United States Air Force Academy

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Department of Political Science


Since 1959, this annual conference—sponsored by the United States 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

The 59th Academy Assembly, October 17-20, 2017

The Future of American Defense Policy

The U.S. Air Force Academy’s 59th Academy Assembly will cover “The Future of National Defense” by addressing the following questions: What are key factors which lead the U.S. to conflict? How do these factors condition the way we engage in war? Given this environment, what does victory look like? The 2017 sessions will be led by policymakers, military leadership, academics, and corporate leaders who will strategically analyze the causes and effects of war.

59th Academy Assembly Agenda

Past Academy Assemblies

Recent Topics

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

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

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

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.

You may also want to view the Director’s Picks, a collection of background readings which will assist in preparation for the conference, in particular the fluidity of the round table discussions. The Director’s Picks for this years Academy Assembly will be provided closer to the event. Among the various speaker presentations, there will also be an academic panel which brings together four of our guest speakers.

Accommodations, Meals, and Cadet Store

Delegates to Academy Assembly will stay with cadets in Vandenberg and Sijan Hall. These buildings have dorm-style communal showers so be sure to bring a shower robe and sandals.  Students staying in the dorms must be from 18-26 years old.  For undergraduate delegates older than 26, we can make arrangements for you to stay at Rampart Lodge on base for approximately $150 for all 3 nights.

Academy Assembly provides meals at no cost beginning with dinner on 1 February through dinner on 3 February.

There is a small Cadet Store in the cadet area that you will be able to purchase almost any basic necessity you may forget.

Dress Code

Dress for most events – lectures and round tables – is business casual. Dress for the closing banquet is business.


Traveling to the U.S. Air Force Academy

You can fly into Colorado Springs (COS). USAFA Cadets will pick you up from the airport. Pickup and drop off times are shown below. You can also drive to USAFA from I-25 and enter on North Gate Blvd.


For airport pickup/dropoff times, please allow enough enough time to pickup or check luggage, time to walk to ground transportation, go through security, etc. Please call  (484) 256-4051 or  email AcademyAssembly@USAFA.edu for special circumstances for pickup or dropoff.

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.

Contact Us

If you have comments or questions about the Academy Assembly, visit americanassembly.org or contact the staff at academyassembly@usafa.edu.