Program for Emerging Leaders

In 2008, to meet the new and emerging WMD challenges of the 21st century, the National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (CSWMD) initiated the Program for Emerging Leaders (PEL) to develop an interagency network of future military and civilian leaders with a deeper understanding of the role of WMD in U.S. and global security. Through education, outreach, mentorship, and debate, PEL seeks to cultivate trusting relationships among future leaders who may someday need to call upon one another to address WMD-related challenges. The program brings together mid-career national security professionals, selected on a competitive basis from across the U.S. government, to develop and enhance awareness of the variety of WMD threats—including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons—and the full range of means, processes, and organizations for addressing them. 

UPDATE: Beginning in FY23, as a result of changing resource priorities in OSD, CSWMD no longer has funding to plan and execute PEL activities for new cohorts. Thanks to the generous support of the National Defense University Foundation, CSWMD will continue to manage PEL activities for the remaining cohorts through the completion of their tenure in the program at the end of FY24.

CSWMD recognizes that PEL is held in exceptionally high regard by our members and alumni, and that this suspension/termination of the program will be deeply dissatisfactory to many in the countering WMD community. We will continue to seek funding support and will make an announcement should the program's status change in the future.