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This post contains a collection of resources for aspiring policy professionals in the US, including articles, books, newsletters, podcasts, and more. It focuses on resources most relevant to people seeking to work in US federal-level technology or security policy, such as AI policy or biosecurity policy.

The post is split into two parts: the first consists of career-specific resources, providing both strategic advice on high-level career decisions and tactical advice on applying for particular opportunities. The second consists of topic-specific resources to help readers learn about particular policy areas relating to emerging technology and security policy, including AI policy, biosecurity policy, and nuclear security policy.

This collection consists of resources that different DC professionals have recommended. It does not aim to be comprehensive, and we haven’t vetted all these resources individually. The collection is also a work-in-progress, and we appreciate any feedback (e.g., resources we missed, better ways to structure this post) via this form or in the comments.

I. Career-specific policy resources

General US policy career resources

Other policy resource lists 

Policy work opportunities

Policy job boards

Policy internships

Policy fellowships

Policy graduate school

Policy institutions

Legislative branch (Congress) 

Executive branch (including federal agencies)

Think tanks

Policy advocacy

Security clearances

Resources for foreign citizens interested in US policy

State-level policy

Living and working in Washington, DC

II. Topic-specific policy resources

AI policy resources 

Biosecurity and pandemic preparedness policy resources

Nuclear security policy resources 

  1. ^

    Short chapters with lots of examples and applied tips on how to get things done in government. Most of the tips and tricks and notes on 'mindset' apply to policy change. Both authors previously worked on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

  2. ^

    Focused on presidential transitions, but a lot of the content is more broadly applicable to policy/government work writ large, with many high-profile former/current government officials telling personal stories (no longer active but has a good archive)

  3. ^

    Stories from CNAS staff who previously worked in government (mainly foreign policy/national security) about what their jobs involved (unclear if still active but good archive)

  4. ^

    A pedagogical book on how Congress works that is also a good narrative on financial reform (Dodd-Frank) after the Great Recession. Go-to book recommendation on Congress for someone not already familiar with its inner workings.

  5. ^

    A more in-depth ‘handbook’-type resource on how Congressional offices work, written primarily for Congressional staffers (though it's also a useful read for someone interacting with Congress from the outside)

  6. ^

    Pedagogical interviews about various aspects of Congressional work, hosted by a former Congressional Research Service (CRS) analyst 

  7. ^

    Short interviews by Rep. Derek Kilmer with other House members about what their day-to-day is like, typically light/fun conversations (~15 mins) and good for humanizing members of Congress (no longer active but has a decent archive)

  8. ^

    Especially useful for a perspective on interagency coordination and mobilizing stakeholders without big financial resources

  9. ^

    An overview of executive agency players (both White House and agencies) and some of the main "tools of the trade" (both legal and political), along with case studies of policy change examples (two security and two economic policy examples). Both authors are academics but also have government experience.

  10. ^

    Edited volume with chapters on many national security-related departments/agencies (DOD, State, IC, NSC, etc.), almost entirely written by people who actually worked in those places. Not only focused on formal authorities/activities but also on institutional history and culture.

  11. ^

    Go-to introduction on regulatory policy, covering the relevant steps in the regulatory process, key players, legal issues (when does a policy change require action by Congress and when can the executive branch act unilaterally?), etc.

  12. ^

    Good deep dive into OMB, one of the most powerful and less-known parts of the White House/executive branch (coordinates nearly all executive branch regulations and budgeting).

  13. ^

    A good overview of the think tank world, though it also has some non-US content that is not particularly relevant to DC (most countries' think tank ecosystems are pretty different from the US).

  14. ^

    Focused on advocacy in Congress—the author is/was a Congressional staffer—but also covers some executive branch territory.

  15. ^

    A good overview of the roles of states in the US federal system, useful for any policy issue where states are key players (as originators that can inspire federal policy, as implementers of federal policy, as potential blockers to federal policy, etc.).


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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:51 PM

Thanks for making this!

What do the asterisks before a given resource mean? (E.g. before "Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t".) Maybe they mean you're especially strongly recommending that?