National Intelligence University (NIU)

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The National Intelligence University (NIU), (formerly the National Defense Intelligence College) is a federally chartered higher education and research institution designed to educate, train and prepare the United State Intelligence Community (USIC), (a group of 16 independent federal agencies that work together to carry out intelligence activities for national security), for supervisory and administration positions. Since its inception in 1963, over 82,000 personnel have participated in training courses and academic programs provided by the NIU. The National Intelligence University is located on the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washting, D.C., at the headquarters of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).


The National Intelligence University offers a unique selection of undergraduate and graduate degrees designed for the intelligence community. NIU offers a Certificate of Intelligence Studies (CIS), with specializations in AfPak (Afghanistan and Pakistan), Africa, China and Counterintelligence. The university offers a Bachelor of Science in Intelligence (BSI) and Master of Science degrees in Strategic Intelligence and Technology Intelligence.

NIU is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is authorized to grant the B.S. in Intelligence and M.S. in Strategic Intelligence by the U.S. Congress.

Unfortunately, for most american’s attending the National Intelligence University will never become a reality. In order to be eligible to attend the university, prospective students must be U.S. citizens who are members of one of the arms of the U.S. Military (Army, Navy or Airforce) or are employed by the federal government. Candidates must also be elected by their parent organization or employer to attend NIU. Once accepted to a program, students must obtain an TS/SCI security clearance before they can enroll.

History, Background and Mission

The National Intelligence University was established by the Department of Defence in the early 1960s and placed under the direction of the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 1981, the institution was recharted as the as the National Defense Intelligence College (NDIC) and in 1993 the college’s name was again changed, this time to the Joint Military Intelligence College (JMIC). Today, the JMIC is known as the National Intelligence University (NIU). The first degree offered by the university was the Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) in 1980. Then in 1997, the U.S. Congress authorized NIU to award the Bachelor of Science in Intelligence (BIS). In 1981 the university achieved regional accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and has maintained its accreditation status since that date.

Since its founding, NIU has added several off-campus training programs, including one at the National Security Agency, in order to promote its education programs. At its main campus, in Washington DC, NIU has added several part-time specialized graduate programs including one designed for army/military reservists. Personnel from all federal law enforcment and military backgrounds (Coast Guard, Reservists, federal civilian employees, etc.) have participated in the programs provided by NIU.

In addition to a strong academic/teaching agenda, the university also sponsors student and faculty research opportunities at several different levels. Students at NIU can also look forward to participating in various field opperations and real-life simulations designed to enhance their skills and knowledge. The National Intelligence University is dedicated to being on the cutting-edge and is continually looking for ways to improve its curriculum and programs.

At the end of the day, NIU really has just one mission; to prepare intelligence officers so that they can more effectively secure and protect the United States.

Facilities and Resources

One of the NIU’s most renowned facilities and educational resources for the intelligence community is the John. T. Hughes Library. Not only does the library provide for the needs of NIU students, it also serves as an information and research resource for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) itself. Analytical staff and intelligence officers from the DIA regularly turn to the John. T. Hughes library for research assistance, instruction and tools to assist them perform their duties.

Today the library has more than two and a half million items, including publications, maps, microfilms, serials, annuals, reports, periodicals, microfiche, newspapers, unclassified intelligence documents and other reference materials for the intelligence community. In addition to its current collections, the library subscribes to just about every major international periodical and newspaper in the world. It’s has a particularly large selection of Russina periodicals. The library’s microfilm and microfiche collections are also very extensive.

Currently, the NIU main campus is located in Washington DC. However, plans are in the works to move the school to a new location in Bethesday, Maryland–the site of the former National Geospatial-Intelligency Agency (NGA), a national security combat support agency that collects, analyzes and distributes geospatial intelligence. NIU’s relocation of its main campus to this site goes hand in hand with its evolution from a Defense-affiliated organization to an agency that serves the entire Intelligence Community. When the physical move occurs, another transition will also take place; oversight of NIU and its programs will be transfered from the Defense Intelligence Agency to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)–which is controlled directly by the President of the United States.

As previously mentioned, NIU supports a substantial amount of student and faculty research. Funding for such research comes from a division within the university known as the Office of Applied Research. Funds are awarded to students and faculty (involved in strategic intellligence studies at the master’s level) via a competitive application process. Much of the research performed at NIU takes place outside of Washington, DC as overseas sites throughout the world. The university seeks to provide research funding for projects that (1) focus on intelligence that is relevant to military needs and (2) helps to improve curriculum development and training programs for the school. Research performed by both students and faculty members is often published in special studies reports, NIU paper series and academic journals. Extraordinary research is communicated directly to the intelligence community digitally in electronic format.

As is the case with more traditional universities, NIU provides its students with basic instruction in writing, briefing and performing research–of course, with an emphasis on intelligence applications.

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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