In February 2023, the McCain Institute announced the 15 selected members of the 2023
cohort. This third cohort includes fellows from repeat agencies such as CIA, FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, MI5, MI6, ASIO, the US State Department, the Australian National Police, and UK Foreign Office. It also includes first-time representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Australian Defense Force (ADF), the UK's Ministry of Defense (MOD), and New Zealand's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Beginning on March 5, 2023, the new cohort convened in Washington D.C. for a week of
professional development, leadership training, and relationship building. Over the course of a
week, fellows met with 27 national security experts. The week began with a visit to the RAND offices in Arlington, VA, where Fellows competed against one another in “Hedgemony,” RAND’s original wargame strategy exercise.” Throughout the week, the group attended meetings at key agencies including the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury, and the CIA, and visited the International Spy Museum.
Fellows engaged with high-level leaders including Assistant Director of the FBI Robert Wells, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Christy Abizaid, Deputy Assistant to the
President Josh Geltzer, COO of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Lora Shiao,
and Deputy Director of the CIA David Cohen. Other sessions featured discussion with scholars
Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss and Bill Braniff, journalists Courtney Kube and Shane Harris, Capitol Hill staff, and national security experts like Michèle Flournoy. Fellows and speakers engaged on a wide range of issues from the current counterterrorism landscape to career trajectories and leadership skills.
One fellow summarized the experience:
“It was a great privilege to have frank and open conversations with senior leaders about
substantive national security issues as well as their careers and leadership, but I also learned
so much from the other members of the cohort. I really appreciated the chance to hear about
their experiences– what we had in common, what was different– and to reflect on where we
each have come from and where we want to go.”