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NIU International Intelligence Fellows Program Facilitates Security Engagement Between Asia-Pacific Nations

By NIU Center for International Engagement

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April 7, 2014 — The National Intelligence University held the 19th iteration of the International Intelligence Fellows Program February 19 to March 7, which brought together 20 senior intelligence officials from 18 nations from the Indo-Asia Pacific region to engage on counterterrorism issues. The theme of the program was “Intelligence Support to Combating Terrorism.”

The purpose of the IIFP is to facilitate regional military and security cooperation by providing the participants with a forum to express concerns, discuss ideas, and find solutions to regional counterterrorism problems. The issues discussed during the IIFP will be formally presented at the 2014 Asia-Pacific Intelligence Chiefs Conference, an annual meeting of military intelligence chiefs from the Indo-Asia Pacific region, taking place Sept. 1 - 5 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In Washington, D.C., the fellows received a strategic overview of how the U.S. intelligence community manages counterterrorism issues by combining NIU faculty-led academic seminars and discussions with site visits to the Department of State, National Counterterrorism Center, Pentagon, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to meet with senior intelligence leaders.

During the U.S. Pacific Command portion of the course, the fellows examined how the combatant commander links national-level objectives with operational-level counterterrorism priorities. They met with senior from the PACOM Intelligence Directorate, Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and Special Operations Command Pacific.

The IIFP concluded with an executive session where the fellows discussed the impediments and opportunities in current Asia-Pacific counterterrorism cooperation. The results of this discussion will be presented at APICC’s counterterrorism plenary session to more than 25 directors of military intelligence.

The fellows identified failed past engagements, political differences, and disagreements in prioritization as elements that impede cooperation. Among their chief concerns was a lack of agility and ability in their government structures to counter the terrorist narrative.

The fellows also recognized the need to increase engagement between international partners, particularly regarding intelligence and information sharing, in order to improve counterterrorism efforts. One fellow noted that “CT is our common threat, and we have to join together to face this problem.” The fellows stressed the need for capacity building through information sharing – particularly sharing training methods, analytical processes, technology, and counter-threat financial practices. The fellows proposed establishing a working group that will address building cyber capacities and sharing technology.

The fellows noted that the most important aspect of the IIFP was hearing the variety of views on counterterrorism, gaining insight on the U.S. approach and building partnerships with other countries. One fellow said the IIFP gave him a “great strategic overview of terrorism which allowed us to network and establish relationships with foreign counterparts.” The IIFP also facilitated continued engagement between NIU and PACOM, a relationship NIU considers to be critical as the Asia-Pacific region becomes increasingly influential in international affairs.