

Kyra Murphy, MPA/MAIR studnet

Kyra Murphy

Beth Gawne Tackles Security & Nonproliferation at the State Department in DC

Beth Gawne is enjoying her life in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne is enjoying her life in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne spent three years teaching English in rural Japan before coming to the Maxwell School. She is a joint MPA/MAIR student who will finish with two degrees. She interned at the United States Department of State in Washington, DC and is a regular contributor to the PAIA Insider blog.

“And they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.” –Isaiah 2:4

This is a quote I saw often in a hallway of the Harry S Truman building of the State Department while I spent my Fall Semester learning about nonproliferation efforts in the US. This quote was written as a mural on the wall of the floor I worked on, and across from it was an image of a mushroom cloud from the first successful nuclear test of the Manhattan Project. It gave me inspiration and motivation as I worked in the front office of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN), sitting in on meetings with high-level diplomats and representatives from the government, taking notes, and organizing briefing documents for the Assistant Secretary.

My time in the State Department provided me a 30,000-ft view of what the US does to prevent nuclear, biological, and chemical materials from being used as weapons, and instead to focus those efforts on peaceful means. I learned that these efforts range from formal treaties and conventions, to interdiction and export control, to even helping scientists overseas to prevent accidents or theft of dangerous materials. Even more, I learned about the slow moving machine that is the bureaucracy meant to ensure that these efforts are consistent and properly coordinated. I realized that without this, our government would spend its time responding to the latest crisis and be unable to do anything else long-term.

My job itself had me working alongside other staff assistants to make sure the leadership of the bureau was prepared for meetings and events. I got to see what makes a strong leader within the government, and I had the opportunity to work with some of the most engaging, kind, and supportive people I have ever met. I even was given a chance to do a few projects in other offices, helping with detailed data collection that was going to be used to impact a real problem on the ground. Knowing I was involved in something that would make a difference was probably one of the best parts of the internship overall. I wasn’t making copies and running to Starbucks; I was helping to communicate an argument for NATO or inform bureau officers of a country’s stance on an issue.

I was most impressed with the quality of the leadership within the bureau, and for people who have such important and high-level jobs, everyone was down-to-earth and welcoming. I’m excited to see what my future holds, and hopefully my path will cross with ISN once again— even if I’m not directly working there.

Read Beth’s latest contribution to the PAIA Insider blog:
Life as a Returning 2nd Year Student, AKA: Should you do a dual degree?

Learn more about the Maxwell-in-Washington program

Beth Gawne with friends in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne with friends in Washington D.C.

Beth Gawne standing in front of mural on the wall of the State Department

Beth Gawne standing in front of mural on the wall of the State Department

Marc Barnett Tells us About Working with Transparency International

As part of the Atlantis Transatlantic Degree Program in International Security and Development Policy, Marc Barnett will graduate with dual degrees from two leading institutions. He will complete a Master of International Relations (MAIR) degree at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, and he will complete a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Over the summer, he further interned at the Council of Europe.

Atlantis students Celina Menzel, Andrew Lyman, Tim Stoutzenberger, Rachel Penner, & Marc Barnett at the Berlin Festival of Lights

Atlantis students Celina Menzel, Andrew Lyman, Tim Stoutzenberger, Rachel Penner, & Marc Barnett at the Berlin Festival of Lights

Corruption represents a pervasive issue for both the developing and developed world. It tends to undercut national security by providing safe havens for terrorist groups and organized crime as well as undermining human security through impunity and lack of accountability. Transparency International is headquartered in Berlin, Germany and one sector of this organization, the Secretariat, has fought against corruption since its inception in 1993.

Transparency International was founded by Peter Eigen who is a former World Bank employee. The Berlin-based Secretariat organizes and coordinates the fight against corruption working in conjunction with over 100 national chapters. Corruption issues have found their way to the top of many policymakers’ agendas in recent years, in no small part due to the work Transparency International has done. Due to support from PAIA, The Maxwell School, and Syracuse University I was given the opportunity to intern with Transparency International – Secretariat, which is nestled in the eclectic Berlin district of Moabit on the river Spree.

Working under the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) division, my duties mainly focused on the Western Balkans. This is an area in which I had prior expertise due to my research with the Global Black Spots Project, a joint initiative between the INSCT and Moynihan. I edited and synthesized various corruption reports from the region. Most notably I analyzed the National Integrity Systems (NIS) project, which contained seven accounts from national chapters in the region including Turkey. Some of my other responsibilities were substantial and sophisticated donor mapping analysis of South East Europe as well as working with members of the ECA team on grant proposals and concept notes to various organizations including the European Commission, Open Society Foundation, and bilateral donors in the region. Finally, I tested out important recommendations from the NIS reports in order to strategically plan for the next phase of the NIS project.

As someone interested in the developing nexus between corruption and national security, the experience proved to be invaluable. I was able to be a privileged observer to corruption experts in the field. Furthermore, building upon my experience this summer with the Council of Europe (Pompidou Group), I gained valuable insight into the inner workings of an international organization. As Transparency International develops a new strategic plan, conversations in the Berlin Secretariat resounded and resonated with my prior coursework from the Maxwell School, centering on impact, output, and strategic analysis.

I hope that future students will be able to follow in my footsteps and continue the arduous, yet rewarding work of Transparency International. Ultimately, fighting corruption remains more of an art than a science with no formula for success. Even scholars and experts often disagree on the most successful initiatives, but fixing political corruption proves to be the most important, yet possibly the most elusive.

Kyra Murphy, Learning from Her Supervisor at National Security Network

Kyra Murphy, MPA/MAIR studnet

Kyra Murphy


Kyra Murphy is a joint MPA/MAIR student who after interning in Washington, DC is now Head Intern at the National Security Studies Program at the Maxwell School under Col. Smullen.

My first experience living and working in Washington, DC could not have been more rewarding. This past May I relocated to the DC area for the opportunity to work as a graduate policy fellow with the National Security Network (NSN). The professional experience, lifestyle, and general atmosphere of Washington in the summer collectively cultivated a time that I will never soon forget.

As a graduate policy fellow for NSN I worked very closely with my supervisor, the head policy analyst within the organization. Due to the similarities in our national security focus, I spent the majority of my time researching and preparing internal policy memos regarding the Turkish-Syrian-Iraqi border and currently volatile regions. Delving into U.S. foreign and defense policy on Islamic State (IS) and the geopolitical relationships in the Middle East allowed me both the time and the resources to investigate some of my interests more fully outside of the classroom settings back in Syracuse.

One of the most integral parts of my experience with NSN was the exposure to the high level practitioners within the national security industry in Washington, DC. Due to the connections and relationships that both my supervisor and others in the organization had throughout Capitol Hill, I was provided many unique opportunities that most graduate summer interns do not get to benefit from. One of the assistants to the Deputy National Security Advisor of the United States gave me and my three fellow interns a private tour of the West Wing of the White House late one Thursday evening. Additionally, due to the Executive Director of NSN’s personal professional experience in the State Department I received a special tour of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms located on the upper levels of the Harry S. Truman building located in Foggy Bottom, as well as the executive level halls in which Secretary of State John Kerry’s Office resides.

The exposure that NSN and the DC area provided me this summer in professional experience, networking opportunities, policy analysis, and professional writing skills have been invaluable to my graduate experience at the Maxwell School. An internship or fellowship opportunity in Washington, DC is not something that any Maxwell graduate student should ever pass up!

West Wing , White House, Washington, DC