The Home School Court Report
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May / June 2004

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"Intelligence" takes on new meaning

Students studying in the newest program at Patrick Henry College do not usually wear trench coats and dark glasses. You will not see them cruising around campus in bullet-proof, rocket-equipped sports cars. And they do not drink martinis—shaken, stirred, or otherwise. But students enrolled in PHC's new Strategic Intelligence (SI) track are learning all about what it takes to join the nation's first line of defense—the American intelligence community.

Strategic Intelligence at PHC is no simple "spy major." It is a serious, academically rigorous curriculum encompassing a range of intellectual and practical skills. Students in the program study intelligence-related fields including intelligence analysis, investigative techniques, open source data exploitation, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, and information dissemination.

SI majors check out activities at the FBI Traning Academy in Quantico, Virginia
Since its inception in the fall of 2003, the SI track (one of three possible concentrations within Patrick Henry's Government major) has attracted some of the best students at PHC, a school which already draws some of the finest young students in the country. And interest among prospective applicants seems high indeed. "We are already seeing a substantial pool of applicants to this program," said SI Director and Government Department Chairman Robert Stacey. "High school students in the homeschool movement and in the Christian community tend to be patriotic young men and women of high moral character and clean backgrounds. These are just the sort of people we want to train and disperse into the intelligence community."

The stated goal of the SI program is to prepare graduates for meaningful careers in the intelligence community (Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, etc.), domestic counter-terrorism and law enforcement (including the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and diplomacy (such as the foreign service and the State Department). These graduates will eventually work their way into positions to positively influence and shape this increasingly important part of our culture. Since the widespread proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the tragedy of 9/11, the need for more and better information about our would-be enemies is greater than ever.

In just a few short months, the inaugural group of SI students already has a lot to write home about. In the fall semester, SI students toured some of the most secure intelligence facilities in the entire United States (as per our agreements, we may not disclose the names of these three-letter agencies), and they were invited to observe training exercises at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. One trip into Washington, D.C., included a stop at the National Cryptological Museum, where students were allowed to handle a World War II-era Enigma decoding machine. Top-flight guest speakers have come to campus as well, ranging from the chief of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to a career diplomat from the U.S. Foreign Service.

Of course an excellent education is more than just observing; it also includes doing. So, like all majors and tracks at PHC, the SI track includes a substantial apprenticeship component, and IFP apprenticeships can be some of the most exciting at PHC. Senior Andrew Z. spent part of his spring semester riding in police cruisers and observing special operations with the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office. Fellow senior Missy H. oversees a team of SI students producing the Border Security Alert—a weekly digest of all major drug, immigration, and security incidents at America's border crossings. The digest, produced entirely by Patrick Henry students, is distributed by subscription to national security professionals and is available to the intelligence and law enforcement communities through a classified network. Other student apprenticeship projects have examined the patterns of suicide bombers in the Middle East, the developing relationship between the Latin American terrorist group FARC and the Irish Republican Army, and the worldwide proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to name just a few.

These students have traded in the trench coats and bow-tie cameras for laptops and analytical software. Though not exactly the stuff of James Bond films, the Strategic Intelligence track at Patrick Henry College is educating students for a career that makes a difference.

Note: High school students interested in the intelligence field can visit for more information about Patrick Henry College's Strategic Intelligence track.