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AGS Mission

The mission of AGS is to prepare the next generation of strategists by studying past generations and interacting with current strategic leaders. We are building a research community of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates who are committed to deepening their understanding of America’s role in the world – past, present and future.

What is American Grand Strategy?

"Grand strategy is a term of art from academia, and refers to the collection of plans and policies that comprise the state’s deliberate effort to harness political, military, diplomatic, and economic tools together to advance that state’s national interest. Grand strategy is the art of reconciling ends and means. It involves purposive action — what leaders think and want. Such action is constrained by factors leaders explicitly recognize (for instance, budget constraints and the limitations inherent in the tools of statecraft) and by those they might only implicitly feel (cultural or cognitive screens that shape worldviews).

Why Study AGS at Duke?

At Duke we have distinctive strengths in political science and public policy, including a diversity of experience across the partisan divide, as well as a rich tradition of close collaboration with military and diplomatic history.  AGS is a signature program for Duke students interested in national security policymaking.

Take advantage of...

- Exclusive opportunities to meet with prominent speakers in small group settings

- Field trips, simulations, battlefield staff rides, and other experiential learning opportunities

- Our network of policy, national security, and political science alumni and experts

- Summer Fellowships awarded to help fund AGS related summer internships and research opportunities

Four Core Pillars of the Duke AGS Program


The hallmark of AGS is a coveted advanced seminar co-taught by a political scientist and a historian only in the Fall semester. Upper level undergraduates and interested graduate students should contact Peter Feaver about enrolling in the course. Seats are extremely limited.

Speakers Program

AGS brings distinguished scholars and practitioners to Duke to interact with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The Ambassador Dave and Kay Phillips Family International Lectureship is the pinnacle of this program and features the most distinguished speakers in one or two signature high-profile events at Duke each year. Check the AGS events calendar for upcoming events. Previous events, recordings, and photos can be found within the list of past events page.

Active Learning

AGS engages students outside of the classroom, providing distinctive and meaningful learning experiences to students in the form of crisis simulations, staff rides and other field opportunities.Undergraduates who have demonstrated strong commitment to the AGS program will be offered additional experiential education opportunities. In years past this has included Staff Rides, career exploration trips to Washington, D.C., and trips to military bases such as Fort Bragg and the Norfolk Naval Base.


AGS advances scholarship and public engagement in the areas of American foreign policy and civil-military relations. Graduate students in fields related to Grand Strategy should contact Paige Rotunda for involvement in small-group sessions with guests in the upcoming year. Each year AGS’s partner institution, TISS, invites doctoral candidates nearing completion of their degrees to apply to speak at our annual New Faces conference.  Applications are solicited from across the nation and beyond; 7-10 are selected to present at the conference in the fall. Contact Susan Colbourn for more information.