Frequently Asked Questions
About the Program
When does the program begin and end?
The fellowship begins in January and ends in December.
How often are sessions for the program held?
NextGen sessions are usually held 5-6 times per fellowship year, in the evenings; these sessions are hybrid, with both an in-person and virtual option available
Do I have to attend every NextGen session?
There is no required number of mandatory sessions, but attending is highly encouraged to make the most of this fellowship.
Are sessions normally held on a specific day of the week (e.g. every third Thursday of the month)?
There are no specific days of the week or month that programs are held.
Where is the international study tour for this year and when is it?
The destination and timing of the study tour varies by year.
What is the cost to participate in the program?
There is no cost to participate in any NextGen program, other than the cost of getting to/from Washington, D.C. for the programming.
What are the eligibility requirements?
- Must be a United States citizen
- Be between 27 and 35 years old, as of the close of application date
- Have at least four years of professional experience in researching or executing U.S. national security policy
- Demonstrate a commitment to public service
What if I am over/under the specified age limit or not a US citizen?
Unfortunately, we cannot make exceptions to the age limit or citizenship requirements. Individuals must be between the ages of 27-35 as of the close of application date.
What if I don't have four years of experience in the field of national security?
The years of experience is just a guideline; it is not a firm requirement.
Do I need to be based in the DC area to participate in the program?
No, but you need to be committed to attending programming throughout the year.
Should I, or can I, also mail a hard copy of my application?
No; we only accept applications through our online portal.
What is the timeline for the application process?
The application typically opens in August and closes in October. Please continue to check the CNAS website and Twitter for updates on specific timing.
Are applications accepted outside the application window?
No, applications are not accepted outside the application window, including past the officially posted deadline.
When will I find out if I am accepted?
Finalists are typically announced by the end of January.
Who should write my nomination letter?
We do not have any restrictions on who must write an applicant’s nomination letter, but we find that the best nomination letters are written by supervisors or mentors who know the applicant well and can speak to the applicant’s intellect, character, and leadership characteristics.
How do I know that you received my application?
You should receive a confirmation email from our online system. If you do not receive one, please check your spam folders. If you still have not gotten one, try resubmitting your application.
I am having a hard time opening the online application form, what should I do?
Try another browser or another network. We find that some systems do not support our application portal.
How many fellows will be accepted?
We accept approximately 20-25 applicants for the fellowship each year.
What are you looking for in the letters of interest and nomination?
We are looking for applicants who have excelled in their current positions and stand out among their peers. Good letters of interest and nomination have concrete examples that speak to candidates’ leadership potential, innovative problem-solving skills, good character, and depth or diversity of experience in the field of national security.
I have already applied once/twice/three times. Should I apply again?
Yes! Many of our fellows applied two or three times before they were accepted into the program.