National Defense University — Research Fellow

Apply Now:


NDU is committed to assuring excellence in Joint Professional Military Education (JPME), enhancing the capacity of our students for strategic leadership and decision-making in national and international security, and sustaining our nation’s leadership position within the global community. Each NDU employee is expected to contribute to a climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, staff, and administration from a range of diverse backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives.


The Research Fellow (RF) serves in the CSCMA. His/her major duties and responsibilities are to support the INSS and CSCMA missions as follows:

  • Research: The RF conducts directed and independent research and produces scholarly studies and strategic analyses involving China and Taiwan. The RF is expected to produce the equivalent of two original, high-quality research articles published in peer-reviewed journals annually. The articles can be scholarly or policy oriented. The RF follows rigorous scholarly protocols based on sound research methodology, data collection, and evaluation to shape U.S. strategy and inform U.S. policy. This effort includes promoting research products through short articles and opinion pieces/blog posts.
  • The RF also participates in collaborative relationships as a member of an INSS group or research team assigned to examine a particular national security policy issue or question. The RF keeps abreast of strategic studies, U.S. policy, and research activities in their area of expertise across the DoD, the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Services, other government agencies, industry, and academia. As required, the RF travels to the region and domestically to attend meetings, conferences, and symposia to engage with DoD staff and agencies, Combatant Commands, government agencies, academic institutions, and businesses. The RF ensures all actions contribute in a professional and positive manner to timely attainment of assigned group or team objectives.
  • Engagement: The RF interacts with and presents study and research results to senior DoD officials on the Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Combatant Commands, and other government agencies and civilian institutions and businesses. The RF delivers oral briefings, organizes and participates in briefings, roundtables, workshops, or conferences (or their equivalent), and prepares and disseminates event and trip reports and other analytical products throughout DoD and other relevant government agencies.
  • Teaching/JPME: The RF contributes to the intellectual community of JPME institutions in general and to the National Defense University in particular. This effort includes guest lecturing or contributing to teaching in core or elective courses at NDU, contributing to curriculum developing, collaborating on programs targeting student, faculty, and/or staff development, and/or significant student mentoring or advisory programs. Teaching support is based on the needs of the colleges but also with consideration of RF expertise and ongoing research plans.
  • University Service: The RF is expected to provide support to research and scholarship across NDU. These activities include but are not limited to; conducting peer reviews of research and publications by other INSS Fellows, serving on a university/college hiring or promotion boards, maintaining an NDU-wide community of interest (COIs), participating in NDU academic and other programs to enhance student and faculty scholarship, supporting NDU senior leader engagements, and developing and hosting a conference and written report for the NDU community and DOD stakeholders.
  • Administrative Requirements: The RF is expected to comply with all administrative requirements in an effective and timely manner. This standard includes completing conference, travel, and country clearance requests, travel vouchers, trip reports, training requirements, and other administrative forms and tasks as required.


Conditions of Employment

Must be a U.S. Citizen

If selected, you will be required to provide information regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of determining appropriate workplace safety protocols, such as those related to masking, testing, travel, and quarantine.



  1. EDUCATION: Master’s degree (PhD strongly preferred) from a regionally accredited university (or international equivalent) in international relations/affairs, political science, public policy, national security studies or Asian studies with a focus on China. Advanced professional reading ability in Chinese sufficient to work with Chinese language source materials.
  2. RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS: Knowledge of scholarly research methodologies, demonstrated ability to identify, acquire, and analyze primary and secondary sources of information pertaining to strategic and security studies in general and China in particular, and ability to lead research teams. Substantial record of quality peer-reviewed professional publications, books, or reports related to strategic and security studies involving China specifically and Asia generally, including on the implications for U.S. national security policy and defense plans. OR, as a practitioner with at least 5 years professional experience, having held senior positions in government or the private sector with proven analytic skills and an extensive record of producing quality written reports for high-ranking officials.
  3. ENGAGEMENT: Engagement with senior U.S. government officials, international counterparts, or other professional audiences on international/regional security, defense policy, and military issues and/or experience working with U.S. national security, defense strategy, and policy decision-making institutions. Skill and experience preparing and presenting complex material resulting from research analyses to DoD senior leaders and/or other professional audiences.
  4. TEACHING & ACADEMIC SUPPORT: Experience in guest lecturing or teaching or developing curricula for courses in relevant areas involving international affairs, national security policy and decision-making with an emphasis on China.


EDUCATION: Master’s degree (PhD strongly preferred) from a regionally accredited university (or international equivalent) in international relations/affairs, political science, public policy, Asian studies or national security studies with a focus on China. Advanced professional reading ability in Chinese sufficient to work with Chinese language source materials.

Official transcripts will be required at time of selection to verify educational requirements are met.

Additional information

NDU has a comprehensive benefits package that includes retirement, social security, and thrift savings; health, life, and long term care insurance; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays. NDU employees enjoy flexible work schedules, transit subsidy, and the opportunity to telecommute.

This is a Title 10 Excepted Service Appointment. Appointment is not to exceed 3 years with the possibility for extension.

