Brown and Talken Spend Semester at U.S. Northern Command and NORAD

10 May 2022    

Independence Talken and Leana Brown stand in front of a pond at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs

Students Leana Brown, ’22, and Independence Talken, ’23, participated in the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) internship program in spring 2022, a full-time experience based in Colorado Springs, Peterson Air Force Base, and supervised by Elsbeth Magilton. 

The NORAD and USNORTHCOM Volunteer Student Internship Program (N&NC VSIP) is part of a larger effort by NORAD and USNORTHCOM to help cultivate future generations of Defense and Security practitioners. N&NC VSIP provides students exposure to NORAD and USNORTHCOM missions and responsibilities, while working alongside current military and civilian professionals dedicated to the defense of North America. Participants gain valuable hands-on experience related to their education endeavors while working in a joint, interagency and international environment at NORAD and USNORTHCOM. They were placed in cyber focused mission offices inside the Command and had meaningful and regular interaction with General Counsel at both NORAD and USNORTHCOM, reviewing their contributions and working with those teams. In addition to experience with General Counsel, they met with staff policy analysts to write, interpret, and apply national policy guidance to areas of commercial space and cyber sectors and the domestic facets of national security. 

Commenting on a data project, Talken said “The data architecture we built centered around data access and use. We helped by mapping out different legally distinguishable phases of a data lifecycle and highlighted different stages to focus on and cover. Additionally, we parsed out considerations for data from different sources and work products of different combinations of entities. Obviously, as students, we were not able to give legal advice, but we pointed out different legal considerations and oriented the team within the world of legal rights and data ownership and property law. It was very fun and one of the coolest parts was how the people we were working with kept saying that all these legal aspects never crossed their minds until they met us. It really showed how much of an impact lawyers can make and how much we, the legal interns, were needed and appreciated.“