Security And Intelligence Studies Programs Provide A Solid Intelligence EducationSecurity And Intelligence Studies Programs Provide A Solid Intelligence Education

Intelligence education has always been one avenue through which individuals prepared themselves for a career in the U.S. Intelligence Community. The rise in international instability over the past decade as well as the increasingly visible presence of terrorism as it affects the United States, however, has led to a proliferation of security and intelligence studies programs. These programs were created in part to prepare individuals for a career in the intelligence field, whether this includes working for a government agency, or in some other capacity such as federal law enforcement or corporate security. While some programs provide more of a historical or theoretical approach to intelligence studies, others offer specific, tactical training in intelligence gathering and methods. While both types of programs are important, individuals should seek out those programs which also provide some focus on current events in order to obtain a well-rounded intelligence education. This article provides an overview of security and intelligence studies programs and then lays out the importance of incorporating "real world" analysis of current events.

Security and intelligence studies programs

Traditional security and intelligence studies programs focus on the theories and history of intelligence as well as the analytical tools involved in intelligence gathering and/or analysis. Security and intelligence studies include the art and science of how individuals within the intelligence field use operational and analytical tools to achieve their specific objectives - namely to provide intelligence materials by which policymakers make decisions. Intelligence programs include detailed information on a wide variety of topics - collection, counterintelligence, covert action, and analysis, among other areas. The U.S. Intelligence Community as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies and private security firms need individuals who have expertise in either analytic tradecraft or analysis. These experts must have a significant understanding of U.S. national security and how it can be threatened by state and non-state actors. Continued development of solid intelligence education programs is vital for the Intelligence Community to stay ahead of the game.

Importance of incorporating current events analysis

For security and intelligence studies programs to be truly effective, however, they should incorporate a study of current events and some "real-world" analysis into their training programs. Simply studying theories or learning tradecraft and tools in a vacuum would be a disservice to students as they could have a hard time in applying these tools and theories without first understanding their practical application. By combining an education in theories and tools with an application to real world circumstances and relevant material, intelligence education programs will enable students to better envision the purpose of these tools. These students will therefore be better prepared to work as analysts or operatives in the future. Take, for example, the current government protests spanning the Middle East, from Egypt to Tunisia. Students in intelligence programs could utilize the tools they have learned in class to conduct threat assessments and analyses of the political leaders or other actors, such as the militaries of these countries. Such an analysis would be a great exercise with which a student could use to compare to the "real world" as the situation and resulting policy decisions ensue.

Over the past decade security and intelligence studies programs have definitely provided the Intelligence Community with individuals who are prepared for a career in intelligence analysis or gathering. While these programs encompass a wide variety of educational tools and methods, one could argue that incorporating "real world" analysis of current events provides a practical application of these methods and thus better prepares students by helping them make sense of the constantly changing international political scene.
by Daniel Sommer
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Dan Sommer works for Henley-Putnam University, a leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security. For more info on Henley-Putnam University, security and intelligence studies, intelligence education, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at
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