Recruiters from the CIA conducted an analytic simulation at The Catholic University of America in which 22 undergraduates acted as intelligence analysts during a mock health crisis in a fictional foreign country.
The students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, received news and intelligence reports about a deadly disease outbreak in an unstable country neighboring a notional U.S. trading partner during the April 26 simulation. Working in small teams, they identified intelligence gaps, tasked collection resources, and prepared short analytic reports and briefings for U.S. policymakers.
As the crisis unfolded, the student analysts had to grapple with new and sometimes contradictory information, identify U.S. interests in the situation, and consider opportunities for decision makers to respond.
Ten of the 22 students who participated in the simulation are currently enrolled in courses in the University’s Intelligence Studies Program, which now offers a certificate. Earlier this semester, nine of them visited CIA headquarters in Fairfax, Va., on a field trip arranged by Nicholas Dujmovic, program director, visiting assistant professor, and recently retired CIA officer and historian.
Most of the students at the event said they intend to apply for positions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
A freshman noted that he valued the simulation experience as “an essential opportunity to understand the daily life of an intelligence analyst.” A junior politics major said that she enjoyed the intellectual exercise of figuring out the ground truth (information gathered through direct observation) on a rapidly developing situation on which information was incomplete and then using carefully crafted language to express what was known, what was unknown, and what it meant.
Dujmovic noted that the CIA recruiters, both longtime intelligence analysts, said that they were impressed by the caliber of students at Catholic University and they look forward to a return visit.
For more information on the Intelligence Studies Program and the Certificate in Intelligence Studies, email firstname.lastname@example.org .