Do you have questions about the Strategic Intelligence program? You’re in good company! There are lots of people just like you who are looking at our program, and the questions below are the common ones we hear. We hope that the answers below are insightful and helpful to you!
The following is a list of some of the frequently asked questions regarding the Strategic Intelligence major, answered by our program director, Dr. Gordon Middleton. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
What can I do to help prepare for a career in intelligence?
As someone interested in the Strategic Intelligence Program, what should I be doing regarding intelligence related internships?
What language should I study or which languages are of most interest to the Intelligence Community?
The languages at the top of the list from an intelligence standpoint are Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin/Beijing), Farsi, Korean, Pashto, and Russian.
Other languages are of interest, but their priority is more likely to fluctuate compared to this list. Other languages of interest include French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Hebrew, Japanese, Bahasa/Malay, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Hindustani, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu, and Urdu.
The more important point is that as you pick a geographic region or intel-related topic of interest, language and cultural studies should be an integral part of in-depth learning on these topics. In most cases, the language you study should be a supportive element, rather than the driver. The exception may be in cases where a student has learned a foreign language in the home and may approach native-speaker status, as this level is very difficult to obtain other than through extended study and travel.
For what type of intelligence careers will the PHC SI Program provide me the most preparation?
Careers in intelligence analysis are the focus of the PHC SI Program. This is due to the close association of intelligence analysis with the policy community in the U.S. Government. The relationship between the policy community and the analytic portion of the Intelligence Community provides the natural affinity of the SI Program with the overall mission of Patrick Henry College.
The SI Program prepares students for entry into all aspects of the intelligence profession, because it provides an overview of the national security intelligence function, including support to military operations, counter-intelligence, foreign military capabilities, law enforcement, and homeland security, and helps students understand the central role analysis plays within all the various intelligence mission areas. Our program includes relatively little on business intelligence.
Should I consider going into the military?
We have several PHC SI students that are on that track. We usually have at least one graduating senior that is going into military intelligence work.
The military has a lot to offer, but as with most employers it really comes down to what you want to do and how that that matches or not the environment and what they offer. I spent 28 years in the Air Force, so I am a little biased! You also need to be much in prayer and get a sense of the Lord's direction and timing for your life.
Why is there a 3.0 GPA requirement for the SI Program?
Many agencies in the Intelligence Community will not hire those with a GPA lower than a 3.0 and this is one of the major reasons for this criteria. It also provides an emphasis on the seriousness of the program and underscores that the entire experience at PHC is important to a leadership future in the intelligence profession--not just the SI courses. Especially for incoming freshman, it is very important to not get behind the curve with their studies during the first year. Trying to pull up a 2.0 GPA from the freshman year is not an easy thing to do and may delay entry to the SI Program to a point that it may not even be feasible to complete the program in four years at PHC.
When should I begin taking classes in the SI Program?
SI classes should begin in earnest starting in your sophomore year, to include INT303 History of American Intelligence. INT303 is the introductory class for the SI Program. Some students have even found it beneficial to begin SI Special Project involvement (INT460) during the summer prior to their sophomore year. There is also the opportunity to take the INT460 SI Introduction Special Project during the Spring of your freshman year to gain further insight into the SI Program and whether it is the right match for your aspirations and calling.
Should I have a LinkedIn account? Would having an account hurt my chances of getting a good job in the IC?
First, it may be good for you to secure your LinkedIn account, register for your name, but then put very, very little information up, as Colonel Middleton has done with his two publicly searchable LinkedIn accounts (here and here). That way someone else cannot pose as you.
However, you should not put Strategic Intelligence anywhere on your profile or SI Special Projects or anything that would directly connect you with intelligence or intlligence organizations on your profile at this point in your career.
Many PHC SI grads do have LinkedIn accounts. However, none of those graduates work in current, "real" intelligence for recognized intelligence organizations (e.g., CIA, FBI, or DIA). Some do business intelligence, or work for the DHS which is not as sensitive as other more traditional intelligence organizations.
You do not require a LinkedIn account to be successful in networking. Approaches using email, phone, and in person are more discreet. And most importantly, these more personal approaches cannot be tracked in 2 minutes on Google.
In conclusion, is it worth it to maintain an active LinkedIn presence? Well, that depends on what you want to do. If you desire to do private sector business intelligence or more domestic law enforcement, it may be worthwhile to have a good, complete LinkedIn presence.
It is far more worthwhile to get to know the SI students on campus, SI alumni, as well as those professionals who talk to PHC classes and occasionally speak at special events rather than to be overly informative to anyone who wants to do a Google search. LinkedIn and other social media sites are well known to foreign intelligence organizations, so don’t advertise yourself as a future intelligence officer! This will very likely harm your chances for opportunities in US intelligence – and make you a target of foreign intelligence organizations.
What credentials does one need to be qualified in your field of study?
Our SI Program is designed for each of our undergraduate students to achieve the following by their graduation from PHC:
What type of writing do you have to complete on a day-to-day basis?
Intelligence analysts may write in a variety of styles (bullet points; summary narrative; short or long analysis articles) and on a variety of topics (current events; trends; long-term analysis; leadership profiles). The writing that any individual analyst may do is largely a function of the organization they are in and its mission, and their role in the organization.
What is your preferred style of writing?
I personally tend to prefer longer, more in-depth and strategic analytic activities, but that also reflects the type of positions I’ve held in the profession.
As someone who is interested in the strategic intelligence field, what is the best way to prepare myself in the area of writing?
Get to know the intelligence 'language' as well. I would also recommend voluminous reading - on almost any subject in which you are interested - and on a broad range of international and technology developments. Read deeply AND broadly!