U.S. Space Force partnership will prepare leaders for new challenges

Space Force officers, known as Guardians, will be invited to join an interdisciplinary program offering training in international policy with electives in space-focused engineering

Two women in military uniforms pose in front of a military jet

Image caption: The first cohort of students is expected to matriculate in 2023

Credit: United State Space Force / Hun Chustine Minoda

The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and Whiting School of Engineering will partner with the U.S. Space Force to deliver a graduate education specifically designed to prepare officers for the evolving needs of this newest branch of the United States military.

Under this partnership, selected Space Force officers, as well as other service members and civilians, will study at SAIS in Washington D.C.—in an in-residence program leading to a degree, the Master of International Public Policy. The program will include a combination of existing SAIS graduate-level courses supplemented by courses aligned with Joint Professional Military Education requirements that meet the unique and evolving needs of USSF personnel, capitalizing on the school's multidisciplinary course offerings in such areas as international security, ethics and leadership, and international public policy. Faculty experts from the Whiting School of Engineering's renowned Engineering for Professionals will provide space-focused electives through its Space Systems Engineering program.

"The interdisciplinary nature of the program reflects the stellar record of SAIS in preparing tomorrow's leaders," said Sunil Kumar, provost of Johns Hopkins University. "Participants will benefit immensely from the combined excellence of Hopkins faculty at SAIS, our Whiting School of Engineering and the Applied Physics Laboratory."

With the first cohort of students expected to matriculate in 2023, the Space Force enters this partnership as SAIS continues to build on its reputation for world-class education and leadership training, as well as its position as a hub of multidisciplinary research and teaching. Students will benefit from an innovative curriculum taught by a distinguished SAIS faculty of scholars and practitioners, providing opportunities for intellectual collaboration and professional advancement. The Whiting School's Engineering for Professionals program is a recognized leader in offering working STEM professionals the opportunity to advance their careers with a variety of programs tailored to their needs, including more than 600 online classes. Currently, EP serves a student body of 5,000 around the world.

The USSF officers selected to take part in the program will supplement their studies with functional and regional area studies electives from an extensive catalog of SAIS courses on a variety of topics including, technology, policy, and security. Class options offered through the School of Engineering include Systems Engineering for Space, Fundamentals of Engineering Space Systems, and Spacecraft Integration and Testing. Additionally, the students may take advantage of STEM-related expertise and resources at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory—allowing them to choose the coursework most relevant for their desired career objectives and learning outcomes.

"We are very excited to be chosen by the U.S. Space Force for this opportunity and are looking forward to this partnership," said James B. Steinberg, dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS. "This decision is a reflection of SAIS's leadership in the field and excellence in preparing leaders to meet the complex challenges of the 21st century. Participants in this program will be integral members of our school, working closely with our distinguished faculty, students, and contributing to our intellectual community. We look forward to welcoming the first Space Force cohort—together with other service members and civilians—to SAIS next fall at our new, state-of-the-art building at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Adds Patrick Binning, program chair of the Space Systems Engineering program: "We are thrilled to partner with SAIS and the U.S. Space Force in this important program that is focusing not only on a variety of national security and strategy-related courses, but also on space focused master's level classes that will be beneficial to the future leaders of the USSF."

The partnership provides intermediate developmental education and senior developmental education programs. The IDE/SDE partnership will deliver an innovative experience for the development of officers of the Space Force—whose service members are known as Guardians.

"Developing Guardians to compete and prevail in space and cyberspace requires a Guardian-focused professional military education experience," said Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, commander of the Space Force's Space Training and Readiness Command. "The space domain requires a unique education for space-minded professionals, and partnering with Johns Hopkins enables greater capacity to offer new, substantive electives, research opportunities, and increased access to a wider range of commercial sector partnerships."

Adds Dan Horn, associate dean of Engineering for Professionals programs: "Our classes are taught by working engineers who not only provide students with real-world skills in their fields, but also the opportunity to forge lasting professional connections. We are excited to engage in this partnership."