In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor. This project-based practicum course will focus on the law and policy architecture for veterans and military personnel in the U.S., and give students an opportunity to participate in efforts to reform this architecture by drafting policy analyses, legal analyses, model legislation, or other products that will support the Center for a New American Security’s research program on this topic. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar, two four-hour policy seminar sessions, and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professor.
SEMINAR: Through this practicum, students will learn the Constitutional and statutory underpinnings for the U.S. military personnel system and veterans affairs system. This will include, but not be limited to, the Constitutional doctrines shaping these systems, the agency authorization statutes creating the framework for these systems, and the annual authorization and appropriations acts that set the important parts of policy for these systems. Students will also be exposed to background materials which explain the illustration of these systems. Students in this practicum will also gain experience and expertise in policy analysis, including legal analysis, policy and programming analysis, cost analysis, and political analysis. Finally, this course will train students to prepare policy analyses and/or draft legislation focused on veterans and military personnel policy.
PROJECT WORK: Students will work with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Military, Veterans & Society program to develop a policy analysis paper, draft a legislative proposal, or contribute research that relates to the center’s work on veterans and military personnel issues. Students will select a particular piece of legislation or issue within the scope of veterans and military personnel policy and write a detailed analysis of that issue/bill, complete with detailed recommendations (policy, legal, etc.) tied to their analysis of the issue. An illustrative example might be veterans’ access to care issues, which a student could analyze in the context of available VA population data and expenditures data, producing a recommendation for greater use of public-private partnerships and purchased care, accompanied by draft legislation that would amend Title 38, U.S. Code, to enable this recommendation. Research and analysis produced during this course will have a direct impact on policy papers and other products published by CNAS, and the best student projects will be considered for publication by CNAS. Practicum students will have an opportunity to participate in CNAS working groups and activities relevant to their work, including those with senior government officials, private sector leaders, and non-profit leaders. Students will work directly for Professor Carter, who directs CNAS’s veterans’ research program, and will also have the opportunity to engage with other policy analysis organizations, veterans service organizations, legislative offices, and advocacy groups throughout this course.