Applying to the Program

14 July 2016

Welcome to the application page for the Program for Emerging Leaders (PEL)! This is our tenth application season.  We are pleased to accept applications from eligible candidates who live both within and beyond the National Capital Region (NCR), including candidates stationed overseas. Candidates must be U.S. government employees (GS-11, GS-12, or GS-13, or equivalent) or uniformed services commissioned officers (O-3 or O-4) with job responsibilities related to national security. Successful candidates will must demonstrate leadership potential within their agency/organization and have an interest in learning about weapons of mass destruction and related issues. Candidates are not required to have WMD expertise. Candidates must also be U.S. citizens and possess an active SECRET clearance. Finally, they must be available to attend the mandatory Summer Immersion to be held in Washington, DC during the week of 19-23 June 2017.

Applications will be submitted via email. The complete application packet can be found below. Applications are due no later than 16 December 2016 at midnight EST. All applicants who have submitted complete applications will receive email notifications of decisions by March 2017.

If you have any questions about the program and qualifications for applying, please first consult the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on the PEL website. If you still have questions, you may contact PEL staff. The program manager for PEL can be reached at or 202-685-3127.

Some departments and agencies conduct an internal selection process to identify candidates to submit applications to the program. At the WMD Center, we appreciate the work that goes into running such an internal selection process and welcome candidates selected this way as well as those who decide to apply directly through the PEL website. However, all candidates must submit their own applications. Agency nomination processes will be used to inform the PEL selection process, but are only one of several factors considered by the PEL selection committee.

Thank you for your interest in the Program for Emerging Leaders. We look forward to receiving your application and to selecting the newest PEL class.


Dr. Natasha Bajema, Director  

Program for Emerging Leaders
Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction
National Defense University
260 5th Ave, Southwest
Building 64, Suite 2400
Fort Lesley J. McNair, DC  20319

Please find this year’s PEL application packet here:

2017 PEL Application