North American Defense and Security Academic Alliance

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) North American Defense and Security Academic Alliance (NADSAA) exists as a collaborative information-based enterprise dedicated to strengthening and normalizing relationships between the two commands and academic institutions. This relationship stimulates and develops new thinking, examines cross-organizational solutions, and helps cultivate future generations of defense and security practitioners.



Academic institutions with homeland defense, security and emergency response related programs are invited to partner with NORAD and USNORTHCOM via the NADSAA. NADSAA is dedicated to the promotion of innovative ideas for defense, security, and emergency preparedness of North America through robust research efforts, internship opportunities, and partnering activities.

Membership requires no formal process other than a verbal commitment expressing a willingness to participate. If your academic institution is interested in becoming a member of NADSAA, please contact us via the form below.


Speaker Requests

Guest Speakers

Current and former senior military leaders or subject matter experts are made available to universities for symposia, events, lectures, etc. To make a request, please contact the NADSAA coordinator using the form below.

**Note that military or former military speaker’s honorarium, fee, or pro-bono appearance is individually negotiated per event. 

Curricula Support 

NORAD and USNORTHCOM may provide subject matter expertise in support of curriculum validation/revision. Subject matter experts from academia may also provide presentations at NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters here in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If your institution is planning an event that you feel may benefit from NORAD and USNORTHCOM subject matter expert support, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do everything we can to assist. 

Volunteer Student Internship Program

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) Volunteer Student Internship Program (VSIP) is part of a larger effort by the commands to help cultivate future generations of defense and security practitioners. Our VSIP provides students exposure to NORAD and USNORTHCOM missions and responsibilities, while working alongside current military and civilian professionals dedicated to the defense of North America.


NORAD and USNORTHCOM’s Volunteer Student Internship Program (VSIP) provides valuable hands-on experience to graduate, select undergraduate, and ROTC Cadet / Service Academy students related to their educational endeavors while working in a joint, interagency, and international environment at NORAD and USNORTHCOM Headquarters. Students may use their internship to acquire academic credit related to an internship or capstone requirement. A Department of Defense SECRET Clearance is initiated for all applicants fully accepted into the program. Although a security clearance will be initiated on behalf of accepted student participants, the adjudication of a security clearance is conducted externally by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and is not controlled or guaranteed by participating in the VSIP. The VSIP supplies interns to every directorate within NORAD and USNORTHCOM Headquarters, the Washington Operations Center, the new Homeland Defense Institute at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Special Staff Offices when available. Placement is determined by candidate goals and candidate suitability to the positions available.


In order to participate in the NORAD and USNORTHCOM VSIP, the following criteria must be met:

•             Applicants must be civilian students and select ROTC / Service Academy Cadets, enrolled at least half-time at an accredited academic institution

•             Applicants must demonstrate and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale

•             Applicants must be U.S. Citizens

•             Applicants must be able to successfully complete a background security investigation

•             Applicants must be available for a minimum of 12 weeks, during which they are required to dedicate 20 hours (minimum) per week to their responsibilities at NORAD and USNORTHCOM


Interested parties must submit a complete application package to the NORAD and USNORTHCOM VSIP Admin Team. A complete application package must include the following:

•             Volunteer Student Internship Program Application (PDF link)

•             Professional Resume

•             Professional Cover Letter

•             Unofficial Transcripts

•             NORAD and USNORTHCOM Educational Institution Acknowledgement Letter (PDF link)




•             Applications accepted 01 April to 31 July

•             Students notified of their acceptance by 31 August

•             Students begin their internship in January

•             Students complete their internship in March



•             Applications accepted 01 August to 30 November

•             Students notified of their acceptance by 31 December

•             Students begin their internship in May

•             Students complete their internship in July



Questions about program eligibility, deadlines or requirements can be directed to

New VSIP Application

Educational Institution Acknowledgement Letter



Research Opportunities

NORAD and USNORTHCOM invites all institutions to partner in research that is mutually beneficial in the areas of aerospace defense, homeland defense, security cooperation and Defense Support of Civil Authorities. We have a broad research topics list that can potentially be used to satisfy student research project requirements while helping to advance NORAD and USNORTHCOM's understanding of a given focus area.  



For questions or inquiries about our North American Defense and Security Academic Alliance program, send us an email using the contact form below.
NADSAA Coordinator