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 officers and non-governmental organization members serve as speakers and round table leaders.

Academy Assembly 10/17-20/17

63rd Academy Assembly, October 12-15, 2021

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

The 63rd Academy Assembly addresses the fundamentals of democracy at home and abroad. It will focus on the current state of American democracy, as well as the effects of democratic erosion on national security and foreign policy. This Assembly aims to renew democratic values within the United States’ military and establish the ways and means for citizens to communicate across party lines are fundamental to the continuation of our democracy. Democratic backsliding is a growing trend in nations across the world, and many see it as the United States’ mission to ensure democracy endures. Discussion will focus on how the United States can undo the current damage to its democratic norms and institutions. As student delegates take on leadership roles in our country, they will think critically about their role in preserving democracy through recommitting to democratic norms, reaffirming democratic values, and upholding the professional ethics mandatory for maintaining a democracy. For those who would like to attend, please contact the Assembly’s Cadet Director, C1C Briana Barnett.

Past Academy Assemblies

Recent Topics

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

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

General David H. Petraeus

Major General (currently National Security Adviser to the Preseident) H. R. McMaster

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

Robert Kaplan, is a national correspondent for The Atlantic

Senator Alan Simpson

Senator Bob Kerry

Congresswoman (currently AF Sec) Heather Wilson

Delegate Information

Registration for the 63rd Academy Assembly is now closed.

Round Tables

Student round tables are the core of the Assembly. Students meet in roughly 10-member round table groups to consider topics related to the main conference theme. Distinguished experts in that field facilitate the round tables. During the round table sessions, delegates will seek to explore in depth a sub-topic under the guidance of their round table leader. Each round table builds on the previous one, tackling a different aspect of the central theme.  The keynote address, informal discussions and round table 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 either the Denver or 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, C1C Briana Barnett, at c22briana.barnett@afacademy.af.edu.