ROTC for spies?

Every year, the U.S. military gets loads of college grads joining its ranks who’ve already been through a fair amount of army training. This is thanks to the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program, which pays college tuition for students who sign up for the ROTC training curriculum in addition to their major, plus 4 years of post-college service.

The Obama administration thinks it’s time to start a parallel program to get the U.S.’s intelligence agencies similarly staffed. The spy training program would help agencies like the CIA and FBI find qualified new recruits already versed in basic intelligence techniques, not to mention the foreign language knowledge that U.S. intelligence agencies are currently lacking.

Spy SchoolThe program intends to tap into first and second generation Americans, whose facility with foreign languages and other cultures could prove useful to American intelligence operations abroad. The idea is to start training and preparing recruits to infiltrate countries in the Middle East and South Asia, where operations are aimed against terrorist and criminal groups.

The program would also give colleges financial incentives to offer more targeted foreign language, analysis and technical/scientific courses. Chances are that participating students will have to keep their involvement a secret, which will certainly be good training for the level of secrecy they’ll have to maintain as intelligence professionals. Interested students will have to apply to the national intelligence director for admission into the program and financial aid. Students will also have to clear a security background check.

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