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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence program?

The IC CAE is a congressionally mandated program established in 2005 to create an increased pool of culturally and ethnically diverse, multi-disciplinary job applicants for the Intelligence Community. The program provides grants to competitively selected accredited U.S. four-year colleges and universities to support the design and development of intelligence-related curricula.

On what authorities or laws are the IC CAE program based?

The IC CAE program is defined through the following:

  • FY 2010 Appropriations Act Title III, Subtitle B; SEC. 313. Intelligence Officer Training Program
  • Title 50, Chapter 15, Subchapter VII – A, Part C, Section 441p. Intelligence Officer Training Program
  • Title 50 USC § 403–1 – n. Responsibilities and authorities of the Director of National Intelligence; delegation authority

What is the mission of the IC CAE program?

The mission of the IC CAE program is to create an increased pool of culturally and ethnically diverse, multi-disciplinary job applicants for the Intelligence Community. To meet this mission, the program builds long-term partnerships with selected universities across the nation to support the development of sustainable national security and intelligence education programs which produce a cadre of qualified job applicants.

How long has the IC CAE been in existence?

Since 2005. It was originally begun at the Central Intelligence Agency, but was assumed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) shortly after it opened and remained with ODNI until September 30, 2011.

Who does the program benefit?

The IC CAE program benefits the American public, intelligence community agencies, and the schools and universities with which it works. The American public is benefited as its security is better guaranteed through the participation of people with ethnic and cultural diversity in the intelligence community. IC agencies benefit through the availability of applicants for internships and jobs who have some education about the intelligence function and have a desire to serve the public. The schools and universities benefit from having greater understanding of how the intelligence community and from the ability to assist their students in finding meaningful jobs.

What schools have participated in the IC CAE program?

(In the order of their appearance) Trinity Washington University, Clark-Atlanta University, Florida International University, Tennessee State University, Wayne State University, California State University, University of Texas-El Paso, University of Texas-Pan American, University of Washington, Norfolk State University, University of New Mexico, University of Nebraska, University of Maryland, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Pennsylvania State University, Miles College, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, Morgan State University, University of South Florida, and University of Mississippi.

How is the program funded?

The program is funded by ODNI. The program has a line item in the Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA) budget, specifically allocated for the purpose of providing grants to schools.

Who makes IC CAE program policy?

The IC CAE Senior Advisory Board (SAB), which is comprised of senior members of the Intelligence Community Agencies and includes representatives from the National Intelligence University, the US Combatant Commands (USCOCOMs), and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD(I)). This group has an official charter and business rules and meets quarterly.

What oversight is given to the IC CAE program?

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is responsible for oversight of the IC CAE program. The program also answers to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Who manages the day-to-day operations of the IC CAE Program?

The program's operations are managed by the IC CAE Program Office, located within the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Headquarters as an IC community program of common concern.

How does the IC CAE Program Office communicate with IC CAE schools and students?

Each school has a "Primary Investigator," who serves as that school's IC CAE program director. The Primary Investigator is in frequent contact with the Program Managers at the CAE Program Office, by either email or telephone. Each school receives visits from the Program Office staff at least twice a year and all Primary Investigators are invited to attend the Annual Meeting, as well as other professional development events. An unclassified, but password-protected website is also utilized for communications between the Program Office, the CAE schools and students. Currently, the site has over 130 users, including Program Office staff, students and Primary Investigators. Additionally, the IC CAE Program Office distributes the Impariamo- a quarterly newsletter- to CAE students, school Primary Investigators, the IC CAE SAB members, and it is also available on the password-protected website.

How does the IC CAE Program Office interact with the 17 US IC Agencies?

All IC Agencies are encouraged to interact with the IC CAE program through the IC CAE Senior Advisory Board (SAB), which meets quarterly.

Why should a college or university apply to be an IC CAE?

Because this grant program provides not only funding to support an intelligence education program at the institution, but also provides needed contacts and expertise to help develop such a program.

How does a university or college apply to become an IC Center for Academic Excellence?

Applications are submitted through grants.gov, responding to a Broad Agency Announcement submitted by the IC CAE Program Office. These announcements occur every few years and have been available in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2014.

What are the criteria for applying to be an IC Center for Academic Excellence?

The 2014 criteria included:

  • Being a regionally accredited, four-year United States institution of higher learning
  • Offering at least a baccalaureate level degree
  • Currently have academic programs which can serve as a foundation for an Intelligence or National Security studies certificate, major, or minor
  • Institutions with previous IC CAE grant funding will be considered
  • Have a qualified Principal Investigator named as the primary/single Point of Contact (POC); who must be employed at the applicant institution
  • Proposed Indirect Costs/F & A at or below 23.5% of allowable grant costs

Can an individual student or faculty receive grant money through this program?

No, only schools.

Is this a scholarship program?

No. There are other scholarship programs in the intelligence community, including the National Security Education Program (David L. Boren Scholarships) and the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholarship Program. Each are separate initiatives.

Is the CAE program open to schools outside the U.S.?


What are the benefits to my school of becoming an IC CAE?

IC CAE schools receive funding in support of curriculum development, faculty professional development, faculty research, student study abroad, and colloquia. The funds also support student programs and student participation in Intelligence-related conferences and seminars; as well as provides for the delivery of on-site intelligence-related workshops, simulations and practical exercises to IC CAE schools for students and faculty.

