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News | Oct. 30, 2017

DIA participates in international affairs careers conference

By DIA Public Affairs

Washington, D.C.--DIA officers participated in the International Affairs Careers in the 21st Century conference held by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.

Anand Arun, a senior analyst for the Defense Combating Terrorism Center, and Col. Mark Barlow, a branch chief in the Europe-Eurasia Regional Center, were part of a panel on government international affairs careers and spoke about their experiences working at DIA and in the intelligence community. The panel also included representatives from the State Department and U.S. Trade Representative

The panel moderator began the discussion by asking Barlow to discuss one of his favorite experiences working for the Department of Defense.

“Some of my most rewarding work was in Bulgaria when I was working with their military to improve their effectiveness as a NATO partner,” Barlow said. “It was a big challenge, both from a language and capabilities perspective, but there was a desire among the younger ranks to really modernize their force.”

Arun noted his deployment to Afghanistan and his work with providing threat analysis to American embassies throughout the Middle East as highlights of his career so far, but also the unpredictability that comes with being an intelligence analyst.

“Everyday is different, you don’t necessarily know what to expect when you walk in the door each morning,” Arun said. “You can be familiar with certain regions or groups but there are always surprises, you never get bored.”

Arun also explained DIA’s mission, diverse range of customers from the president to the warfighter and briefly touched on the different civilian career fields available at DIA. Barlow discussed his experiences as a Foreign Area Officer and the different career tracks for FAOs.

When asked what skill is most important for students looking to work in intelligence or national security, Arun and Barlow both emphasized the importance of good writing.

“Someone who can write well is very critical for the international affairs field,” Barlow stated.

Arun explained how writing in the intelligence community differs from the academic world.

“[Intelligence analysis] writing is much shorter than what most recent grads are used to,” Arun said. “It is an important skill to be able to write concisely and pull out the most important facts.”

Barlow also suggested international affairs programs offer classes in project management, strategic planning and negotiation skills as a way to further prepare students for government careers.

The panel ended with a discussion on how students can get hired into the IC and national security positions. Arun and Barlow mentioned DIA hiring efforts and highlighted internship and military reserve/National Guard options for students to get a security clearance and a start in the intelligence community.

For more information on careers at DIA, click here.