Q&A with U.S. Army Major Nicholas Frazier (MSFS ‘19)

by Jessica Kosmider, MSFS '19

On November 27, Nicholas Frazier (MSFS ‘19) was promoted to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army. Major Frazier’s family, friends, and classmates joined him at Georgetown to celebrate his pinning. In an interview, Major Frazier shared his personal views about military service and its contribution to his MSFS experience.


Why did you decide to have a promotion ceremony at Georgetown?

I wanted to share this event with my MSFS colleagues and pull back the curtain on some of our unique military traditions. This promotion was special because my wife and kids were able to pin on the new rank - my last promotion was done in Baghdad. It took place outside of a truck right before going on a mission. I prefer the stateside promotion with family and friends.

Where have you served?

I've been all over: Afghanistan, Iraq, across the U.S., and multiple countries in Europe and East Asia. I'm still waiting for an opportunity to train with our military partners in Africa and South America.

What has been your favorite military experience?

Getting to jump out of airplanes on a beautiful, southeast Asian island has been my favorite experience. When the ramp on the back of the C-130 lowered to 12,000 feet in the air, all you could see was water for miles and miles.

What lessons have you learned during your service that have helped you now at MSFS?

There are three main things that I've learned in the military that have helped me in MSFS.

1) Embrace sleep deprivation. Just kidding. But seriously. There is an opportunity cost for attending all of the great events in D.C. and trying to balance your workload. Sometimes, that cost is sleep.

2) The military does a great job at emphasizing teamwork. Whether it is group projects, simulations, or papers, the ability to work well within a team has served me well at MSFS.  Within a team or organization, the skills of leading, following, and/or building teams are crucial. Most importantly, the military draws an incredibly diverse crowd of people to its ranks. The military emphasis on teamwork has helped me successfully integrate with my MSFS peers, many of whom come from varied professional backgrounds and cultures. 

3) Discipline. I know it's cliche, but the military has instilled a sense of discipline in establishing priorities. Showing up prepared and on time goes a long way.

What do you hope to gain during your time at MSFS, and how do you anticipate it helping you in your future career path?

I half-jokingly tell people that I came to Georgetown "to learn how to talk to my future bosses." The U.S. military uses jargon and acronyms that can be off-putting to outside organizations. By being exposed to a wide range U.S. and international professionals, I hope to be able to better understand international and interagency interests and better communicate U.S. military priorities in a more productive way. I think this will be particularly valuable as my growing network of MSFS peers and professors flow into and out of leadership positions across the world. I have no doubt that the personal and professional relationships made in this program will stay with me for decades.

And, finally, why did you choose MSFS? 

MSFS has an outstanding academic reputation. I have been able to tailor my program of study within the Global Politics and Security (GPS) concentration to focus on my priorities. As a mid-career officer, I am splitting my focus into two areas: future challenges for U.S. foreign policy and development of professional skills. Finally - and this cannot be overstated - D.C. is a great location for a graduate program. The number of opportunities available to students for outside internships, research, and networking is without equal.