On April 11, 2014, the California State University Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (CSU-ACE) held its 8th annual colloquium. The Colloquium hosted some 150 people, with students and faculty from seven different universities (including CSUs San Bernardino, Fullerton, Long Beach, Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, and two local, private universities: the University of Redlands, and Azusa Pacific University. Over a dozen federal and local agency representatives along with representatives from a private company also attended.
Before the official opening of ceremonies, our senior CIA Directorate of Intelligence liaison held an intelligence “crisis” simulation for about 25 undergraduates from the several campuses. Students were required to work in teams to analyze a potential conflict that could affect U.S. interests and then brief our liaison about the situation.
Opening the ceremonies, Dr. Mark T. Clark, Director of National Security Studies, spoke of some new developments and recent student successes. First, he announced that he and a colleague with the Information and Decision Sciences department were awarded a 3 year National Science Foundation “capacity building” grant to develop two new degrees in Cyber Security and Intelligence Analysis: a B.S., which will be housed in the College of Business Administration and an M.S. degree, offered alongside the M.A. degree in National Security Studies. The B.S. degree will start next Fall and the M.S. degree later in the Academic Year. Interest among students and potential employers is already in evidence.
This year, quite a few students have obtained conditional offers of employment (COEs) and offers for summer internships at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and private companies and other agencies, including some for our National Labs. In addition, the National Nuclear Security Administration awarded a prestigious 2-year Graduate Fellowship to one of our students. The grant will fund 12 students to pursue summer intensive critical language training in Arabic, Farsi, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin and Russian. And 8 students will attend the Defense Intelligence Agency’s seminars this summer.
The colloquium then featured two student presentations. The first, the African Cyber Security Challenge Project, completed in Fall 2013’s PSCI 590: Terrorism in Africa course, featured an analysis of cyber security in Africa, as well as an explanation of the project’s methodology and challenges. The second presentation, from the winter PSCI 621: Strategic Intelligence seminar, featured an analysis on the likelihood of an al-Qaeda attack on U.S. homeland this coming September 2014. A question and answer session followed each presentation.
After a break for lunch, students and faculty reassembled for an Intelligence Community career panel. Representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, State Department, United States Naval Intelligence, and the Government Accountability Office hosted the information session. Although not on the panel, a representative from the Los Angeles Police Department and a private Cyber Security company, Mandiant, attended as well. In addition to careers in the respective services, representatives also talked about the security process and common hindrances to successfully landed such a career. Following the discussion panel, students had the opportunity to meet with the representatives one on one to discuss specific questions related to the student’s career goals.