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New intelligence minor offers a pathway to careers in intelligence for ECU graduates

Monday, 24 May 2010


How many students think about careers in intelligence? Probably not as many who could seriously consider such a career.  One of the reasons may be that the intelligence community recruits from a very broad church rather than from a pool of graduates who have completed a recognised professional degree. So intelligence analysts tend to have very diverse undergraduate backgrounds. Of course there are those students who study international relations, politics and history who as a result of their study may gravitate towards an intelligence career but what about those studying psychology, engineering, environmental science or computer science? Well the opportunity is there. Dig into the backgrounds of many intelligence professionals and you will find graduates from discipline areas as diverse as theology, math, geography and education to name but a few.

The next question to consider of course is where do these careers sit? Well intelligence careers are no longer limited to major agencies such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) or Defence. Today intelligence functions exist across a diverse range of agencies. The wider law enforcement community and Customs being two major employers. However in today’s world there are also opportunities in agencies such as the Office of Climate Change, state environmental agencies, the Tax Office, Centerlink, departments of health and the various fisheries agencies. Intelligence as a function is embedded in most governance and compliance focused agencies and as a result the opportunity for a career in the intelligence field has opened right up.

Recognising that growing opportunity and building on the successful security science program already in place. ECU, through the School of Computer and Security Science, has introduced a new minor in Intelligence. This four unit set offers students from all discipline areas an opportunity to get a solid grounding in intelligence and provides a point of differentiation for those that may want to consider a career in the intelligence world. This minor developed and taught by Jeff Corkill a career intelligence officer with 20 years experience in defence and further seven years in the private sector before joining ECU, consists of:

SCY1117 - Intelligence Foundations; a unit designed to introduce students to the structured process of information collection, collation, analysis production and dissemination. Students will be introduced to the various concepts involved in the intelligence process. The relevance of the intelligence and information cycle, and its relationship with other contexts such as national security, crime and law enforcement and commerce are core elements of the unit. Students will also be introduced to methods of analysis and the production of intelligence products.

SCY2120 - Applied Intelligence; this unit introduces students to intelligence analysis methodologies commonly used by national security and law enforcement agencies. Students will explore fundamental issues in information evaluation and the role of ethics in intelligence analysis. The development of intelligence products appropriate to both tactical and operational requirements will be emphasised.

SCY3107 - Intelligence Analysis; this unit introduces students to intelligence analysis methodologies commonly used in the strategic environment. Students will explore fundamental issues of strategic warning, surprise and the role of uncertainty as it pertains to strategic assessment. The relationship between intelligence and the creation of policy will also be explored.  The students will be required to develop a strategic intelligence product as a part of this unit.

SCY3506 - Counter Intelligence; this unit introduces students to counter intelligence. Students will explore fundamental issues in defensive and offensive counter intelligence operations. They will also explore in depth the role of ethics in counter intelligence operations, investigations and analysis. There will be an introduction to the human factor in counter intelligence and the nature of security vetting. 

The students will also be introduced to the counter intelligence investigation and development of counter intelligence analytical products. Throughout the unit the multi disciplinary nature of counter intelligence will be emphasised.

Whilst completion of this minor will not guarantee entry into the world of intelligence it will certainly provide an advantage by giving students a point of differentiation from others in the broader graduate pool.

For more information contact Jeff Corkill at


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