National Security Simulation

Deadline extended through Tuesday, October 3, at 8 PM (updated from Wednesday, September 27, at 8:00 PM).


Undergrad, graduate, and professional school OSU students may apply to be student players in this year’s Ohio State National Security Simulation, sponsored by the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

What It Is: Held every other year in the fall, the Simulation is an unforgettable two-day, real-time role-play and professional training experience. It bridges academic learning and the work world. Participating in the Simulation is very much like your first two days in an exciting new job. Suit up in professional attire and go to work!

Available Roles: OSU students from a range of fields – intelligence, policy (including public affairs, political science, sociology, etc.), military, communications, and management – step into their respective roles in government, the media, and the private sector. Available roles include:

  • Intelligence analysts
  • Law enforcement analysts (e.g., at FBI)
  • Military headquarters staff to senior military officials (available to students with military backgrounds)
  • Policy advisors to U.S. Senators
  • Policy advisors in Executive Branch agencies including the Departments of Defense and State
  • Policy advisors to the Governor of Ohio and Mayor of Columbus
  • Reporters
  • Press secretaries (strategic communications, or “stratcomms”)
  • Social media content creators (using our internal social media platform)
  • C-suite corporate officers at the Simulation’s private sector entity, Nationwide Insurance

Scenarios and Skill Development: The Simulation’s scenarios involve current events, allowing students to bring to bear everything they have learned in their coursework and other experiences. Students role-play alongside practitioner players who are in the top roles (e.g., President, Secretary of State, U.S. Senators, newspaper editor, corporate CEO). The Simulation allows students to network while also building their professional skills in multiple areas: working with busy senior leaders, role assumption, making their knowledge useful to people in other fields, prioritization, decision-making, crisis management, use of processes to generate policy and decisions, and written and oral communication. Ultimately, decisions by the practitioners and student players working together in a dynamic and fast-paced environment determine the outcomes of the Simulation’s scenarios.

When and Where: Nov. 3-4 (Friday-Saturday), 2023 (a football-away weekend), at the Fawcett Center on campus.

Time Commitment: Basically two work days – 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday, plus a few hours in advance reviewing read-ahead materials and getting into the exercise’s simulated internet, news site, and social media sites.

Do We Feed You? Yes. Breakfast and lunch are provided both days. Luncheons include keynote remarks from prominent practitioners.

Who is Eligible: All OSU students with a serious interest in national security, public policy and governance, crisis management, and related issues. Students without backgrounds in national security or international affairs are welcome – they routinely participate and find the Simulation a very valuable and accessible experience.

How to Apply: Email Prof. Dakota Rudesill at with the subject line “Application – National Security Simulation.” Send the following in a single Word doc: (1) resume, (2) another document including your name, kind of role that interests you (e.g., policy advisor to a U.S. Senator), academic major and expected graduation year (e.g., Political Science B.S., expected 2024), contact information, headshot picture, GPA, list of relevant coursework and any other experiences (such as summer jobs, extra-curriculars, travel), and any other information you think is relevant. You need not include a formal cover letter. However, again feel free to add any information that you think might be relevant. We can accept a limited number of participants. We will respond to applicants by Saturday, Oct. 7.

Questions: If you have questions, please email Prof. Rudesill at with “Question – National Security Simulation” in the subject line.