In late 2021, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted its first-ever Congressional Bootcamp. Drawing on insights from leading experts in and around CSIS, these courses bring together a diverse cohort of full-time Congressional staff members to dive deeper into the most pressing foreign policy and national security challenges. 

CSIS is continuously developing new bootcamp courses to educate Congressional staff and help them better tackle the most pressing issues of national security they face.  

Past Courses

Defense Industrial Base in an Era of Strategic Competition

In August 2023, Congressional staff heard from think tank experts, as well as the defense community about the vital role the defense industrial base play in U.S. national security and prosperity. Sessions examined the active role Congress takes in managing the coordination between the Department of Defense and the industrial base on issues such as research, development, manufacturing, and procurement. All of this keeps the United States on the cutting edge of warfighting and armed service capabilities. 

Understanding U.S. Foreign Assistance

In April 2023, Congressional staff learned about what makes up the '150 Account', examined the role of trade assistance and development banks, looked into how assistance is coordinated on the ground, and explored how authoritarian regimes use foreign assistance and other methods to influence policy outcomes in the developing world. Congressional staff had the opportunity to hear from CSIS experts, former U.S. officials, and representatives from the development banks.

Energy Security and Climate Change

In February 2023, experts from the CSIS and beyond unpacked the economic, geopolitical, and technological drivers affecting energy systems and climate change. Experts looked at emerging trends in critical minerals, U.S. oil and gas production, clean energy supply chains, how the United States can both enhance energy security and achieve global climate goals, and more. As climate risks and geopolitical tensions rise, the United States and its partners must manage economic, climate, and national security interests to successfully navigate the energy transition. This transition presents enormous strategic opportunities and challenges. The United States needs new policy solutions to address climate change, maintain energy security, drive innovation, and grow its leadership in an increasingly competitive energy sector.

Internal Dynamics Shaping Xi’s China

In June 2022, CSIS and the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Contemporary China hosted leading experts from around the country for a course on China’s domestic politics. This course explored a variety of perspectives on the domestic forces shaping China today and tomorrow. Participants came away with a deeper understanding of China's domestic politics and how that shapes the country's foreign policy and military ambitions. Sessions included discussion of elite politics, China’s economic agenda, the country’s climate and energy policies, Beijing’s evolving strategy on Taiwan, managing internal security and discontent, and China’s legal system. 

China’s BRI and U.S. Policy Options

In November 2021, CSIS hosted a bootcamp course about China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This $1 trillion flagship foreign policy effort of Chinese leader Xi Jinping is poised to reshape global networks of trade, transport, and political ties within and between countries for decades to come. As Congress considers how to counteract the CCP’s growing influence in regions of strategic importance to the United States, this course gave participants a deeper understanding of the scope of BRI and the tools the U.S. can utilize in response.  

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