Would you like to be more involved in your community’s efforts to support to installations, service members and their families? Do you know an emerging community leader who would benefit from a national training program?

The Academy is a no-cost, scholarship opportunity for selected leaders chosen through a competitive process.

Applications are closed for 2019. Thank you to all who applied, we will be in touch shortly.

What People are Saying


The Association of Defense Communities has developed the Defense Community Leadership Academy (DCLA), a program designed to develop leaders and build capacity at the local level to improve the quality of life and support systems our service members and their families depend on. The Academy will bring together a select group of emerging leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C., for a two-day learning and networking exercise that will explore the latest tools and strategies for growing capacity to support military families at the local level. Leading service member and military family support practitioners and experts will serve as faculty and guide participants through an innovative curriculum. The program will continue through an online community of practice, allowing participants to continue to share successes, learn best practices and form new partnerships.


Military installations, service members and their families are the strength of our nation and the foundation of military readiness. They are what keep the U.S. strong and safe, and creating great places for them to call home is a responsibility defense communities take seriously. No single person or organization makes this happen; it takes a community to support an installation and build a network of support that enhances quality of life for our military families. But it takes leaders as well — individuals who emerge to serve as the next generation of community leaders. Their work is critical to ensure that our defense communities thrive and are successful in supporting the installation’s missions in their midst.

These leaders raise money, provide direct support to military families and installations, and they keep the community engaged and supportive. They are the heart of America’s defense communities.

There is no training manual for what these leaders do, nor is there any formal network to guide their work; they learn by doing, do what needs to get done and, in many cases, do it for free. Without them, our communities would not be as successful as they are; yet we as a nation do little to contribute to their success. What if we invested in the efforts of these emerging leaders by providing them with the tools and strategies they need and then connected them to other leaders around the country?


– How to define your role as a defense community leader and how to organize community efforts.

– Improve your understanding of how to assess the capacity and needs of your community.

– Tools to assess the military role in your community and how it may change.

– Ways to sustain engagement in your broader community.

– Methods for resourcing your efforts over the long term.

– Approaches to measuring success and progress.


– Emerging Leaders – DCLA is focused on supporting emerging leaders from defense communities across the nation who want to improve their skills for developing and nurturing a local network of support for service members and their families.

– Connected to a Defense Community – Candidates should have a connection to a defense community, region or state through their job or a volunteer role, and have a strong desire to expand their leadership role.

– Interest in Connecting to Other Leaders – Participants should have an interest in connecting to community leaders from around the country at the academy and afterward, and serving as mentors for future community leaders.

– Diverse Backgrounds – We are seeking a dynamic group of participants for the second year of the academy that represents the diversity of defense communities.


– Must complete the full application and submit by the due date.

– Must be available to travel to Washington, D.C., for the academy on September 23-25, 2019. Travel may need to occur on days before or after the event dates.

– Must be connected to a defense community organization in some role, including volunteer or employment.

– Must be able to cover incidental travel expenses, including airport transportation, parking, bag fees, and meals not provided.-

– You are connected to an ADC-member organization or can have a member organization endorse your application (contact ADC to identify member organizations).

– Be able to participate in pre-academy assignments and post-academy engagement.


The Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center
901 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005


The Defense Community Leadership Academy is grant funded by Booz Allen Hamilton, the Defense Credit Union Council and USAA.


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