New Graduate Degree in Security and Intelligence

In an era of increased threats to our security, a new master’s degree program in a fast-growing professional field is set to give graduates the tools to anticipate and lead responses to security threats worldwide.

Designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the field of security and intelligence, the Master of Arts in Security and Intelligence Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach that merges security, law, politics, and constitutional rights to create well-rounded security leaders.

“Northeastern University has a long history of preparing individuals for leadership roles in the justice system,” said Faculty Director Jack McDevitt, professor of the practice in criminology and criminal justice and director of Northeastern’s Institute on Race and Justice. “We believe this new degree will be the strongest program yet to prepare security professionals to confront and respond to the increasingly complex challenges facing the United States and the world.”

In a challenging global security environment that is only becoming more complex, security and intelligence-related jobs are expected to expand much more rapidly than the average occupation, according to JobsEQ, a labor market research database. The new degree will equip learners with state-of-the-art training for security roles such as intelligence analyst, special agent, information security officer, corporate security specialist and manager, criminal investigator, or fraud investigator.

Taught by a faculty of security experts with long and diverse experience—including as constitutional lawyers, White House advisors, CIA operatives, military intelligence officers and more—the program will challenge students to gain and hone a broad array of skills through experiential learning as well as classroom and remote pedagogy. Among other critical competencies, participants will learn intelligence collection and dissemination, analysis, research, threat assessment, and evaluation of information and policy development, all while focusing on the importance of civil liberties in pursuing security in civil society.

Master’s candidates in the program will have the opportunity to choose among three concentrations: Strategic Intelligence & Analysis, Homeland Security & Emergency Management, and Corporate Security Management. As they explore a specialized course of study, areas of inquiry will include: the application of current leadership theory and managerial approaches to the security domain to ensure ethical business and strategic practices; the use of historical and contemporary references to explore issues related to homeland security efforts in the US; and the evaluation of key global regions to reveal unique threats and opportunities to interrupt them.

Also emphasized will be the role agencies at all levels of government, federal, state, local as well as the private sector play to prevent and respond to both human made and natural threats.

Students may begin enrolling in the Fall 2022 term.

Phil McTigue, a Marine Who Spent Time in Afghanistan Cracking Down on the Taliban, Wonders about the Friends Left Behind

Philip McTigue has trained Afghan police officers to raid Taliban-run compounds embedded in Afghanistan’s rocky terrain; to handle specialized machine guns; and to exit a dangerous mission without leaving any team members behind.

He forged friendships with interpreters and business owners in Kabul during the late 2000s as he worked for the U.S. intelligence community. It’s those faces that McTigue, who graduated Northeastern in 2019 with a master’s degree in homeland security, has been haunted by as he watches the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the rapid collapse of the Afghan government.

3 Ways Geographic Information Technology Benefits the Intelligence Field

Geospatial intelligence is a specialized field within the broader intelligence profession. And specialized within that is the field of Geographic Information Technology (GIT), which is connected to all kinds of far-reaching intelligence ventures that have one thing in common: location, location, location.

Geographic information technology provides the means to answer the questions of What? When? and How?—in addition to Where and Why? All of these are key factors intelligence agencies need to identify, prepare, prevent, protect, respond, and recover from events.

Here are three ways geographic information technology and intelligence go hand-in-hand.

1. Improving military operations

Intelligence organizations worldwide use geographic information technology to collect, synthesize, analyze, and distribute data from multiple sources to maintain situational awareness and share information with decision makers.

Surveillance tools, such as thermal, hyper-Spectral  LIDAR, and SAR are used for information extraction to develop “intelligent” apps to track people and things; identify optimal sites and routes for combat; and target areas for investigation or intervention.

The next phase of intelligence is an immersive phase. Analysts “live in the data;” that is, they interact and experiment with data in a multimedia way, all the while knowing that geospatial answers are at their fingertips at the press of a button.

2. Managing major events

Remote sensing data (provided by satellites and air crafts) in particular provide intelligence agencies with nearly real-time information, allowing them to monitor activities, such as the Boston Marathon or a major election. Data gathered using geospatial technologies are used to make immediate decisions in reaction to events, as they unfold.

Added to that are social media-based geographic information tools and mobile data collection survey tools. An example is Ushahidi, a web-based platform for mapping information from reports from SMS, Twitter, e-mail and the web offer current-event updates. Together, they can be used to describe, interpret and anticipate the impacts of an event or action.

3. Providing analysis for international efforts

Intelligence agencies regularly use geographic information technology to spatially and historically analyze event, including the causes that lead up to a crisis. Take the water shortages (and consequent devastation) in Darfur , Sudan. GIT and intelligence could come together to assist with such conflict resolution brought about by appraising groundwater resources and proposing a solution to the conflict by providing adequate groundwater resources through geospatial research and interpretation.

Some other ways intelligence can use GIT efforts are Relief Web, a United Nations agency that provides time-critical information for humanitarian relief; UNOSAT, which delivers satellite imagery to relief groups; and World Bank’s  Poverty Mapping , a site for measuring and analyzing poverty.