Saturday, June 20, 2009

Obama Administration Looks to Colleges for Future Spies

Walter Pincus writes in The Washington Post:

To the list of collegiate types -- nerds, jocks, Greeks -- add one more: spies in training. The government is hoping they'll be hard to spot.

The Obama administration has proposed the creation of an intelligence officer training program in colleges and universities that would function much like the Reserve Officers' Training Corps run by the military services. The idea is to create a stream "of first- and second-generation Americans, who already have critical language and cultural knowledge, and prepare them for careers in the intelligence agencies," according to a description sent to Congress by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair.

In recent years, the CIA and other intelligence agencies have struggled to find qualified recruits who can work the streets of the Middle East and South Asia to penetrate terrorist groups and criminal enterprises. The proposed program is an effort to cultivate and educate a new generation of career intelligence officers from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

Under the proposal, part of the administration's 2010 intelligence authorization bill, colleges and universities would apply for grants that would be used to expand or introduce courses of study to "meet the emerging needs of the intelligence community." Those courses would include certain foreign languages, analysis and specific scientific and technical fields.

More here.


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