Skip navigation

Secretary of Defense Contact

CAPT Mark “Burger” McLean, USN
OUSD Personnel & Readiness, Force Education & Training, PME
john.m.mclean6.mil@mail.mil
Office: (703) 692-4176

Strategic Thinkers Program

Selective program of the Office of the Secretary of Defense opens new pipeline for active duty military officers to enroll in the Johns Hopkins SAIS Master of International Public Policy degree. 

Johns Hopkins SAIS is a lead partner in the Strategic Thinkers Program (STP) of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. This highly competitive one-year Master’s program annually selects a small group of talented military officers to participate in this unique curriculum. All nominees for the program must be in the paygrade of O4 or above and have already completed Joint Professional Military Education Phase 1 and at least 10 years on active duty before the start of the academic year.

Students immerse themselves in the conceptual dynamics and trends of power, war, and the use of force, and consider their role in the development of effective decision-making and execution of military operations. Once coursework is completed, graduates will leverage their strategic thinking skills in demanding headquarters staff assignments at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, on the Joint Staff, or attached to a combatant commander's staff or other four-star headquarters. These appointments will require graduates to deal with unanticipated security challenges and seek innovative approaches in order to engage our nation's top civilian and military leaders on the development and conduct of military operations in the broader context of national policy objectives. 

The first cohort course runs from August 2019 to May 2020. The Services will begin taking nominations for the August 2020 cohort in December 2019.