‘Spy’ program gets a new home

OXFORD – If the predictions of Ole Miss officials hold true, the University of Mississippi will soon be turning out some of the nation’s next generation of intelligence agents.
The Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, whose new facility was dedicated Monday, began last year to offer a minor to develop graduates for intelligence-community specialties such as controlling spy satellites, analyzing foreign leaders and gathering on-the-ground information about the world’s hot spots.
Already, more than 100 students have taken the center’s introductory course since it began in fall 2008.
“We are quite aware of the need to address the issues that this center addresses,” said Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Khayat, adding that the university believes in the center’s relevance to the nation’s security.
“We’re going to enhance educational opportunities here at the University of Mississippi, and we’re going to make America safer at the same time,” added Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who was in Oxford for the dedication of the center’s facility, which was renovated from the former Intercollegiate Athletics administration building.

Threefold mission
The center will have a three-prong mission of education, research and consortium building, with a target of 15-18 competitively admitted students.
Its personnel will also work closely with other academic units to promote related courses: The Department of Modern Languages has, for instance, begun the state’s first intensive Arabic language program.
The first 17 students admitted to the analysis emphasis represent 12 majors and seven languages with grade-point averages competitive with medical school applicants.
“You may never hear about the accomplishments of our graduates, yet you can take solace in the fact that you and your loved ones … will be safer and more secure as a result of their efforts,” said Center Director Carl Jensen, whose background includes 22 years as an FBI special agent.
Dr. Chester Quarles, professor of criminal justice, lauded the new focus as a particular benefit in countering terrorist threats to the United States.
“With the language component they’ve put in here,” he said, “we’re going to be training some of the finest intelligence operatives in the world right here at Ole Miss.”

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/Daily Journal