Special Operations Fund


     Ambassador (Retired) David C. Miller, Jr, is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Special Operations Fund. In recognition and appreciation for his vision and thoughtful guidance of the Special Operations Fund; his life-long commitment to nurturing future public servants through the power of higher education and distinctive educational experiences, in 2016 the Board of Directors of the Special Operations Fund established the Ambassador David C. Miller, Jr. Fellowship award. This $20,000 scholarship is awarded to eligible college graduates or graduate students of the Joint Special Operations families who wish to study, work, or participate in international charitable or research activities for up to two years.
Ambassador David C. Miller, Jr., has had a distinguished career in public service, diplomacy, business and management of non-profit organizations. Having earned an American Field Service Scholarship to Japan, a Harvard College undergraduate degree, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School, and a White House Fellowship, Ambassador Miller was well prepared for a life of leadership and contribution at the national and international levels.
After a year in Vietnam working with Harvard and MIT professors primarily for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (now known as DARPA), Ambassador Miller was selected as a White House Fellow in 1968-69, serving with the Attorney General, who asked him to remain another year as a Confidential Assistant. He continued to serve in the White House from 1970-71 as the Director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellows while also working with the Counsel to the President.
Ambassador Miller was the United States Ambassador to Tanzania from 1981-84 and Zimbabwe from 1984-86. After two years in business he returned to the White House as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on the National Security Council (NSC) from 1989-90. His NSC portfolio included counterterrorism, counternarcotics, low intensity conflict, Africa, the United Nations, refugees and public diplomacy.
During 10 years at Westinghouse Electric Corporation he held a variety of international positions and has served on a number of corporate boards, both public and private.
He is one of the founding members for the US Diplomatic Studies Foundation and serves as its President. Working with the Atlantic Council, where he was the Brent Scowcroft Fellow, he co-authored with Ambassadors Tom Pickering and Chester Crocker, reports on reform of the National Security Council, followed by a similar report on the Department of State. The Foundation is currently working with the Department of State to improve the education and training of Foreign Service Officers.

     Ambassador Miller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relation, the District of Columbia Bar, and is the founder of the Special Operations Fund. He was co-author, with Howard Wolpe and David Gordon, of The United States and Africa: A Post-Cold War Perspective, and he has contributed chapters to three books on low intensity conflict. He received an honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Lewis and Clarke College in 1991 in recognition of his public service.


     The Special Operations Fund will select one Miller Fellow annually to receive up to $20,000, for up to two years for a post-graduate Fellowship. Eligible applicants are those who expect to graduate in 2020 from a four-year college prior to the Fellowship, or who are currently pursuing a graduate degree, or who have successfully completed a graduate program within the last three years. The overall objective of the Fellowship is to provide the selectee an opportunity to live and work on a specific project in a foreign culture while simultaneously advancing foreign language skills. Applicants will submit proposals to study, work, or participate in charitable or research activities in another country. Proposals should illustrate what applicants intend to do, what they expect to learn, the potential impact they expect to have on the community, and how the Fellowship will help prepare them for a career in international public service. Such service includes the Foreign Service, the intelligence community, the military, or non-profit international development activities. Applications will be evaluated based on several criteria, which include a review of the applicant’s undergraduate or graduate academic rigor, including grade point average and academic honors received. Weight will be given to a candidate’s demonstrated or intended public service with added credit given for evidence of pre-existing or intended foreign language proficiency.
Candidates for this fellowship will be drawn from a pool of sons or daughters of fallen (killed in action or killed in training), current, and veteran Joint Special Operations warriors supported by the following benevolent Local Scholarship Organizations (LSO): the Special Operations Fund, Rangers Scholarship Fund (RSF), Unit Scholarship Fund (USF), Night Stalker Foundation (NSF), Navy SEAL Foundation Development Group Scholarship Committee (DGSC), and The Association (USAF). As with other programs provided by the SOFund that benefit these organizations, they will be asked to assist the SOFund with announcing this program, tracking and identifying qualified applicants.
The semi-finalists will; have attained a college or university cumulative grade point average (or equivalent) of 3.2 or higher, have demonstrated academic honors, and have displayed by their activities a sincere interest in the careers mentioned above. Applicants with cumulative GPA’s below 3.2 must show an unusually strong record of leadership and achievement in and outside the classroom and must propose a compelling project idea.
Finalists will be required to identify and connect to an organization, agency, educational institution or defined foreign partner to serve as an official Fellowship host for each Fellow. Examples of such entities include Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), Rotary International, TechnoServe, the Peace Corps, and foreign universities.

     Each finalist is strongly urged to retain an advisor to provide counsel on evaluating possibilities and selecting the proposed project’s objective, shaping it, and guiding it to completion. Advisors can come from academia, government, the military, the defense or intelligence business community, or the research community. Finalists will be interviewed and required to submit a 1,000-word proposal for the project to be accomplished during their Fellowship. This proposal will be evaluated on clarity and practicality; the degree of cultural knowledge to be gained by the applicant; the quality and quantity of relationships developed in the foreign country where the work, study, research, or charitable activity will take place; and current or potential usefulness to our nation’s understanding of that country and its history, culture,issues and aspirations.

     Proposals should also illustrate how the Fellowship experience will help prepare the Fellow for a career in international public service, including the Foreign Service, the intelligence community, the military, or non-profit international development activities. The Selection Committee of the Miller Fellowship will be chaired by Ambassador Miller, and composed of four directors of the Special Operations Fund, two retired military members of the Joint Special Operations Command community, and two faculty members from a distinguished college or postgraduate international affairs program. One David C. Miller, Jr. Fellow will be announced in December and the Fellow is expected to begin carrying out their proposed project by the end of the following summer. The Fellow is responsible for obtaining passport, visa, shots, medical insurance and other administrative measures needed to execute the project. Finally, within three months of concluding the Miller Fellowship, the Fellow will be asked to write a paper describing their efforts; assessing the Fellowship project, its educational value, and any implications for the future and the host country. The paper will be submitted to the Fellow’s advisor and to Carolyn Becker, SOFund’s Programs Director, as a demonstration of the impact of the investment made in that specific Fellowship. The SOFund may make the paper available for future Fellows and others, as deemed appropriate. DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION HERE -> Ambassador David C. Miller, Jr, Fellowship 2020 application

Below is the Timeline:

16SEP19 - Guidelines/Application released to local scholarship funds

16OCT19 - Completed application suspense to Night Stalker Foundation

22OCT19 - Night Stalker Foundation notify their top three candidates

24OCT19 - Night Stalker Foundation submit their top three candidates’ redacted applications to SOFund

07NOV19 - SOFund notifies local scholarship funds of the top five finalists and local funds contact their finalist(s) to inform them to submit 1,000-word written Project Proposal

26NOV19 - Top five finalists provide written Project Proposal to local scholarship funds

02DEC19 -  Local scholarship funds submit their finalist(s)’ redacted written Project Proposal to SOFund

TBD - SOFund   Interviews with finalists scheduled

16DEC19 - SOFund announces the 2020 Ambassador David C. Miller, Jr. Fellow