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National Security Intelligence Professional Education: A Map of U.S. Civilian University Programs and Competencies Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationNational Security Intelligence Professional Education:A Map of U.S. Civilian University Programs and Competencies This study explores national security intelligence education within U.S. civilian universities. Intelligence education is of interest to higher education institutions, as signaled by the rapid increase of "intelligence studies" programs across the U.S. since September 11, 2001. That presumably well-educated analysts could fail to anticipate and avert the attacks, and fail again in confirming weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, awakened concern in the intelligence and higher education communities that somehow America's educational process had failed to prepare intelligence officers to address such issues effectively. The research addressed whether the burgeoning numbers of intelligence education programs are appropriately augmenting the existing variety of liberal arts programs in U.S. civilian colleges and universities in educating potential future national-level government intelligence professionals. In qualitative research relying on a grounded theory approach, the researcher examined the educational experience of recent hires in the Intelligence Community (IC), gathered original views and recommendations of senior government intelligence practitioners and observers, and developed a database of course and program offerings in prominent civilian institutions of higher education in the U.S. Data from these sources were assessed in light of core competencies for intelligence analysts developed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The researcher found that new hires had typically not pursued an intelligence studies path but rather a liberal arts program. Most applauded the idea of university intelligence courses but see such a specialized curriculum as more appropriate for graduate-level education once intelligence professionals are more settled in their careers. Subject matter experts generally concurred and expressed concern about program quality. The implication is that intelligence education programs are useful in times of crisis when many bright analysts are needed quickly, but the great expansion of such programs is not merited and raises questions of deficiencies in self-assessment. A detailed written survey of universities across the nation is recommended, and a prototype of the survey is offered to ODNI for follow-up. ODNI can thus help shape the preparation of individuals who are sufficiently prepared for the myriad challenges they will face as key players in the IC of the 21st century.

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