Career AdviceObtaining Security Clearance

ROTC for Spies?

A June 20, 2009 article at reported, 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.

Under the sponsorship of the Director of National Intelligence the new program would expand on two earlier educational programs and focus on first- and second-generation Americans with language and cultural knowledge. Candidates would be selected from among sophomores and juniors at participating schools and would receive financial assistance similar to the support given to those in ROTC, plus paid summer internships. Participation in the program would obligate the student to serve in an IC agency for a period of time based on the financial assistance they received. The intelligence community (IC) currently provides funding to 14 colleges and universities for programs in national security studies.

Comment Archive

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    I read about this the other day and my initial reaction is this- what a good way for our intelligence community to be compromised by foreign service operatives. I am not thinking that it’s such a good idea…

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    I see no problem with second-generation immigrants–those born in the U.S. whose parent were immigrants. I served in Japan with many second-generation (nisei) Army CIC agents. There was never any question of their loyalty to the United States. I think first-generation is more problematic and it depends alot on their age when they came to the U.S. and the strength of ties they and their family may have to their native country.

    I like the concept of a program similar to ROTC for the IC.

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    I guess my concerns lie with the way they are proposing to implement this program. I don’t know how they’d be able to weed out operatives and I don’t know how they’d be able to keep a persons involvement in the program a secret.

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    I’m not to convinced we should spend more money. No way do I mean this in a disrespectful way, but Intel folks in the IC world are kinda a “Dime A Dozen” so why re-invent the wheel. If anything, we should invest the money in the folks who have already served the country in the Armed Forces and put them through more training.

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    I went through a year of Korean language training at the Defense Language Institute. Even though I knew Japanese before I got there, it was the toughest academic year of my life. I spent the following year in Korea, but my language ability still wasn’t anywhere near the fluency of one of my coworkers who born in Korea and adopted by an American family when he was 8 years old.

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    I am fluent enough to order a beer in many areas around the globe. I was gonna learn to order food, but figured I needed to stick with the important items. 🙂

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    Sounds like a great idea to me. I went through Army ROTC and saw a couple fellow cadets receive a commission as Military Intelligence 2LTs. The Army gets 75% of their officers from ROTC, including the MI branch. They’re not compromised so I don’t think an Intelligence ROTC would be either.