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“Motivate, Enable, Mentor”
A. Denis Clift
Joint Military Intelligence College
Intelligence Science Board
Panel on Excellence
September 20, 2005
This past May, Hewlett-Packard’s former President and CEO Carly Fiorina gave the commencement address at North Carolina A & T University . She opened with the line: “My fellow job seekers!” … and toward the conclusion of her address she told the graduating class, “Living life defined by your own sense of possibility, not by others notions of limitations, is the path to success.”
Her words brought to mind words written by the cartoonist Walt Kelly, creator of Pogo, reflecting on his role and his life in 1959: “It has always seemed to me that the greatest loss a human being can suffer is his chance at life. I don’t mean loss of life itself,” he wrote, …”The loss of the chance at living a life fully is what I am talking about.”
The prospects of careers in intelligence are of great interest to many of the fellow job seekers, the generation now graduating from College, and a good percentage enter the work of intelligence with the goal of living their lives fully. The College I am privileged to lead contributes with remarkable success to attracting talented people, making a major contribution to their professional development, with resultant increases in retention, and the rise to leadership of men and women, civilian and military, across the intelligence community. The College motivates, enables, and mentors – motivate, enable, mentor – words, I would suggest that offer a formula for success with the intelligence work force of this early 21 st century. What I wish to do in the next few minutes is to look at the broader lessons that can be taken from the College as a case study.
The President’s WMD Commission, in its report published earlier this year, wrote: “The Joint Military Intelligence College … currently operates a very successful program – a structured intermediate/advanced curriculum for Intelligence Community Officers across the Community.”
MOTIVATE. How do we attract talented people? What motivates them to come to the College? Let’s start with the new generation of civilians entering the intelligence work force. In partnership with DIA’s Office of Human Capital, we tell seniors at Colleges and Universities across the nation that if they have the talents the work of intelligence is looking for, and if they can be cleared and are admitted by the Joint Military Intelligence College, DIA will hire them, fully salaried, all benefits, and they will spend their first year earning their Master’s degree at the College.
This Intelligence Community Scholars program is bringing incredibly talented, smart, diverse, multilingual men and women into intelligence. We are betting they will want to stay; they do not have required years of payback. The results thus far are splendid. Next week, the Class of 2006 will hear and interact with a panel on the Ethics of Interrogation – Do the Ends Justify the Means. One member of the panel will be an IC Scholar alumna of the Master’s program, who graduated two years ago. Her classified thesis was on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo . She had traveled to Guantanamo , interviewed interrogators and analysts as part of her research. That research is now contributing directly to the work of this Intelligence Science Board. That young woman is on the rise.
How do we attract talented people? In addition to the one-year, in-residence Master’s program, we offer the graduate degree in several different part-time formats. We are sensitive to the different needs and different work situations of intelligence professionals seeking the graduate degree as part of their professional development.
Five years ago, a Congressional staff member in the monthly/reserve format Master's program called on me after he received his degree. A Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Reserves, he had graduated from the Naval Academy , been a Marshall Scholar, and earned a Master’s at Oxford . “I want you to know,” he told me, “that this degree program is far more rigorous and the education far better than that I received at Oxford .” Key findings in his thesis were incorporated by the Congress into new non-proliferation legislation six months after his graduation.
What attracts talented people? What motivates men and women in uniform to come to the College? Let’s start with the incredibly capable and talented non-commissioned officers who are intelligence specialists – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. The College is the only accredited institution of higher education where they can earn a graduate or undergraduate degree in their field of professional military education sponsored by the Department of Defense.
Why are officers attracted, motivated? In 2003, the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force designated the Joint Military Intelligence College as one of the in-residence Master’s degree institutions for Air Force Majors on the Intermediate Developmental Education list.
The Army has informed all officers aspiring to Functional Area 34 certification as strategic intelligence analysts that they must complete the post-graduate intelligence program at the College. With the Master’s degree and 12 weeks of Army-specific command and general staff education, these officers receive Military Education Level Four certification.
Almost without exception, for Coast Guard Officers wanting to enter that service’s new, formal field of intelligence, the College’s Master’s degree is a requirement.
ENABLE. Once these students are in the College, it is our responsibility to enable them to take maximum advantage of the expanding education and research opportunities available to them. We start with the understanding that coming as they do from across the Armed Services and intelligence and law enforcement communities they will learn from one another. Accordingly, we mix men and women, civilian and uniformed in professionally diverse teams, or tracks, that will work together throughout the year. In the process, we are building intelligence-community-wide camaraderie.
We have increased our fulltime faculty by more than one-third over the past three years exercising a very high standard for faculty selection. We are expanding our specialized courses, and offering concentrations of new courses.
We have proposed to Dr. Haseltine and Dr. Nolte that the College provide the headquarters for a new Director of National Intelligence science and technology research faculty. Such a faculty would help the nation to rekindle and restore the excitement of scientific discovery in intelligence, and to teach and conduct research on the contributions of science and technology to U.S. intelligence and to U.S. intelligence capabilities about the S&T capabilities of others.
We work with our Master’s students, literally from the first week of their arrival, on choice of subject for Master’s theses. Four days ago we had a research fair for the students with representatives from more than two dozen intelligence and defense organizations coming to discuss potential research topics. Our understanding with these organizations is that they will open their doors and other doors to a student doing research on one of their proposed topics.
We maintain a field research budget, quite extraordinary for a Master’s level institution, which enables our students to design and have approved proposals for prime research across the nation and around the world during the two-week breaks between quarters and at the conclusion of the spring quarter.
We stay in touch with the service intelligence chiefs and the directors of the national agencies reminding them that our graduate students and our research fellows are their research force multipliers.
MENTOR. At the same time that we motivate and enable, we provide our students and fellows with mentors. This summer, the College offered a 10-week total - immersion post-baccalaureate certificate course on counter-terrorism analysis. It was immediately fully subscribed with analysts from 11 different intelligence community organizations. In the first of the three stages of the course – which ultimately would have competitive analytic teams addressing alternate futures for Hezbollah – in the first three weeks, the after hours readings were a book a night. At the end of the course, one of the students thanked the faculty for the book load.” You guided us so carefully; you prepared us so carefully to address this difficult subject. I only wish my own office would give me time to read into a new subject, before throwing the day to day tasks at me.”
Each graduate student has a committee reader and a thesis chair for his or her research. We find a number of alumni stay in touch with these readers and chairs, as well as with other members of the faculty. There is respect for them as mentors. There is a comfortable professional relationship in which advice is sought both on tasks at hand and broader career considerations. In the new generation of Americans that has entered the intelligence workplace there is a hunger for mentors and for guidance.
There is an expectation of success at the College. During the orientation period before the first day of classes, we start a process of ensuring that each student has the most desirable, best possible onward assignment. For the students on active duty, this involves discussions and planning with Service personnel specialists and senior service advisors. Three years ago, based on our early learning curve with the young intelligence community scholars, we added a senior civilian service adviser – to serve as their mentor, to serve as their assignment and career adviser. The scholars loved their work at the college. They were unhappy with relative indifference and lack of responsiveness of the DIA personnel system. Within months, the Director DIA advised DIA personnel that henceforth the College would have the lead in the onward placement of the scholars. It is a professional joy to see these young men and women on the rise. They are motivated; they have been enabled; they have mentors.
This page was last updated January 25, 2013.