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  • Bruce J. Gebhardt
  • Executive Assistant Director
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • 30th Anniversary of the FBI Academy
  • Quantico, Virginia
  • July 12, 2002

Thank you, Kathleen, and thanks to all those who put together today's celebration and the excellent video perspective for us. On behalf of myself and Director Mueller, I want to extend my warmest welcome to our many distinguished guests and my thanks to all of you for joining us. Unfortunately, Director Mueller was called away to the White House at the last minute, giving me the chance to be with your today.

Let me start by offering my deepest congratulations to everyone here at the FBI Academy -- all those past and present who have made it such a tremendous success over the past three decades. Without a doubt, this Academy is one of the crown jewels of the FBI. Throughout the law enforcement community nationwide and worldwide, you just say the word, "Quantico," and people automatically think leadership and excellence. That is a tribute to all of you and the outstanding work you have done and continue to do for the Bureau and the nation.

I particularly want to thank our faculty and staff at the Academy, as well as our partners at the University of Virginia. I hear again and again from Academy graduates how much you are appreciated. The class spokespersons at the graduations, in fact, often thank you by name and quote your most memorable lines. It is truly phenomenal, and it is a reflection of the high caliber of training here at the Academy.

I also want to thank everyone on the operational side of the Academy. You do some great work for the Bureau, providing research, analysis, lab services, construction, crisis response, and library and communications support. I know you stepped up to the plate in the days and weeks following September 11, doing everything from staffing up SIOC to scouring crash sites for clues to lending a hand at overtaxed field offices. So thanks for all of your hard work and the many important services you provide to the FBI and its partners, including our colleagues at the DEA who we are proud to host here at the Academy.

And none of us should ever forget the work of the maintenance staff, the security officers, the administrative employees, and the other support professionals who keep this facility functioning at a very high level day-after-day and year-after-year.

Finally, on behalf of the FBI, this Academy, and all the past and future graduates of our National Academy program, I want to thank Captain Miller and all the graduates of 207th for their generous and moving tribute to the victims of September 11.

This anniversary, of course, falls at a time of great change for the Bureau. We have a new mission and new priorities, and we are reorganizing from top to bottom to meet these challenges. To succeed, we need the Academy to go into overdrive in the things that it does best: providing training, building partnerships, and developing leaders. Many of you here today have been Academy change agents in times past. You build a solid, professional infrastructure, then used it to adapt to new directions and responsibilities. You forged critically important relationships within the domestic and global law enforcement community. You were open to new ways of doing things. You changed curricula. You always saw it as your responsibility to build leaders for the future.

Now, the future is upon us, and we are counting on today's Academy to help take us there.

First and foremost, we need you to help us achieve the now overriding mission of the Bureau: preventing terrorist attacks. We need you to help us improve our analytic capabilities, to ground our analysts in best practices, and to guide us through the transition to new computer-based tools. The new College of Analytic Studies is a positive step forward, and I applaud you for taking the lead in getting it up and running.

We also need you to build a cadre of subject matter experts in emerging areas critical to fighting and winning the war on terror. We need you to make our training more sophisticated and more flexible through efforts like e-learning and the coming Virtual Academy. We are counting on the Lab and the new Investigative Technology Division to keep us on the cutting edge of forensic analysis, creating new tools and sharing expertise with the criminal justice community. We need to understand better the psychology of terrorists, to identify crime patterns, to analyze threats, and to devise investigative strategies. In all these areas, I ask that you look at the work you do through our new prevention lens and help us meet this important mission.

Second, as Kathleen said, we need this Academy to build even stronger partnerships throughout law enforcement. Within the walls of these buildings you help us bring down the walls that often stand between us and our partners. In this post 9-11 world, those partnerships are more valuable than ever. We live in a time when terrorists openly threaten us, when every landmark and every asset and every critical system is a target, when attacks on our homeland have gone from unthinkable to virtually inevitable. To fulfill our prevention mandate, we must work seamlessly with colleagues at every level of law enforcement, whether they work in New York City or New Delhi. We need their information and support, and they need ours. As I have said so often, the FBI in the future will only be so good as it relationships with law enforcement. And you can play a pivotal role in taking those relationships to the next level.

Third, we need you to produce more leaders -- leaders with vision, leaders who understand not only today's issues but also tomorrow's challenges. This Academy must build on its reputation as a gateway to professional development and become an educational crossroads for every member of the FBI, both Agent and support. It must be the place where we shape tomorrow's leaders, both within the FBI and throughout law enforcement. We must instill in everyone who passes through here the understanding that leadership is not a position, but a responsibility we must all shoulder as protectors of the people and guardians of democracy. More than ever, we need your help in developing leaders in our profession who are willing to make sacrifices, who are confident enough in themselves to take risks, and who never fail to act with the utmost integrity.

To succeed in these goals, of course, the FBI Academy needs more resources, both in terms of people and budget. Director Mueller recognized that fact in the second phase of our reorganization, when he proposed shifting 25 Agents to the Academy to help train new Agents. That's just a beginning. We need to get you more help. We need to reach out across the FBI and across law enforcement to continue recruiting the "best and the brightest" faculty and professional staff. We need to continue improving the facilities here. Yes, we're modernizing the firing range and building a new state-of-the-art facility for our Lab. But after thirty years, other areas are beginning to show their age. We need to make the investments needed to bring the Academy into the twenty-first century in every respect, just as we are doing across the FBI.

Today, we have the opportunity to look back and take some measure of pride in our successes and those of our predecessors. We see how far the Academy has come since it first opened its doors here three decades ago. It's my hope -- and our mutual challenge -- that another thirty years from now our successors will look back and see the same thing. With your help and hard work, they will see that the FBI Academy never rested on its laurels, that it made the sometimes hard choices necessary to fulfill its tremendous promise, and that it took the right steps to ensure that it would remain the finest institution of its kind in the world.

Thanks and God bless.

 
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