Spying 101: Will Colleges Start Offering Intelligence Officer Training Programs?

According to The Washington Post, as part of the 2010 intelligence authorization bill, the Obama administration has proposed that colleges and universities begin intelligence officer training programs that would prepare “first- and second-generation Americans, who already have critical language and cultural knowledge” for government careers.

The proposal sent to Congress by Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair calls for colleges and universities to apply for federal funding that would be used to create or enhance courses in foreign languages, science, analysis, and other fields that would be helpful in intelligence careers.

The government has an ever-increasing need for personnel to infiltrate areas of the Middle East and South Asia, but qualified agents are difficult to find.  The Obama administration hopes that training career intelligence officers of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds from their sophomore or junior years of college can help fill that gap.

The program would be modeled largely after the the military’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC); students would be eligible for financial assistance which could include “a monthly stipend, tuition assistance, book allowances and travel expenses” as well as paid summer internships at intelligence agencies.  In turn, upon graduation, students would be obligated to work for an intelligence agency for the same amount of time they had received government assistance.

And as the students would be training for highly sensitive security positions, their identities would likely be kept secret–in true spy form.

Would you be interested in a college spy training program?

Guest post by Michelle Fabio, the About.com Guide to Law School, who also writes about online degrees in psychology at OnlineDegreesinPsychology.org.

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