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CERL Summer Interns Tackle National Security Issues From Super Soldiers to Civics

Over a dozen graduate, law, and undergraduate students took part this past summer in the eleventh summer internship program offered by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL), in partnership with the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

The nine-week 2023 program aimed to give law, graduate, and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines who are interested in national security the opportunity to work in teams to research, analyze, and write about critical issues in the field through the perspective of ethics and the rule of law.

In doing so, they further the mission of the center to preserve and promote the rule of law in national security, democratic governance, transnational conflict, and warfare.

CERL and APPC have worked in partnership since 2020 on conferences, white papers, summer internship programs and other projects.

This year’s program included 13 interns, including undergraduates, Ph.D. students, and law students with an interest in law, government, philosophy, international relations, national security, and intelligence. The CERL summer interns’ primary projects included:

  • Producing a white paper discussing the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Program for Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMR-AP), in particular, the use of Artificial Intelligence to reduce civilian casualties.
  • Surveying the state of, and developing recommendations to strengthen, civics knowledge in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Developing protocols for the ethical research, development, and deployment of enhanced warfighters or “super soldiers.”
  • Producing a white paper examining how the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) has been invoked to expand the power that the President of the United States, as the head of the Executive Office, has in war.
CERL summer interns in 2023
The 2023 CERL summer interns – Top row (left-to-right): Ariel Breitman, Max Gebauer, Laura Stanton, Michelle Zhang, Adam Khan, Christian Ryan; Bottom row (l-to-r): Beatrice Wilson, Ben Cohen, Meredith Devine, Sarah Burn, Karolina Zhukoff, Kilin Tang; Not pictured: Wilson Smerconish