National Defense University Provides Insider Post for Washington Politics

Photo of Krystal CoxA lifelong resident of Texas, Krystal Cox is spending her internship in Washington, D.C., getting an insider’s view of politics as a research assistant at the National Defense University.

“I think Texas has lost me!” exclaimed Cox. “I want to give special thanks and my deepest gratitude to Dr. Nathan Jones for helping me to get this internship.”

The National Defense University is a premiere national security institute for the U.S. Armed Forces and other agencies of government to advance joint education, leadership development, and scholarship in the military. Cox is a research assistant for Col. John A. Cope, an expert in Latin America and the Caribbean at the Institute for National Strategic Studies. Cox also is working with former U.S. Ambassador Luigi Einaudi, a distinguished visiting research fellow who is part of the Americas’ team, to study migration flow patterns over time.

“It’s different from working in academia at SHSU,” said Cox. “The research and the work at NDU have real life consequences. The work done here has a lot of influence on national security policies.”

In addition to their research, Col. Cope encourages his interns to participate in events around Washington, including closed door briefings, Congressional briefings, and other presentations. While many of the events focus on the politics and finances of Latin American and Caribbean nations, others shed light on issues of homeland security. “One of the best ones I have been to so far was about women and extremism,” Cox said.

Cox said the nation’s capital is a great place to make connections for a future career in the Department of Homeland Security. She hopes to work in the area of critical infrastructure protection. “I want to work in the federal government,” said Cox. “It’s good to get a base in government and to know how everything works on a day-to-day basis…It’s all about the politics; it’s all about networking and personalities. You have to know who to go to for what.”

Cox said the Master’s program in Homeland Security helped to prepare her well for her experience in Washington D.C. The cohort model used in the program helped her to understand the importance of teamwork and the daily emphasis on current events helped her keep abreast of issues facing our country.

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