How would my school's students benefit from participating in an IC CAE program?

IC CAE students receive specialized education and experiences which increase their marketability and hire-ability into the Intelligence Community. They are also eligible to receive stipends to attend IC-related workshops, colloquia, conferences, and participation in the IC CAE Program's Summer Seminars; and have opportunities to collaboratively engage with other IC CAE students from around the country. IC CAE students also have opportunities for internships and co-op programs within the IC. Also, high-performing IC CAE students are eligible for induction into the voluntary IC CAE Distinguished Student Program; which provides access to select IC programs, conferences, and other exclusive opportunities.

How would my school's faculty benefit from participating in an IC CAE program?

IC CAE faculty are afforded opportunities to participate in IC CAE program conferences and professional development initiatives; as well as to expand their professional network through interaction with IC CAE faculty from around the country.

In what ways would the IC CAE Program Office provide support to my school's CAE program?

The IC CAE Program Office provides each school's IC CAE program with collaborative support and communication to support the achievement of program goals. The IC CAE Program Office's support to IC CAE schools includes, but is not limited to: Best Practice sharing, serves as the conduit between the IC CAE schools and the IC Agencies to assist schools in finding SMEs and colloquia speakers, deploys Program-Office funded Mobile Training Teams to IC CAE schools in support of experiential IC-related learning for students and faculty, supplies IC CAE schools with a Core Intelligence Library, works with each IC CAE school to develop specialized workplans for each institution to facilitate achievement of their respective program goals. The IC CAE Program Office also communicates student opportunities to each school's Primary Investigator, as well as distributes its quarterly Impariamo newsletter to all IC CAE program participants.

In what ways would the IC CAE Program Office provide support to my school's IC CAE students?

The IC CAE Program Office funds and deploys Mobile Training Teams to IC CAE universities in support of IC CAE students' experiential IC-related learning; and also funds IC CAE student participation in its Summer Seminars. The IC CAE Program Office also encourages and engages conversation with and among IC CAE students on its password-protected website, in addition to communicating student opportunities (internships, co-op programs, etc.) and supporting the IC CAE SAB in its oversight of the IC CAE Distinguished Student Program, which provides high-performing IC CAE students with access to select IC programs, conferences, and other exclusive opportunities.

What US Intelligence Agencies would my school's IC CAE program interact with?

The IC CAE Program is for the benefit of all US intelligence agencies and thus it interacts with all agencies as possible. The larger agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security – play key roles in the Senior Advisory Board and in events sponsored by the Program Office. Other agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence, Department of State, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Air Force, the Navy, the Army, the Marine Corps, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Treasury, the National Intelligence University, the Combatant Commands, and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, have also been active on the Advisory Board. At this time, the National Reconnaissance Agency and the Coast Guard are not participating on the Board.

Would my school's participating IC CAE students have recruitment opportunities from IC Agencies?

Yes. Schools may invite recruiters to attend events on campus or students may participate in conferences and seminars at which recruitment events are held.

How are particularly high-performing, exemplary IC CAE students recognized and rewarded?

The Senior Advisory Board has created a Distinguished Students Program for those students. They receive certificates, pins, and are invited to attend or participate in advanced programs and exclusive opportunities not afforded to other IC CAE students.

Will my school have access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), colloquia speakers/presenters, and key representatives from the IC and the IC Agencies who can participate in and support IC CAE events?

Yes, the IC CAE Program Office facilitates each IC CAE school's communication with and connection to IC and IC Agency representatives and POCs in support of IC CAE events.

Will my school's IC CAE program faculty have opportunities to engage and network with their peers from other schools' IC CAE programs?

Yes, through participation in the IC CAE Annual Meetings, Faculty Development Workshops, Colloquium and other program-related events.

What are some of the required Program Components of currently-existing IC CAE university programs?

The required Program Components of schools which were awarded grant money under the FY11 BAA called for those schools to design, develop and reshape Intelligence and National Security-Related Curricula in disciplines that align with IC mission-critical skills and competencies; to emphasize and facilitate Cultural & Regional Studies, such as Foreign Travel, Study Abroad & Foreign Language Proficiency; to host Intelligence-Related Regional Colloquia & Seminars with other academic institutions in geographic regions; to Conduct Mandatory Reporting & Assessment Evaluation to ensure Return On Investment (ROI) and to report findings in accordance with issued guidance; to conduct Intelligence & National Security-Related Research in support of building intellectual capital within interdisciplinary fields of study; and to engage in Pre-Collegiate/High School Outreach.

Are there regularly-held conferences, meetings, or other events in which the IC CAE schools will be able or required to participate?

The Program Office hosts an Annual Conference for the CAE schools which includes speakers from both the schools and IC agencies, on topics of common interest. Schools are also made aware of other professional conferences and encouraged to attend as part of their professional development.

Is a student guaranteed government employment upon degree completion at a CAE school?


How will the government use any personal or institutional information provided?

Information on student names is not maintained by the government. Information regarding events and numbers of attendees are kept in a secure database.

Will the IC provide a staff member to work on my campus if we are awarded a grant?


If given an award, can my school pick and choose which program components to implement?

No, all program components the school proposes must be implemented unless a grant modification (scope) has been requested and granted.