Columbia University School of Professional Studies Announces Military and Veterans Initiative

Aims to Give U.S. Military Personnel and Veterans Crucial Support and Training in Market-Driven Careers That Will Help Them Succeed in the Workplace

Center for a New American Security and the Army Cyber Institute Join Initiative as Partners

NEW YORK, NY (November 16, 2016) – Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies (SPS) today announced the launch of the Military and Veterans Initiative which aims to give U.S. military personnel and veterans crucial support and training in market-driven careers that will help them succeed in the workforce.

Currently, 48% of veterans who pursue a postsecondary degree or certificate do not complete their studies. The Military and Veterans Initiative aims to improve that success rate by leveraging SPS’s expertise in education around career transitions to build a multi-faceted platform to support this group as they prepare for future careers. The Initiative includes: Research, Programming, Community & Engagement and Partnerships.

The Military and Veterans Initiative will be led by Jason Dempsey, former Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently a Senior Advisor for Military Affairs at SPS. Launch partners for the initiative include the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the Army Cyber Institute (ACI).

“For most professionals, career transitions are a choice; for most veterans, they’re a necessity,” said Jason Wingard, Ph.D., Dean of Columbia’s School of Professional Studies. “We believe higher education can and should play an integral role in helping military personnel and veterans prepare for and succeed in their second careers, and this Initiative is designed to leverage our school’s expertise in career transitions – tailoring curricula, research, partnerships and market-driven training do just that.”

The Initiative kicks off this month with a focus on Cybersecurity, aiming to develop recommendations for both the military and private sector to strengthen their cybersecurity workforce to improve national security. A series of roundtable discussions starting Wednesday, November 16, will inform a year-long research effort to identify the most effective strategies to recruit, educate, train, and employ military and civilian talent in the field of cybersecurity. The inaugural roundtable will address the future of military cybersecurity and the challenges faced by the military and private sector, including the need to stay ahead of emerging threats and to develop skills that address dynamic and unconventional challenges in cyber warfare.

"The U.S. Armed Forces and private sector are facing unprecedented cybersecurity threats, and they are likely to increase in both complexity and frequency in the coming years,” said Dempsey. “These challenges require renewed focus on equipping the military and civilian workforce with the skills they need to succeed in their careers and transition from military to civilian life."

The roundtable will include a keynote address from Major General (Retired) Rhett Hernandez and private sessions among SPS, CNAS, and ACI leadership.

For more information, and updates, regarding the SPS Military and Veterans Initiative, please visit


About Columbia University

Columbia University is one of the world's most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

About Jason Dempsey, Ph.D.

Dr. Jason Dempsey is the Senior Advisor for Military Affairs at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, an Adjunct Senior Fellow of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and the co-founder of MILLIE, a company designed to ease the process of moving for military families and veterans.

He is the author of Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations and has also written extensively on Army efforts toward gender integration, the experiences of Hispanics in the military, and U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan.

Dr. Dempsey served in the Army as an infantry officer and deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. Now retired from the Army, Dr. Dempsey last served as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dr. Dempsey is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.