What it is and how you can use it.

Intelligence Studies works with information that may not be authoritative or reliable, that may actually be deceptive, and lacks context for purposes of national security or competitive intelligence.


By focusing on the critical thinking skills of evaluation, students learn to collect and critique the perspectives, biases, and contexts of sources before utilizing them for analysis. Students utilize standard analytical tools to discern the cognitive biases of intelligence collectors, other analysts, decision-makers, and even themselves in circumstances when time is short and information is lacking. Analysis and delivery of intelligence require distinguishing categories of information through metadata and visualization.


Because collecting information is not a value-free activity, students must recognize the legal and ethical issues surrounding surveillance, moles, terrorists, national security, and data collection for more benign purposes such as marketing, social science, and humanities research.


Intelligence Studies also requires the mastering of writing for decision-makers, requiring students to write prose that can be easily read and digested.

Since 9/11, the fields of intelligence and security have exploded. Students with even a minor in intelligence studies can expect job opportunities in the federal government, military, or with private government contractors. There also is a high demand for intelligence positions for students with a minor in intelligence studies and  majors such as computer science, informatics, or foreign languages.


The Gartner Group, a marketing, market research, and advisory firm providing information technology-related insight, predicted the area of intelligence about cyber threats—such as the work performed by iSight, a private company—will continue to grow rapidly. In the fall of 2015, the number of jobs listed under the heading “intelligence analyst” on Indeed.com, a web-site specializing primarily in private industry jobs, were in excess of 22,000. USAjobs.gov, a website specifically for government jobs, listed numerous jobs in intelligence.  The field is growing.


Combined with language and culture studies, particularly those offered by the School of Global and International Studies, students would be well-suited for careers within the intelligence community or with contractors for the intelligence community, or with private industry in competitive intelligence, protecting corporations against corporate and industrial espionage.

Intelligence Courses

How would you know if the zombie apocalypse was really here? Did you believe that mermaids were real after you saw “Mermaids: The Body Found” on Animal Planet? Is James Bond a spy or a covert operations agent? How would you keep the government from snooping on you? Ever wonder how to imbed a listening device into a cat? How do you crash a web site? Who is Anonymous? What is the “Information Age”? How would you use social media to analyze a war or your friends’ behavior?

Intelligence analysis takes information from many different sources—along with the deficiencies and biases of those sources, combines it with historical, political, technical, social, ideological, economic, and religious knowledge, and uses analytic methods to create background and recommendations for decision makers. The analytic techniques used are qualitative resembling methods used in business for project management and problem solving. Brainstorming, visualization, scenario building, and hypothesis generation are a few of the structured analytic techniques used by the U.S. intelligence community.

After World War II the Soviet Union went dark. They changed all their encryptions, closed their borders, and made gathering information nearly impossible. Once they tested a nuclear weapon, it became imperative for the U.S. and its European allies to see into Soviet territory to count missiles, tanks, and industrial power. The U.S. put a very large portion of its industrial power and will into figuring out how to collect actionable information: intelligence. Very different from HUMINT, human intelligence, this information is collected by sensors and interpreted by computers to give us a full spectrum of senses for analysis, recommendations, and decisions. Satellites and drones are only two examples of the platforms developed specifically for gathering technical information.

This course is designed for the non-technical student to explore the powerful and remarkable use of reconnaissance and surveillance technology as it is used for spying, but also for business and civilian government functions.

Z331/Z555 is an introduction to the concepts and methods of strategic intelligence. We will examine the concept from many different perspectives including competitive intelligence, strategic military intelligence, the globalization of crime, government policy, and NGOs. We will examine how the concepts of disruption, networks, systems theory, asymmetric warfare, and organizational structure have revolutionized our understanding of strategy and the intelligence required to thrive from the changes around us.

Far from being only a defensive activity counterintelligence includes disrupting adversaries’ information flow or disseminating disinformation intended to make adversaries take action contrary to their own interests. Unlike security, which is intended to simply prevent adversaries access to information, persons, objects, and territory, counterintelligence may invite the adversary in to increase knowledge of their capabilities and intentions, or to create a veil of deception to fool the enemy. Counterintelligence can be offensive as well as defensive.

America’s greatest strength is the ability of its people to convert innovative ideas into commercial success. While that entire capability can never be stolen, components of it can, particularly designs for marketable products. Just-in-time delivery, 3D printing, and instant access are some of the methods used to create success, but are also opportunities for inserting counterfeits, copying innovative designs, and transmitting trade secrets.

Theft is Industrial Espionage. Corporate Espionage includes obtaining information that will permit manipulating negotiations and trade. Not entirely illegal, knowing when energy producers refurbish their plants, or whether your competitor will manufacture pizzas are opportunities Enron and Kraft, respectively, have taken advantage of.

Countries take advantage of laws that differ by jurisdiction to create competitive advantage. Called Economic Espionage, companies in India can legally reverse engineer drugs and Russia can protect its hackers from U.S. prosecution.