Edward Mienie, associate professor at the University of North Georgia, will soon offer high schoolers a glimpse into U.S. intelligence agencies with a new high school course he helped create.
“It’s highly competitive to get into the three-letter agencies (CIA, FBI, etc.), and starting younger is better for our nation,” Mienie said. “If these high schoolers realize the importance of intelligence and start shaping their lifestyle according to setting themselves to be recruited, you can’t start young enough.”
The social studies class, which will be an elective for juniors and seniors, is titled, “Introduction to U.S. Intelligence and National Security Studies.” Mienie, who directs UNG’s strategic and security studies degree program and partnerships, said the high school level intelligence course will be one of the first in the nation.
Last year, Mienie said he was approached by Justin Hill to collaboratively build the class for high schoolers in Georgia. Hill is the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction at the Georgia Department of Education and an information warfare officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
“I was over the moon about that,” Mienie said.
By August 2021, he expects the elective course to become available at high schools in Georgia. The teachers who run the class will be chosen on a school-by-school basis.
Mienie said the class will broadly examine areas of the field, including the development of U.S. intelligence; the field’s basic roles and functions; the different types of intelligence, collection methods and information; the ethical, moral and legal considerations of intelligence; and more.
“I want to attract students to my degree program, and more importantly, whet their appetite,” he said.
Mienie encourages high schoolers to take the course to “debunk the myth that intel is all about James Bond” and to become exposed to the field without committing to a degree program.
By choosing this elective, Mienie said high schoolers can better understand if intelligence is something they want to pursue, while also getting a “leg up” on applicants for jobs in the field.
“It’s not restricted to federal jobs,” he said. “Multinational corporations like Coca-Cola or Microsoft, big global corporations have in-house intelligence capabilities as well.”
Mienie is no stranger to the intelligence field. He earned his doctorate in international conflict management, and he also served for four years in the South African National Defense Force, where he was deployed to Angola during the Angolan War in the 1980s.
At UNG, Mienie teaches several courses, including intelligence and counterterrorism, comparative military systems, U.S. intelligence community and others.