Initial Probationary Period: You will be required to serve an initial probationary period of 18 months.

Background or Security Investigation: This is a Non-Critical Sensitive position which requires a background investigation. The individual selected for this position is required to obtain and maintain a Secret security determination to occupy a Non-Critical Sensitive position within the agency as a condition of employment.

Reemployed Annuitants: Department of Defense has the authority to hire annuitants without reduction in pay. For more information, go to:

If you are unable to apply online, view the following link for information regarding Alternate Application.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

To qualify, you must meet the education and experience requirements described above. A NDU screening panel will review your resume and narrative answers to the hiring criteria to evaluate your qualifications for the position. NDU uses a multi-tier selection process for academic positions.

You MUST upload a cover letter separate from your resume addressing the following hiring criteria:

Factor 1: Describe your experience in conducting scholarly research and your record of generating original articles for peer-reviewed publications, books, or reports on China/Taiwan, China’s national security and/or foreign policy, China’s military, and Asian security or international relations issues. Identify your most noteworthy publication in this general area and why you believe it to be a notable contribution. List any publications specifically focused on the Chinese military.

Factor 2: Describe your operational understanding of and personal experience working on China foreign policy, security, and military issues, including any experience working with DoD, U.S. government, international, or other professional audiences. What would you identify as your most successful and impactful interactions with these audiences?

Factor 3: Describe your relationships and professional interactions with colleagues, U.S. and foreign government officials and military officers, officials of international organizations, academics and/or private sector professionals involved in China and China security matters. Describe the level of these interactions.

Factor 4: Describe your experience in preparing and presenting complex material resulting from research analyses to varied DoD, USG, international, and other professional audiences. Identify your most significant and impactful experience with presenting such material to senior leaders in these venues. Then, describe your past experience with leading, supervising, and participating in teams to produce these analyses and presentations.

Factor 5: Describe your ability and experience with teaching, developing curricula, guest lecturing and/or developing pedagogical tools for use in courses on international affairs, national security, Asian studies, and military issues with an emphasis on material focused on China and Asia. Identify the types of education support you provided, in what subjects, and for what organizations.

Required Documents

You must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

  1. Résumé: The latest resume submitted will be used to determine qualifications. All conferred degrees and certifications should be included in your resume for full consideration
  2. Complete Assessment Questionnaire
  3. Cover letter with narrative responses answering hiring criteria questions listed in the “How you will be evaluated” section of this announcement. Failure to submit will result in an ineligible rating.
  4. Other Supporting Documents – Refer to the eligibilities section for documents to submit.

NOTE: Transcripts are not required at time of application submission. Your resume and narrative answers to the hiring criteria will be reviewed by the NDU screening panel to evaluate your qualifications for the position. If selected for an interview, official transcripts will be requested at that time to verify educational requirements are met.

Eligibilities Information: The following supporting documents are REQUIRED to verify your individual eligibility status. Not all will apply for each applicant. They MUST be received by the closing date of the announcement.

  1. SF-50 – (If applicable) Notification of Personnel Action for current or former federal employees- with the exception of current permanent NDU employees, please provide your most recent SF50 or the SF50 reflecting Career/Career-Conditional tenure and the highest grade held on a permanent basis.
  2. If you claim Veteran’s Preference:
    – You must submit a copy of your DD Form-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty”, showing the dates of active duty service, type of discharge and the character of service. Alternatively, If you are a current military member in active duty service and do not have a copy of your DD Form-214, you must submit a written documentation (certification) from your branch of service certifying that you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted with your application for this position. The certification should also include your rank, dates of active duty service and what they condition of discharge is thought to be.
    – If claiming 10-point preference and/or are a 30% or more Disabled Veteran, you must submit both a DD Form-214 or expected discharge documentation as described above AND a copy of a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or your branch of service certifying the presence of service-connected disability and indicating the percentage of disability
    – If you are claiming eligibility based on 10-point derived veterans’ preference (i.e. a spouse, widow/widower, or parent of a veteran claiming veterans’ preference when the veteran is unable to use it), you must also submit a Standard Form 15 (SF-15) “Application for 10-Point Veteran’s Preference” and any required documents indicated on the SF-15 to substantiate the claimed preference.
  3. Other documents identified in the announcement.

WARNING: Failure to submit a complete application package including any required documentation by the closing date of the announcement at 11:59 EST, or at the time of application for announcements with an extended closing date, may result in an ineligible rating and loss of consideration. To verify that your application is complete, log into your USAJOBS account, select Application Status and More Information. The Details page will display the status of your application.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify that information entered or uploaded is received, legible and accurate. HR will not modify answers submitted by an applicant.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package. See required documents below.

Click ‘Apply Online’ to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.

  1. Follow the prompts to complete the assessment questionnaire and upload required documents.
  2. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button to submit your application.
  3. Check application status by logging into your USAJOBS account, clicking Application Status, then More Information for this position. Return to an incomplete application by logging into your USAJOBS account and clicking Update Application in the vacancy announcement. You must re-select your resume and other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete.

Apply Now: