NSEP Service Requirement

In exchange for funding support, NSEP award recipients agree to work in qualifying national security positions for a minimum of one year. This unique service requirement generates a pool of U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with competencies in critical languages and area studies who are highly committed to serving at the federal level in the national security community.

Qualifying Jobs and Service Credit
The NSEP Service Requirement was amended in 2008 to expand federal employment creditable under the Service Agreement.3 Award recipients from 2008-present are required to first seek employment within the four “priority” areas of government, namely

  • Department of Defense;
  • Department of Homeland Security;
  • Department of State; or
  • Any element of the Intelligence Community.

If an award recipient is unable to secure employment within one of the priority areas, he or she may expand the search for employment to include any federal position with national security responsibilities. NSEP defines national security broadly and requires the award recipient to make a strong case for how their position supports national security in sectors ranging from economic stability, international finance, and water security. As a final alternative, award recipients who have clearly demonstrated a good faith effort and an inability to secure employment in the above employment areas may fulfill their service through an educational position related to their NSEP funded study. NSEP reviews service fulfillment in education related fields on a case-by-case basis.

Working in the Government

Commitment to Public Service
The goal of NSEP is to enhance the capacity of the federal sector to deal effectively with the challenging global issues of the 21st century. NSEP David L. Boren Scholars and Fellows, Flagship students, and EHLS Scholars represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. NSEP strongly emphasizes the importance of award recipients seeking and gaining employment in Federal Government organizations whose missions and functions are most directly related to national security.

NSEP Alumni in the Federal Government
NSEP award recipients are deeply committed to serving in the U.S. Government. NSEP works closely with each Scholar and Fellow and with U.S. Government agencies to identify employment opportunities and recommend appropriate matches. Over 4,000 NSEP award recipients have already contributed to the Federal effort and are recognized across Federal departments as ideal candidates for positions. Special hiring exemptions create opportunities for employers to hire NSEP candidates regardless of their federal employment status.

NSEP Award Recipients as Global Professionals

What is a Global Professional?
While studying under an NSEP award, students combine a professional field of study, an understanding of one or more areas of the world outside of the United States, and proficiency in at least one critical foreign language and culture to develop acute intercultural abilities. This experience results in a highly skilled pool of global professionals eager to contribute to agencies across the federal government.

How Does NSEP Define National Security?
NSEP alumni have a perspective of how their interests relate to issues of national security. The NSEP definition of national security is both broad and diverse to include, among others, such varied issues as:

International and regional conflict Conflict resolution Peacekeeping
International trade Market penetration Export strategy
Export controls Economic competitiveness Human rights and humanitarian assistance
Health and population issues Sustainable development Weapons of mass destruction 
Arms control Nuclear proliferation International drug trafficking 
Counter-proliferation Terrorism and counterterrorism  


Federal Employer Areas of Emphasis

In 1995, NSEP began surveying federal agencies and organizations involved in national security affairs to assess their needs for individuals with global skills, based on their knowledge of world regions, languages and cultures, and field of study. The results of these surveys demonstrated that agencies are eager to locate and hire individuals with global skills that extend across a wide breadth of non-Western countries, who are proficient in less-commonly taught languages, and who have expertise in a broad range of disciplines. This survey process resulted in an annual list of NSEP Areas of Emphasis, which follows. NSEP focuses on languages and areas identified as most critical while maintaining a vital investment in those languages and areas that may be important in the future. NSEP routinely consults with the Department of Defense Senior Language Authority, senior language officers throughout the government, and other national security agencies to revalidate and update the list based on assessments routinely undertaken by these organization

NSEP’s emphasized list of languages reflects a need for more than 60 languages. The languages are listed in alphabetic order and mirror the principal languages of each emphasized country of study, as well as all languages spoken on the African continent. Other languages and dialects spoken by a significant population on the Areas of Emphasis: World Regions/Countries list are also preferred as part of the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships review process. 

Albanian African Languages (all) Akan/Twi Amharic
Arabic (all dialects) Armenian Azerbaijani Bahasa
Bambara Belarusian Bengali Bosnian
Bulgarian Cambodian Cantonese Croatian
Czech Gan Georgian Haitian
Hausa Hebrew Hindi Hungarian
Japanese Javanese Kanarese Kazakh
Khmer Korean Kurdish Kyrgyz
Lingala Macedonian Malay Malayalam
Mandarin Moldovan Pashto Persian
Polish Portuguese Punjabi Romanian
Russian Serbian Sinhala Slovak
Slovenian Swahili Tagalog Tajik
Tamil Telegu Thai Turkmen
Turkish Uighur Ukrainian Urdu
Uzbek Vietnamese Wolof Yoruba



Africa (Sub-Saharan) Region
Angola Benin Cape Verde Congo, DRC
Congo, Rep. Eritrea Ethiopia Ghana
Kenya Mali Liberia Mozambique
Nigeria Rwanda Senegal Sierra Leone
South Africa Tanzania Uganda  
East Asian and Pacific Region
Cambodia China Indonesia Japan
Malaysia Philippines South Korean Taiwan
Thailand Timor-Leste Vietnam  
Europe and Eurasia Region
Albania Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Czechia
Georgi Hungary Kosovo Macedonia
Moldova Montenegro Poland Romania
Russia Serbia Slovakia Slovenia
Turkey Ukraine    
Near East (North African and Middle East) Region
Algeria Bahrain Israel Jordan
Kuwait Lebanon Morocco Oman
Qatar Saudi Arabia Tunisia UAE
South and Central Asia Region
Bangladesh India Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan
Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka Tajikistan
Turkmenistan Uzbekistan    
Western Hemisphere Region
Argentina Brazil Chile Colombia
Cuba El Salvador Guatemala Haiti
Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama
Peru Venezuela    


Fields Of Study
NSEP accepts applications from individuals seeking degrees in multidisciplinary fields, including those listed below.

International And Regional Conflict Conflict Resolution Peacekeeping
International Trade Market Penetration Export Strategy
Export Controls Economic Competitiveness Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance
Health And Population Issues Sustainable Development Weapons of Mass Destruction 
Arms Control Nuclear Proliferation International Drug Trafficking 
Counter-Proliferation Terrorism and Counterterrorism