Starting this fall, high school students in the State of Georgia will have the unique opportunity to take an elective course in Intelligence and National Security Studies. The course will introduce students to the field of intelligence, associated activities for gathering intelligence, roles of the U.S. intelligence community (IC), national security, intelligence boundaries and capabilities, careers in the field, and role intelligence. in decision making.
Justin Hill, associate superintendent of programs and instruction at the Georgia Department of Education, who is responsible for content areas and academic disciplines for Kindergarten to Grade 12, was the driving force behind the effort to add the course, seeing the great potential it offers for Georgia students.
With the approval of the course by the Georgia Board of Education last December, the education department will be offering the course this month, Hill reports. It will begin tracking the number of students enrolled in the class across the state, starting with select school districts in the Metro Atlanta area, including the Forsyth and Cobb County school systems.
Intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were already recruiting and providing scholarship opportunities for high school students in Georgia and the United States, Hill said. And with some universities starting to offer intelligence-related courses, major and minor, he saw a gap to be filled, not only to introduce high school students to the field of intelligence, but also to provide them with fundamental intelligence skills, if they were. choose to pursue such a career.
In addition to his civilian role as Deputy Superintendent, Hill has 22 years of naval intelligence experience and is currently the Commander of an Information Warfare Unit in the Naval Reserve. âI’m kind of in a unique role,â says Hill. âThere are probably not many curriculum directors in the other 49 states who also have parallel intelligence work. And I knew that, especially after 9/11, many universities had started to add intelligence as a minor and a major in their political science departments, and I started to wonder if we could do it at the high school level. .
The unprecedented opportunity to be able to take an introduction to U.S. intelligence and national security studies would give Georgian students a boost, providing them with a clearer path to a potentially rewarding career, he adds. âIn our case, when we care about Georgian students, we give Georgian children a competitive edge,â Hill emphasizes. “We want our kids to have a chance in some of these areas and if they wanted to take it further as undergraduates, we exposed them to intelligence early on.”
Hill’s idea for a high school class emerged after learning that two universities had added intelligence and national security studies, including a major and minor program at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, where Jon Smith is the director of intelligence and national security. Smith, who served 23 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer alongside Hill, advised him to contact Edward Mienie, executive director, Strategic Studies and Partnership Program at the University of Georgia North (UNG) in Dahlonega, Georgia, since they started. their courses on intelligence and national security in “my garden”.
The vision widened after CIA officials reached out to the state’s Global Language Education Coordinator, Patrick Wallace, to offer internships and scholarships to high school students in Georgia. âI was at that meeting with Wallace to try to help them figure out a location, and that’s when I really started to think about it more,â says Hill. âIf they recruit and set up scholarships for students, could we possibly develop a course to introduce the field itself at a very basic level? Because there are a lot of kids who are high school kids and juniors who enjoy their social studies classes, economics, world history, and US history. With intelligence being such a big field now, especially after 9/11, I wondered why do we wait for kids to accidentally find out about this industry? “
Hill formed an exploratory committee with Mienie and Dan Bubacz, a retired naval intelligence captain. After it looked promising, Hill contacted Richard Woods, the state’s superintendent of schools; Caitlin Dooley, assistant superintendent of state teaching and learning; and Joy Hatcher, head of the state’s social studies program, to begin writing a course.
âWe realized that if we were to develop a course, we knew most teachers were probably not in the intelligence industry,â he says. âWe had to take care of the training and support of certain teachers so that they felt comfortable. But they probably don’t realize how fundamental the field of intelligence is and how much they already know about it. So we developed basic standards, trying to decide what was too much. We wanted to keep it general but have enough depth for students to really explore the critical thinking aspects of the intelligence field. To study, “why is this happening” and “where is it happening”, and much more than just memorizing the 17 intelligence agencies. “
Smith, Bubacz, Mienie, Hill, and Hatcher all contributed, as did National Intelligence University (NIU) in Bethesda, Maryland, and Brian Holmes, NIU Dean of the School of Science and Technology Intelligence. Holmes also loaned one of NIU’s contract faculty members, LaMesha Craft from the MASY Group, to continue the effort. Craft, a retired U.S. Army chief warrant officer, was an all-source intelligence technician and master instructor. After 20 years of active service, she retired in 2018 from Army Cyber ââCommand, with several years of experience teaching intelligence from her deployment to Iraq in 2010.
