Teaching the Next Generation of Warfighters


Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) internships provide cadets with experiential learning opportunities in various fields, implementing concepts from their education in defense and strategic studies.

About the Program

  • USMA’s Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) program is a key portion of the institution’s “Margin of Excellence Concept.”
  • The AIAD program enables cadets to perform research alongside leaders in organizations related to defense, government, policy, diplomacy, and national security.
  • These unique experiences broaden cadets’ perspectives and provide them with practical advanced education related to their field of study to better understand real-world applications of security studies.
  • The purpose of an AIAD is to provide a venue for educational experiences that would not be possible within the usual framework of academic, military, and physical programs that comprise the 47-month West Point experience. 
  • Cadets typically spend two to four weeks during the summer academic break (late May to early August), conducting academically enriching studies, service, research, and cultural immersions.
  • Some AIAD's will evolve into a strategic studies capstone project.

Domestic Internships

Lockheed Martin Corporation Internship (Orlando, FL)

  • Cadets will work alongside top engineers from Lockheed Martin and lead strategists from the Army Futures Command to better understand, develop, and integrate new technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, advanced manufacturing, and cyber.
  • This project endeavors to understand the current state of U.S. military capability vis a vis China and Russia.

Directorate of Concepts, Army Futures Command (Austin, TX)

  • The Directorate of Concepts (DOC) is responsible for developing all U.S. Army concepts, to include the Army Operating Concept that will succeed Multi-Domain Operations.
  • Working with DOC will provide cadets a unique opportunity to influence the way the Army organizes, trains, equips, and fights in the future.
  • Cadets working in DOC will conduct research about the future of war, contribute to revisions of the next Army Operating Concept, assist with the preparation of experiments and war games to test the next concept, and help prepare papers and briefings for senior Army leaders.

Embassy of Japan (Washington D.C.)

  • The purpose of this internship is to understand U.S./Japan relations and become intimately familiar with Japanese security policy.
  • Cadets will assist MG Adachi and will accompany him for visits to the Pentagon and other government facilities in the Washington, D.C. area.
  • Cadets will work within the Japanese embassy to acquire experience to further future endeavors of foreign area officer duties.

Special Forces CULEX 'Robin Sage' (Fort Bragg, NC)

  • Robin Sage is the U.S. Military's premiere unconventional warfare exercise and the final test of over a year's worth of training for aspiring Special Forces Soldiers.
  • Candidates are placed in an environment of political instability characterized by armed conflict, forcing soldiers to analyze and solve problems to meet the challenges of this 'real-world' training.
  • These military members act as realistic opposing forces and guerrilla freedom fighters, also known as Pineland's resistance movement. These troops play a critical role in the training exercise. To add realism of the exercise, civilian volunteers throughout the state act as role-players.

USASOC Operational Planning Team (Fort Bragg, NC)

  • Cadets would have the opportunity to engage in the development of a joint inter-agency (IA) effort focused on great power competition.
  • Through this project and additional training opportunities provided by coordinating units/agencies and departments, cadets will experience joint operations planning, knowledge on new and emerging technologies, the activities and roles of IA partners, conducting key leader engagements, analysis of complex trans-national problems, strategic communication, Special Operations Forces (SOF) principles, SOF capabilities, briefing to senior government leaders, data science use cases ongoing in the U.S. government (USG), and much more will be covered.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (Cleveland, OH)

  • Cadets will embed with the FBI, which is responsible for implementing and executing the national domestic strategic plan to investigate and prevent violations of federal criminal law and foreign counterintelligence.
  • Cadets will be able to observe and participate in joint investigations with law enforcement and U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) partners at every level of government while developing and using intelligence to focus resources and investigations.
  • Cadets will learn about and gain hands-on experience with specialized teams, such as surveillance, SWAT, Evidence Response Team, technically trained agents, and more -- to experience the civilian law enforcement equivalent of a combined arms team.

Foreign Internships

Germany Multidisciplinary Staff Ride (Berlin, Germany)

  • This AIAD has several components, which include a traditional doctrinal staff ride (Jena), political-military relations (U.S. Embassy, German Ministry of Defense), historical-cultural elements (Jena, Weimar, Buchenwald, Eisenach, Dresden) and a military competition with German Army Officer Candidates.
  • Topics of instruction include elements from across the DSS curriculum to include defense strategy, history, diplomacy, and military innovation.

Israel Through the Strategy and Policy Lens (Tel Aviv, Israel)

  • The Israel through the Strategy & Policy Lens Tour provides participants with substantive policy briefings by current and former policy makers within the State of Israel. By combining on-site briefings by leaders and practitioners, delegates have the opportunity to contextualize the subjects often discussed in the international press and to explore them with those who played a role in developing policy.
  • Question and answer sessions will take place following each briefing in order to provide ample opportunity for participants to explore and refine the subjects at hand.
  • A rich, cultural immersion within Israel will form a key aspect of the tour, supplementing the daily policy briefings. Policy and substantive briefings will constitute the bulk of the tour. 

AIAD Selection Process

Q: What one thing should I keep in mind when applying for an AIAD slot?

A: Talk with your tactical officer and the AIAD sponsor. Don’t make your selections and assume you will get a slot. Your summer schedule includes more than just AIADs, and open communication will help you manage your expectations. Sometimes an interview with the AIAD sponsor is required for consideration.

Q: How do I make my AIAD selections? Can I apply to more than one?

A: In January, you will be given the option to select up to four AIAD choices via the cadet information system (CIS). Many cadets do not get their first choice. There are a limited number of slots and you must meet the prerequisites. Professionalism also matters. Cadets must demonstrate a clear ability to positively represent both DSS and USMA.

Q: Do freshman (plebes) ever get selected for an AIAD?

A: Yes! AIAD's are primarily for rising seniors (firsties) and juniors (cows); however, you are eligible if you meet all requirements. We often see freshman and sophomores (yearlings) attending our AIAD's.

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