FBI Academy Classes and Curriculum

June 20, 2014

Training is underway for new special agents and intelligence analysts at the FBI Academy at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.

Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: Training is underway for new special agents and intelligence analysts at the FBI Academy at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau, and coming up on Inside the FBI...

Hear what FBI Director James Comey told the new trainees…

And learn why these classes can claim to be the “first” in so many ways.

Before we go there, though, the Bureau’s Training Division operates the FBI Academy and is dedicated to being the world’s premier law enforcement learning and research center. Owen Harris is the assistant director of the Training Division…

Owen Harris: I view the Training Division as training the next generation of the defenders of the Constitution. And these are our future leaders of our organization.

Halpern: In addition to providing training to new agents and analysts, the division also runs courses for law enforcement partners from America and overseas. In fact, in the last nine months, about 500 classes were held at the Academy.

The classes going on right now, however, are the first ones for new special agents and intelligence analysts since July of 2013, because the FBI was under a hiring freeze during sequestration. As of the first week of June 2014, 46 aspiring FBI special agents started their 20 weeks of basic training. And another 28 hopefuls began their 10-week training course as intelligence analysts.

Harris: Employees come in with different skill sets, different backgrounds, law degrees, people from the military, people from the private sector, advanced degrees, some of these students speak multiple languages. But that is actually more the norm these days than not.

Halpern: The students are a diverse group but they share a desire to serve America through the FBI. And who better to inform them what is expected of them than the FBI Director himself? Director Comey recently spoke before the trainees in an unannounced visit to Quantico. He outlined many requirements but highlighted one of the words in the FBI’s motto of Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity….

James Comey: Because I believe integrity is, at bottom, the one essential of the FBI, it has to be part of our culture through and through. I thought it important to stress it right at the beginning, to make sure that this is something the boss cares passionately about.

Halpern: These are the first new agent and intelligence analyst trainees for Director Comey, who is nine months into his 10-year tenure. He hopes they’ll be the ones to begin a cultural transformation within the FBI where special agents and intelligence analysts work seamlessly side-by-side in the field. When the two careers complement each other, it makes the FBI stronger as an organization. The Training Division has developed a new integrated curriculum that will teach them exactly how to achieve that teamwork. AD Harris says it’s like the old adage, “Train how you fight and you’ll fight how you train.”

Harris: Coming from the field office, having been a special agent, an assistant special agent in charge, a special agent in charge, I see the value where agents and analysts are working seamlessly together. I always look—what can we do better? My team and I really took a hard look at what we were training new agents and intelligence analysts, how we were training new agents and intelligence analysts, and, really, are we preparing them to meet the demands and the threats of today as well as the threats of tomorrow that’s to come?

Halpern: The two classes will come together in areas necessary for both agents and analysts.

Harris: So for example, legal classes: The Constitution applies to everyone. It’s paramount that the new agents and the intelligence analysts understand the Constitution and what the authorities are of the organization. One of our core values—rigorous obedience to the Constitution. So there’s no need why you need to separate them to have that discussion with them.

Halpern: The two groups of trainees will also be in one classroom for new courses such as fundamentals of threat analysis, critical thinking, ethics, and more. The majority of the classes, however, will remain separate to address the specific roles of each position.

Harris: Where the agents are learning their law enforcement skills, firearms, practical applications, defensive tactics, and the like; whereas the analysts are learning strategic analysis, briefings, reports writing, and skills like that.

Halpern: The integrated curriculum initiative is ongoing; additional classes are being developed.

Harris: It will continue to evolve—just like the organization has to continue to evolve—to make sure we’re ready to face tomorrow’s threats.

Halpern: Thanks for listening to Inside the FBI. For more podcasts like this one, visit www.fbi.gov.

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