Small Wars Journal

Introducing the Whole of Government Center of Excellence

William & Mary Whole of Government Center of Excellence

The College of William & Mary has established a new Whole of Government Center of Excellence, an interagency policy research center that includes a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree for W&M students. This was done in consultation with the interagency including State Department, the military services and defense industry, and other key players like non-profits to fill a national need. 

The Mission

The William & Mary Whole of Government Center of Excellence's mission is to provide mid-career public policy professionals and military officers in federal, state, and local agencies practical training on interagency collaboration, complex national security and other public policy problems, and to support research into "Whole of Government" solutions to these challenges. Amidst intensifying globalization, sound security policies require the collaboration of multiple branches of the U.S. military and civilian government agencies, among others. In addition to educational opportunities, the Center brings together leaders from all levels of government and the military for symposia, discussions, and projects to promote creative, collaborative solutions to emerging issues.

Partnership with the Master of Public Policy Program

The Whole of Government Center of Excellence student cohort gains practical training in solving complicated national security and other public policy problems, while promoting interagency collaboration, via W&M’s Master of Public Policy program.  The academic program includes courses and extracurricular activities focusing on the Whole of Government approach, as well as core training in public policy with a heavy emphasis on cutting-edge quantitative and analytical tools.

Students can enroll in a wide range of courses including:

  • International Development Policy
  • International Trade Policy
  • National Security Law
  • Policy Tools in U.S. National Security
  • Public Management
  • Network Analysis
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Applied Program Evaluation

MPP students also interact closely with Law faculty within the core curriculum, and have the opportunity to engage with faculty in Business, Education, Operations Research, Marine Science, and other departments through their elective coursework.

Competencies Gained Through the Program

  • Holistic understanding of the policy process and its relationship to the U.S. legal system
  • Knowledge of the political and institutional environment in which policy takes place.
  • Ability to conduct policy, economic, and quantitative analysis critical to the development and evaluation of evidence-based policy
  • Experience with cutting-edge analytical tools including network analysis
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 
  • Benefit-cost analysis and evaluation techniques
  • Development of written and oral communication skills for policy audiences

Many national security opportunities are offered through the Whole of Government Center of Excellence to students, as well as military officers and policy professionals. These include lectures by high ranking officials, symposia on critical issues and policy exercises. There are also opportunities to engage our students through policy analysis projects, mentorships, and internships.

To receive updates on upcoming events and opportunities, email your name and title to with the subject 'Subscribe'.