PRESCOTT, Ariz. — The shield for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) new College of Security and Intelligence (CSI) depicts a metallic torch, a metal key, and a bald eagle atop a split field of blue and gold – the colors of the university.
While the bald eagle represents the ERAU mascot, Associate Professor of Cyber Intelligence and Security Jon Haass said both the key and torch represent intelligence.
“Whether it’s a locked key for cyber or the key that talks about information. It represents locking and unlocking information. The torch is to illuminate the intelligence that’s available, and to make it available for people to understand,” Haass said.
On Jan. 29, ERAU officials in Prescott inducted the fledgling college, the first of its kind in the nation, with speeches and an Air Force and Army ROTC presentation of colors.
CSI courses include computer and forensic sciences, as well as cyber security classes that focus on offensive and defensive operations and analysis, foreign policy and international law, counterterrorism, and more. The new college also houses ERAU’s global security and intelligence degree program, as well as the current cyber intelligence and security degree program. Two new degree programs are expected to be unveiled in the fall of this year – a bachelor’s in forensic biology and a master’s in security and intelligence studies.
More than 300 students are already enrolled in the new college, Haass added.
The new program is designed to teach students how to prepare for threats and the opportunities to, not only defend, but also fight attackers in cyber space, he said.
“Cyber space is the new era of intelligence gathering. It’s less expensive to send electrons to search the world than it is to send a person. These days of big data, analytics, forensics, computer programming, the Internet, everything is just seconds away. Our students will learn skills in programming, in modeling, in data acquisition and in data dissection,” Haass said.
The school became ERAU’s fourth college on the Prescott campus following Wednesday’s induction ceremony, and featured speeches by President John P. Johnson, Prescott campus chancellor Frank Ayers, chief academic officer Richard Bloom and others. Former CIA intelligence analyst and ERAU Global Security and Intelligence Studies chair Phillip Jones was inducted as dean for the new college.
“I can’t think of a more pleasurable thing than to stand up a college designated to prepare people to keep our nation safe,” Johnson told those who filled the Davis Learning Center for Wednesday’s induction ceremony.
Jones said the terrorist attacks of 9/11 re-minded Americans they live in a global world. “There’s no isolated nation. There’s no area of human knowledge that’s outside of the purview of what we do in security and intelligence.”
Senior Cory Bankston will be among the first graduates of the new college in May. His degree, in global security and intelligence studies, was recently folded into the new college. Bankston said he believes the college is just as important as the arts, education, engineering and aviation degrees offered at the university.
“It’s the only one of its kind, so I’m excited to be part of something that’s brand new,” Bankston said. “I think, without this degree, you couldn’t really have any of the other ones, (because) this protects everyone and allows them to do what they want to do.”
Senior Jeff Kinon, also a senior in global security and intelligence, hopes to enter into politics and policy-making upon his graduation thus summer.
“For a long time, we’ve looked forward to protecting this nation. This college is an advancement of that. It helps prepare us for a professional atmosphere,” Kinon said.