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cadet blogs

Intelligence at the Academy

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link   All Posts
Tousignant Photo There are several opportunities to study intelligence at the Academy. There is the Security Studies track in the Government major, which helps students gain an understanding of intelligence basics as well as determine whether they want to pursue an intel career. Our main intelligence classes at the Academy are Intelligence and Democracy and Strategic Intelligence. In those classes I have had the opportunity to learn about the different types of intelligence such as IMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, etc. We have also discussed the problems of biases that affect intelligence products such as mirror imaging and group think. The main thing I have learned through my intelligence classes is the importance of analysis and exploitation.


As an elective I am currently taking a GIS course in the marine and environmental sciences (MES) department, which is essentially taking data and overlaying it on a map using the computer. I would suggest taking this class for anyone that wants to go into the intelligence field because you can learn how to create heat and density maps and other useful visuals that convey your intelligence products to the rest of the Coast Guard. I also recommend taking the intro to Arabic course at Connecticut College. The management department offers a class in cyber security and a capstone complimenting this course. Also, going through the electrical engineering (EE) department is another way to gain useful skills for intelligence; EE students have received internships with the NSA and other government departments working with intelligence. There are intelligence internships offered over 1/c summer that expose cadets to real Coast Guard intel and help foster understanding of the different intel paths that are available.


There are different ways to get involved in intelligence, and you do not have to necessarily be a government major to do so. In the fleet I have met intelligence officers who were ORCA majors, EE, or MES majors. It depends on the skillset you have and how you want to approach the field of intelligence. If you want to understand why adversaries act the way they do and get exposure to a language, then the Government major would be best suited for you. If you would like to do a lot of data analysis then you may want to look into ORCA. If you are more interested in cyber security, then the EE department would be best. There are currently a couple of positions being offered for cyber coming right out of the Academy. However, unlike other service academies, you cannot become an intelligence officer right away; this is because the Coast Guard wants us all to get an understanding of the operational side. Once you have an understanding of law enforcement operations, then you will have a basic understanding of what intelligence is needed in order to better support the mission.


More about Jackie.