Staff Rides and Field Trips

AGS takes learning beyond the classroom through domestic and international battlefield staff rides and national security related field trips. 


March 8-17, 2019 - TORCH Morocco:

What is a Staff Ride? 

"The staff ride was created in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars by Prussians, the perfectors of European military strategy. They would walk battlefields of previous wars, observe the terrain and have officers research and take the roles of various commanders and political leaders on all sides. An officer would present their character's personal history, plans for the conflict and actions during it. The other participants then adopt their characters’ roles and counter or question the presenter’s arguments in order to point out disagreements, mistakes or good strategies. Staff rides are invaluable because they help the participants understand not just who fought where and when, but what was planned, what ended up occurring, why those events occurred, and how they fit into the broader geopolitical context." - AGS Alumnus Adam Lemon '17 

Scroll down to watch the 2018 Belgium & France Staff Ride video
Applications for Spring 2019 are closed

AGS Staff Rides and Applications

Each year, AGS holds one domestic and one international staff ride in which students, alumni, faculty and staff are welcome to participate. Recent staff rides have included trips to Belgium, France, Vienam, Grenada, England, Fredericksburg, VA and Gettysburg, PA. Please note, applications are required due to the high volume of interest and the amount of thorough preparation expected of each participant.

This coming spring, a select group of AGS students and faculty will participate in an exciting learning exercise focused on Operation Torch, the US military engagement in North Africa during WWII. Students will research and come to understand the US WWII North African campaign in a unique way by seeing firsthand the battlefield, and examining the psychology of leadership through the eyes of key decision-makers.


2018 World War I Endgame Staff Ride to Belgium & France

In March 2018, nearly 40 Duke AGS undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and alumni trekked across Belgium and France for the World War I End Game Staff Ride. In the centennial of the Great War, students were challenged to role play military and war-period characters alongside faculty and military experts to learn the stakes of war. Led by Professor Peter Feaver, students debated strategy from the perspective of embroiled contemporaries of war to learn the true costs and sacrifices of leadership. 

Click here to view the photo story documenting this incredible trip!

Staff Ride Video Archive: 

Vietnam and the Tet Offensive, 2017

AGS Field Trips

Beyond staff rides, AGS takes learning outside the classroom through national security related field trips. Capitalizing on Duke's strategic location and AGS's partnership with the Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship program, recent trips have included Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, NC and the Navy SEAL base in Little Creek, VA.

From closed door Q&As and riding white caps in CRRCs with SEAL Team 10, to target practice and parachute simulations with officers at Bragg, AGS field trips provide civilian students with unparalleled opportunities to experience and develop a deeper understanding of the U.S. national security arena.