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Department of Military Instruction : ACS Instructor Opportunities

Defense and Strategic Studies Instructor Opportunities

Branch Immaterial Instructors: Currently targeting YGs 2011-2012
18A Special Forces Instructor: Vacancy for 2019-2021
FA59 Army Strategist Instructor: Vacancy for 2018-2021

What is the Defense & Strategic Studies Program?
DSS, an accredited academic major at West Point, educates future leaders to solve complex problems in an uncertain world. DSS Cadets study national policy, military strategy, operational art, and the use of force to understand, analyze and effectively communicate the relation of the tactical action to national policy. DSS graduates solve complex problems in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments.
What does DSS teach?
DSS teaches the following courses: military strategy, landpower, air and sea power, military innovation, comparative military systems, sustainmnet, military communication, special operations/low-intensity conflict, counterinsurgency, and research methods.

DSS Cadets complete either a capstone project or thesis paper in strategic studies. The capstone project provides Cadets an opportunity to solve real-world, complex problems with a sponsor agency. The thesis paper provides Cadets the opportunity to rigorously analyze challenging research question within strategic studies.

DSS works closely with the Department of History, Social Sciences and Foreign Languages to offer an array of multi-disciplinary electives to provide Cadets width and depth necesarry to understand, analyze and effectively communicate the relation of tactical action to national policy.
Who are the DSS faculty and where do they come from?
The DSS program employs seven rotating faculty members led by a permanent Academy Professor. DSS faculty graduate from top tier universities such as: Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Columbia, the Naval Postgraduate School, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, and Princeton.

DSS faculty pursue degrees in a range of academic fields such as security studies, public policy, public affairs, communication, international relations, international affairs, defense analysis and law and diplomacy.

Our small, high quality faculty earned West Point's prestigious Apgar Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013 and 2014.

Each year we select branc-qualified captains and majors to attend one, two or three year Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) program to attain either a masters or doctoral degree. Schooling is followed by a two - three year assignment as an instructor in the Defense & Strategic Studies program.

Current Vacancies:
Branch Immaterial Instructors: Targeting YGs 2011-2012
18A Special Forces Instructor: Vacancy for 2019-2021 (Oppotunities prior to and post KD as Majors)
FA59 Army Strategist Instructor: Vacancy for 2018-2021

Direct Hire

Interested officers who already possess a graduate degree may apply for instructor opportunities. Direct hire faculty are typically selected 12-18 months prior to their PCS to West Point. However, unexpected vacancies may allow for short-term and more immediate hiring processes. Interested officers should submit an application through the West system so we can contact you should an unexpected vacancy arise.


The next selection board will occur in december 2016 to begin graduate school in the Fall of 2018 with USMA arrival in Summer of 2020.

Applications are due in the Web Enabled Selection and Tracking (WEST) system NLT 31DEC16.

Ideal candidates:
  • Demonstrate evidence of strong military performance, especially in KD positions.
  • Have branch support for this 5-year assignment including graduate school and instructing


  • Officers from all commissioning sources are encouraged to apply for open positions.
  • Officers must be branch-qualified captains to attend ACS with follow-on assignment to USMA.
  • Officers may apply prior to being branch-qualified provided they are branch qualified before the beginning of ACS.
  • Officers must meet ACS requirements found through the HRC Continuing Education website.
  • Officers can have an undergraduate degree in any field.
  • Officers are generally selected to attend graduate school in their 6-8th year of service
  • Officers incur a 3-1 active duty service obligation (ADSO) for attending ACS.
    Applicant File

    Use the website below for the Web Enabled Selection and Tracking (WEST) system and be prepared to upload and later provide hard copies of the items listed under the link.
    1. Transcripts. Copy of your undergraduate (all schools if you attended more than one) and, if applicable, graduate transcripts.
    2. Evaluations. Copy of last five OERs and/or AERs.
    3. GRE. Copy of current (under 5 years at start of ACS) GRE.
    4. Letter of Intent: Tell us, in memorandum format, why you want to teach in our department and why you will perform well. 
    5. ORB.
    6. DA Photo
    7. An informal photograph
    8. APFT Score Card (DA Form 705)
    9. Letters of Recommendation. We recommend that you provide two letters of recommendation commenting on your potential to do outstanding work at a top American university and be an effective college-level instructor. If you will not have a command OER in time for our selection process, we recommend that you get a letter from your senior rater assessing your performance.
              LORs should be in addressed to: (if using standard memorandum format, "MEMORANDUM FOR:") 
    COL Liam S. Collins
    Director, Defense and Strategic Studies Program
    745 Brewerton Rd. Rm. 5112
    West Point, NY 10996

    LOR should be uploaded through the WEST system or emailed directly to the DSS Director at
    It is not necessary for you to provide all of this information all at once. Send information as it becomes available. Start early because we can help you more if we have more time.
    Contact Info
    Questions can be sent electronically to:
    MAJ John Paxton