William & Mary

Interns Delve into Foreign Affairs Projects to fulfill their E-internships with assistance of the Air Force Air Combat Command/International Affairs (ACC/IA)

Three William & Mary students participating in the inaugural session of electronic internships offered by the Project on International Peace & Security (PIPS) have started conducting research addressing contemporary political-military challenges.  PIPS has garnered the support of the United States Air Force (USAF) Air Combat Command’s International Affairs (ACC/IA) office which will assist each student with a unique perspective with respect to their research topic.  Each student has chosen a topic that tackles tough political-military challenges the US military and Air Force are facing.   

Jimmy Zhang ’15 is uncovering lessons the USAF may be able to learn from the Army Foreign Affairs Office program regarding the utilization of Regional Affairs (RA) and Political Affairs (PA) officers.

Daniel Duane ’15 is examining the Major Nidal Hasan case and will study court and other public records to document Hasan’s track toward radicalization and the resulting terrorist attack.  This research will also examine markers and personality issues which could be identifiable within existing theory and how some form of pre-event detection could be identified.

Sophia Mortensen ’14 will research and propose ways the USAF can improve relationships with foreign partners during fiscally constrained times.

ACC International Affairs recently hosted these interns and one W&M faculty member at Langley Air Force Base, providing a brief immersion into Air Combat Command and other base activities. The visit included a base orientation tour, ACC mission briefings and lunch at the historic Consolidated Club.  Highlights also included a visit to the Air Traffic Control tower to view F-22 and T-38 aircraft conducting training in the local traffic pattern, including the control tower’s outdoor “catwalk” as well as a visit to the training facility where air traffic controllers conduct upgrade training on high resolution simulators. 

An intermission at the ACC Band Hangar offered a preview of the ACC Rock Band "Full Spectrum" as they prepared for an upcoming local concert.  The USAF Heritage of America Band officials also provided a brief overview of the ACC Band Mission and how they support ACC’s stateside and international engagement and partnership building missions.

These W&M interns learned a great deal and they are excited about the opportunity to research these difficult subjects and present their research findings and recommendations to ACC’s International Affairs office.