The 2017 National Security Analysis and Intelligence Summer Seminar
Jarren Thomas – Eastern Kentucky University
Junior Homeland Security Major, IC CAE Scholar
My experience at the National Security Analysis and Intelligence Summer Seminar (NSAISS) was outstanding. There were approximately 40 students from universities across the nation. I was exposed to a wealth of knowledge from experienced agents from both the intelligence community and from the national security realm. In the first week, I observed presentations from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) cyber security and counter intelligence divisions, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Chile among others. The presentation on counterintelligence by the FBI was particularly interesting to me because of the sobering facts relayed; specifically the existence of potential vulnerabilities.
The seminar also included field trips to highly exclusive sites such as the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). During the trip to the DIA, I observed an exercise for analysts deploying overseas. The exercise consisted of active shooter in an office and a secondary improvised explosive device (IED) attack outside of the building. It was eye-opening to see what analysts could potentially face overseas and just how fast the event can develop. Although the CIA complex was truly admirable, the men and women who make up this organization made the trip even more meaningful. Their enthusiasm for the mission was contagious to say the least.
The second week of the seminar consisted of an intelligence analysis simulation dealing with the South China Sea. Collectively, we had to answer an intelligence question: Will conflicts in the South China Sea lead to war? We were broken up into five groups: Politics, Diplomacy/Law, Economy Environment, and Ethics, Military, and Counterterrorism. I was assigned to the Politics group where my team was responsible for analyzing all political options and consequences for American intervention in the region. As the week progressed, we all realized the importance of collaboration as well as the difficulty in analyzing large quantities of information in order to turn it into intelligence. At the end of each day, a representative from each group would brief a “policymaker” on potential options that could be taken and the corresponding consequences. The “policymaker” was played by representatives from CIA, DIA, U.S. Department of State, and the National Intelligence University.
Jarren was funded to attend the seminar through the Bluegrass State Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. This statewide consortium is comprised of several Kentucky academic institutions with an advisory board of many state intelligence representatives. For more information on the consortium and associated opportunities, visit: http://bgsiccae.eku.edu/.
For more information on the Eastern Kentucky University Homeland Security Program, visit: www.homelandsecurity.eku.edu.
Published on August 10, 2017