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Nicholas Wilson ‘05
Special Assistant to the Secretary
United States Air Force

Nicholas Wilson

“My journey from the Patterson School to the Pentagon was not direct, but included several essential stops: first at a think tank, then with the aerospace/defense industry, and finally in politics. Working on the 2008 presidential campaign turned out to be just the right ticket to land a political appointment as a special assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force.

I arrived at Patterson with a UK degree in political science, an interest in Africa, and a solid year's experience working in politics at the state level. At Patterson I concentrated on diplomacy with a minor in development, taking a raft of economics courses — but not a single class on defense or security issues. Who knew that my career trajectory would center upon defense, business, and politics.

Upon graduation, I immediately relocated to DC, working as a program manager and analyst at CSIS. There I put my training in "cross-cultural bargaining" to good use, directing teams tackling projects ranging from post-conflict reconstruction and Southeast Asian defense strategy to nuclear deterrence/non-proliferation and terrorism. Next, I expanded my security expertise by working as a management consultant at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, a Virginia-based aerospace and defense sector consulting firm.

At the Air Force, I help prepare the Secretary and other senior Air Force leaders for their engagements on Capitol Hill with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. Currently, I am working on an effort to bring alternative sources of energy to the Air Force that are efficient, affordable, and environmentally compliant.

This is a challenging time to be at the Pentagon as we draw down from the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and set strategic priorities in the face of sharp budgetary constraints.”

USAF Secretary Michael Donley and staff F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters

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AAU
Aga Khan Foundation
Alltech
American Airlines
Associated Press
Azerbaijan Central Bank
Babcock International
Banco Itaú SA
Bank of America
Bertlesmann Foundation
Blessed Earth
Boeing
Brown-Forman
BSR
Catholic Relief Services
Chamber of Commerce
Chemonics International
Church World Service
CIA
Citigroup
Conservation International
CSIS
CV Starr
Defense Intelligence Agency
Delta Air Lines
Deutsche Bank AG
Dun & Bradstreet
EADS
Economist Intelligencer Unit
FBI
Fifth Third Bank
Florida State University
Futures Group
General Accountability Office
General Cable
General Electric
GeoEye Analytics
Grameen Bank
Hitachi
Human Rights Watch
Humana
Hyundai
IADB
IDA
JP Morgan Chase
King & Spalding, LLP
Lexmark International
ManTech International
Mars
Ministry of Economics
Ministry of Finance
Nestlé SA
New America Foundation
NNSA
NeuStar
Northrop Grumman
NSA
One Acre Fund
Open Society Institute
OPIC
Peace Corps
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Price Waterhouse Coopers
Rabobank Group
Raytheon
Royal Bank of Canada
SAIC
Stoll Keenon Ogden
STRATFOR
Thomson Reuters
Transparency International
Tysons
UNDP
UNESCO
United Nations
United Technologies
UPS
US AID
US Air Force
US CIS
US Court of Appeals
US Department of Commerce
US Department of Defense
US Department of State
US Department of Treasury
US House of Representatives
US Military Academy
US Navy
US Senate
USAFE
World Bank
World Food Program
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Patterson School | 455 POT, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0027 | 859-257-4666

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