United States Air Force Academy

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Department of Political Science


Since 1959, this annual conference—sponsored by the U.S. Air Force Academy and Columbia University’s American Assembly—has provided an opportunity for 150 qualified undergraduates to discuss topics of contemporary significance. Prominent academics, business leaders, government officials and non-governmental organizational members serve as speakers and small group workshop leaders.

people on stage

65th Academy Assembly


The 65th Academy Assembly seeks to address China, its growing presence in the Indo-Pacific and international spheres, and the implications of its economy, following the theme of The Dragon Roars Back: China’s Return to the World Stage. The assembly will focus on the changing dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region, understanding the PRC’s mindset, the history and future of Taiwan, emerging technologies, and China’s economy. We will learn from esteemed speakers and experts in this field, conduct simulations of the United Nations and strategy games, and run several workshops to on the future of U.S.-Sino relations. The event will take place 06-08 November 2023. For those who would like to attend, please contact Assembly’s Cadet Director, C2C Ryan Hermes.

Past Academy Assemblies

Recent Topics

Wagine Peace on the Final Frontier: Shaping the Future of Space Policy & Defense

The City on the Hill: Rebuilding Democracy at Home and Abroad

National Security and American Polarization: The Competition for Truth

The Future of American Defense Policy

Inside The Wire: American Security and Cyber Warfare

The U.S. and Southern Africa: Progress, Potential, and Stable States

America’s Challenges in an Unstable World: Balancing Security with Liberty

Global Governance: The Role of States and International Organizations

Spreading Democracy: America’s Obligation?

U.S. Canada Relations: Bridging the Common Border

South America: Challenges and Opportunities for Prosperity, Justice and Security

Dismantling Terrorism: Developing Actionable Solutions for Today’s Plague of Violence

Recent Assembly Speakers

Dr. Henry Nau, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Admiral Michael S. Rogers, Commander, United States Cyber Command, Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service

Ambassador Michael McFaul Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute

Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr. Former U.S. Ambassador to China

Vikram J. Singh Deputy Asst. SECDEF for South and Southeast Asia Office of the Asst. SECDEF for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs

Erin Conaton, Air Force Under Secretary

James E. Cartwright, Vice-Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff

Recent Truman Lecturers

Professor Anne Applebaum – Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Staff Writer- The Atlantic

Dr. Larry Diamond, Hoover Institute

LTG (ret) H.R. McMaster

Gen John Allen, USMC (ret)

Dr. Dan Caldwell, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University

Dr. Hal Brands, Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

General David H. Petraeus

Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution

Robert Kaplan, national correspondent for The Atlantic

Senator Alan Simpson

Senator Bob Kerry

Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson

Delegate Information

Please contact C2C Ryan Hermes for information about registration.

Small Group Workshops

Student collaboration is at the core of the Assembly. Students meet in roughly 10-member groups to consider topics and work on projects related to the main conference theme. Distinguished experts in that field facilitate these projects, with the intention to present the project to the general assembly at the end of the conference. During the workshop sessions, delegates will seek to explore in depth a sub-topic under the guidance of their workshop leader. The keynote address, informal discussions and workshop deliberations provide delegates and senior participants the opportunity to learn from and interact with distinguished persons directly involved in our national policy making process. As always, this year’s Assembly will bring together a diverse group of scholars, senior government executives, theorists and practitioners.

Conference Fee

This year’s Academy Assembly will have no conference fee. In addition, all meals, lodging, and transportation from/to the Colorado Springs airport and the Academy will be provided free of charge.

The only expense that delegates will be expected to pay is travel to and from the conference.

Dress Code

The dress code for all events is business casual.

Contact Us

If you have comments or questions about the Academy Assembly, please contact the Cadet Director, C2C Ryan Hermes at c24ryan.hermes@afacademy.af.edu