Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES)

About this Program

The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES) is an undergraduate organization dedicated to improving civilian-military relations. Through joint education, research, and training, ALLIES provides military and civilian students and professionals alike the opportunity to explore significant topics, events and policy while developing relationships that will last a lifetime.

The time for increased understanding between the military and civilian sectors is now. This understanding is paramount regardless of political opinion or affiliation. In Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers are performing both combat and development operations alongside civilian diplomats and NGO workers. Back home, veterans are returning to a civilian population often unprepared to address their experiences and needs. As new opportunities and threats emerge across the globe from Libya to North Korea, debates on the prudent use of our military make the news nightly—while the humanitarian and disaster-assistance work that the military provides gets short mention. Whether a career professional working in civil-military relations or simply an active citizen determined to understand current events, the need for ALLIES—and shared understanding between soldiers and civilians—is clear.

Currently in its fifth year, and consisting of chapters at five civilian schools and three service academies, ALLIES gives participating students and professionals the opportunity to discuss important topics at a depth unusual at the undergraduate level. ALLIES fosters dialogue and creates unique opportunities for collaboration between students of civilian universities and future military officers and service members about the role of the US military at home and abroad.

The ALLIES concept is broadly focused, but programs are issue-driven, spanning all academic disciplines. The group’s activities fall under three main categories—joint education, joint research, and joint training. Joint education largely takes the form of conferences and speakers, notably the annual ALLIES Intellectual Roundtable, a multiday conference that brings together military and civilian students as well as military officers, government professionals, academicians, and NGO workers. Joint research is performed through partnerships between civilian and military students, notably during the summer for the ALLIES Joint Research Project (JRP), held in a foreign country and for an extended period of time. Past JRP locations have included the Ukraine, Chile, Uganda, and Jordan. Finally, joint training consists of a number of simulated exercises, ranging from the discussion-based SIMULEX crisis simulation sponsored by the Center for Applied Strategic Learning (CASL) at the National Defense University, to FIELDEX, the field-based stability operations simulation designed by ALLIES members.

At its heart, ALLIES is dedicated to creating a bridge for shared understanding between this nation’s civilian and military sectors and, through joint education and experiences, a better-prepared generation of civilian and military leaders ready to address the challenges of the 21st century.

For more information, please contact us at or follow us on Twitter at @ALLIESCivMil.