AFF Writing Fellow Profile: Josh Halbert
Pursuing a career in foreign policy.
AFF Writing Fellow Josh Halbert has always had a fascination with the lure and complexity of international affairs. As the son of a Special Forces Marine Veteran, Josh grew up in a household that had its fair share of Tom Clancy books and re-runs of The Hunt for Red October. Josh credits his father’s military background as the source of fascination with all things military history and foreign policy.
Before graduating the University of Colorado in 2013, Josh joined his uncle’s car dealership and learned the principles of salesmanship and customer service. After graduating, Josh sharpened these skills in a full-time position with Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Management Trainee Program. Josh says that this job “gave me my work ethic, taught me the value of hard work, and taught me how to have a long-term outlook.”
Josh’s belief in hard work, and passion for politics, would soon come together while visiting a friend in DC who inspired him to work in foreign policy. “Deciding to move to DC was a realization. I didn’t feel like I had the skills, or even a solid idea of what my career path would be, but just decided to go for it. I applied for internships every day. I would literally be doing interviews in my car while on my lunch break at my job.” Josh’s knack for clandestine telephone interviews would soon pay off in the form of a radio production and research internship with the Center for Security Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC.
As a research and radio intern, Josh was responsible for assisting in the production of Secure Freedom, a weekly radio show that discusses foreign policy issues with leading thinkers and experts. Josh was promoted to Associate Producer after three months and shifted towards a more research-focused role. Josh currently assists senior fellows in research and writing on various issues related to foreign policy, drone use, and terrorism.
The focus on research led Josh to find America’s Future Foundation’s Writing Fellows Program. “I applied because I wanted to become a better writer and enhance my career. Writing is a valuable skill that adds to the benefits of what you bring to the table. I get writers block, and this program has allowed me to break it down into more manageable steps. Whether you are new or established, there is always a way to get better and this program helps you get there.”
Looking to the future, Josh wants to use his skills and experiences to help the U.S. better engage with other countries. Josh sees himself working with government as an aide to an ambassador, or even doing international security work with NATO. When asked what advice he would give to someone wanting to make the move to DC, Josh says, “Just do it! Don’t be intimidated at work. Be comfortable feeling incompetent at times. Working with people who are smarter than you means you are getting closer to your goals. Don’t be intimidated by the aura of DC.”
Seneca Gates is an America’s Future Foundation intern. Josh Halbert is part of the AFF Writing Fellows Program.