We train intelligence professionals

Posted by Trinity Klomparens on 3/11/24 8:36 AM

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Professor John Bauer, who began teaching for PHC following his retirement from the Pentagon, currently teaches the bedrock intelligence course Intelligence Research & Analysis (IRA), a class that prepares students in tradecraft and critical thinking.

Strategic Intelligence

Professor Bauer’s goal in teaching IRA is to prepare students to serve the Lord faithfully and effectively in their calling as intelligence professionals. In the intelligence world, research is a subset of what is called Analysis and Production (A&P). Thus, the class focuses on the process of obtaining intelligence research, which includes far more than just “finding facts.”

The process includes inferential and deductive reasoning; it requires a  unique writing style for intelligence and final intelligence designs that meet the specific policy needs of "the customer." “We are always mindful, too, of the need for spiritual and biblical integration with our work,” Bauer said. “So we devote weekly time to deep exploration of worldviews and cultures.”

Spiritual and biblical integration in intelligence

The class is structured around three primary themes, which stem from the class’s three core textbooks.

  1. First, Professor Bauer teaches students the principles of good strategic analysis—what it is, how to develop it, and how leaders, policymakers, and strategists use it to make better decisions and plans.

  2. In the second section of the class, students learn to apply Structured Analytic Techniques, which are designed to make analysis more systematic, transparent, and reviewable.

  3. Finally, the class covers cognitive biases. Many such biases are subconscious but can distort intelligence analysis and cause serious intelligence failures.

Applying Structured Analytic Techniques to a current strategic issue is the capstone project of the course; this project requires students to apply the best methods learned during the semester.

Professor John Bauer teaching IRA

“I have followed the history of Patrick Henry College since it was founded, so I knew the school was academically and biblically centered, but I was (and am) amazed by the students here,” Bauer said. “I believe in them because I can see God working in their hearts and lives. I can hardly wait to see where He takes them when they graduate.”

Students who take the course will learn the foundational skills necessary for an intelligence career. Many Strategic Intelligence graduates are likely to enter the technical or administrative side of intelligence work, but they still need to know how to analyze intelligence and how to produce it. IRA prepares students for just that. They will need to know how to produce finished intelligence products and deliver intelligence briefings, two skills practiced continuously throughout the course.

Learn more about the SI major!

Like most classes at PHC, IRA requires students to apply intellect, discipline, and organization. It requires students to collaborate extensively for complex assignments, and teamwork is essential to success. “All students need these skills after PHC no matter what their vocation or calling,” Bauer said.

Strategic Intelligence CTA


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


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