âThe US forces in Iraq had a program where we taught Iraqi soldiers the basics of intelligence,â says Craft. âIt was my first time teaching intelligence. It was a matter of following the program, modifying it and then teaching the Iraqi soldiers through an interpreter. I also taught my comrade [U.S.] warrant officers, in training or certification programs through the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca. I have taught undergraduate students at Coastal Carolina University, where they have an undergraduate intelligence and national security curriculum. I have also taught military personnel who have taken cyberspace courses, specifically focused on how to conduct cyberspace intelligence analysis.
Craft has helped inform Georgia’s state curriculum and created reference materials for teachers. The 30 pages of Notes for Teachers posted on the Georgia Ministry of Education website will guide teachers through the basics of intelligence and provide extensive resources, identifying museums, documents, videos and sites. Web, she said.
âIt is imperative to demystify the common perception that the intelligence field is full of individuals like fictional characters James Bond, Jason Bourne, Lorraine Broughton and Ethan Hunt,â says Craft in the teacher’s notes. âIntelligence is a process – the intelligence cycle – and a product. “
Teachers will present students with an overview of the field of the intelligence career, the authorized activities of an intelligence professional, the composition of the IC, the different functions of each of the agencies, the limits and capabilities of intelligence and its role. in Government Decision Making, Craft Notes It is designed for students to apply analytical skills and critical thinking, as well as elements of intelligence history, from the pre-revolutionary period to the Civil War, to 9/11 and today.
âI identify other places across Georgia Standards where they can go back or highlight topics discussed in the intelligence class that students would have heard elsewhere in a history class or a classroom. history of the world, truly demonstrating how the history of intelligence began with the history of the United States, âshe says.
In order for interested students to begin preparing for the intelligence field, the class guides students on how to potentially obtain a security clearance; reviews citizenship requirements; clarifies the limits on drug use; and examines personal integrity and conduct, notes Craft. Getting their financial health is also important, says Hill.
In addition, Craft is the virtual specialist of the course and as such prepares monthly lectures for teachers, breaking state standards. She has created videos of the lectures and this month when the class begins she will also support a live chat to help teachers.
âIt has been a great process for me to bring in both my knowledge of intelligence and my knowledge of how to build material so that it is easily absorbed by a variety of populations, which in this case are teachers and high school students, âshe said.
And while the course was designed for high school students, freshmen or sophomores wouldn’t necessarily be barred from taking it. “But our advice is that if a child is to do well in class, they should have already taken their major social studies courses, such as geography, US history, world history, to see how you can. bring it all together, âHill States. “Because you know as well as I do that for intelligence you have to really take advantage of all these classes, and then you put them together.” “
Once we heard about the developing high school course, additional suggestions poured in from the intelligence community, especially from the Washington, DC area. “And then we had a few young analysts who said, ‘You know, when I retire, I’d love to teach that,'” Hill offers. The class provides an outlet for intelligence retirees who still want to give back to their country.
âIf we really want to approach the era of big power competition, we’re here for the long haul,â Hill notes. “And if we’re really going to be in this for the long haul, we’re really going to have to expose more Americans to the possibility of this area, because we’re going to need more of us, not less.” And a good intelligence workforce that is diverse is a workforce that represents all of America. “
For more information on the Georgia Course, visit: https://www.georgiastandards.org/Georgia-Standards/Pages/Social-Studies-Introduction-to-Intelligence-and-US-Security-Studies.aspx