[Editor's note: The deadline to apply has been extended to Jan. 15.]

The Army is seeking qualified majors and lieutenant colonels to apply for a chance to spend a year working for agencies such as the CIA, FBI, State Department, NSA, FAA and FEMA.

The Army Command and General Staff College Interagency Fellowship Program is a career broadening, educational opportunity for field grade officers. First launched in 2008, the program now boasts 28 interagency partners, including the Transportation Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Security Agency, the National Counterterrorism Center, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Justice Department.

The deadline to apply for the next class is Jan. 15. Successful applicants should expect to start their fellowship in mid-August and serve for about 11 months. All fellowships take place in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Interagency Fellowship Program started with just seven fellows at six interagency partners, said Ralph Doughty, the program's director. The program has grown every year since, with a goal of 55 fellows by the summer of 2017, he said. So far, almost 200 officers have participated in the program.

The goal for this year is 50 fellows, he said.

Applicants will be selected based on their qualifications and where they'd like to serve their fellowship, Doughty said. The partner agencies also get a vote, and the Army tries to match the two, he said.

During the fellowship, the officers get "a deep dive" into the culture, processes, and capabilities or limitations of the agency to which they're assigned, Doughty said.

One fellow is part of the team working to draft the FAA's regulations on drone use in U.S. airspace, Doughty said. Another, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, responded to the recent devastating floods in South Carolina.

"They earn their keep by contributing to the mission," Doughty said. "The reason this is such a good thing is it results in a much better qualified officer for us."

The fellowships also help the Army build contacts and relationships with partner government agencies, he said.

Applicants to the program must have completed CGSC and be Key Developmental assignment qualified, said Tim O'Hagan, the CGSC Interagency Programs manager. This includes, for example, an assignment as a battalion executive officer or operations officer.

"We're looking for more experienced majors and/or lieutenant colonels," he said.

Officers can be from any branch or functional area, he said.

"Each partner agency wants something different," he said. "Some of them want intelligence backgrounds, some want Special Forces. They want officers who have good planning skills, understand the Army, who can think critically and analytically."

Previous fellows also have found that the agencies seek applicants with strong writing skills, O'Hagan said.

Majors and lieutenant colonels are eligible to apply for fellowships in D.C. with a number of agencies, including FEMA.

Photo Credit: John Shea/FEMA

Lt. Col. Ike Sallee was a fellow in 2009-2010, serving on the Iraq desk in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. An infantry major at the time, Sallee applied for that position after deploying to Iraq three times.

"It was different, and I knew it was going to stretch me in areas that I hadn't been forced to before," said Sallee, who is currently a military assistant to the Army secretary.

Going into his fellowship, Sallee said he didn't know what to expect. He also was the first active-duty service member to serve in that office.

"It was admittedly a little bit intimidating at first," he said. "It wasn't easy, but it made me be more reflective and observant. Over time you incrementally start to build credibility through your interactions and your interest."

Sallee said he would recommend the program to others.

"It will be very different, and you'll have a lot more responsibility on defining what your role is, but the potential is huge to actually have a great effect, to learn a lot and also teach a lot, and to be the person people think of when the Army comes up in conversation," he said. "I would absolutely recommend it if you're interested in and you embrace opportunities where you may be uncomfortable."

To apply, officers must be active-duty or Army Reserve Active Guard and Reserve majors or lieutenant colonels in year group 2002 or older. Applicants must have a top secret security clearance or be able to obtain is before July 1.

AGR officers must not have been selected or attended senior service college, and they must have at least two years of service remaining after the fellowship is completed.

Applicants must have Army headquarters, joint, interagency, combatant command or component staff experience and a graduate degree. They also must meet height and weight requirements and have no adverse actions pending.

Successful applicants must serve a two-year fellowship utilization assignment after their initial fellowship.

Applications are due by Jan. 15 via e-mail to joel.d.strout.civ@mail.mil. The subject line of the e-mail should read "Request to compete for B.O.P." Applications must include:

  • A completed Department of the Army Form 4187 (Personnel Action).
  • The applicant’s most current Army Physical Fitness Test score card.
  • At least two and no more than five letters of recommendation. One of the letters must be from the officer’s current commander.
  • A copy of the applicant’s college transcripts.
  • An essay or statement about what abilities the applicant can bring to the program.
  • A list of the applicant’s top five desired partner agencies.
  • A civilian resume with information on education, work experience, languages spoken, and special skills and interests. The resume should be written for a Senior Executive Service-level civilian supervisor from a partner agency.

For more information, refer to Military Personnel (MILPER) message 15-221, issued on July 15, or go to https://partis.leavenworth.army.mil/CGSC/IA. Visitors to the site who are not on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, must log in using their Army Knowledge Online account.

Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.

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