Professors Andrew Macpherson and James Ramsay spearhead $2.5 million grant

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has designated the University of New Hampshire as a national Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC CAE), with a funding award of $2.5 million over 10 years.

Assistant Professor Andrew Macpherson and Professor James Ramsay of the Security Studies Department at UNH were the primary authors of the grant. In their proposal, UNH leads a consortium of schools—known as the Northeast Intelligence Community Centers for Academic Excellence (NICCAE)—to recruit and educate the next generation of intelligence and security professionals.

“We are very excited to be designated an ODNI Center for Academic Excellence as it recognizes the tremendous work of our faculty and our partners to develop a roadmap to enhance our interdisciplinary security studies curriculum and our commitment to diversity in academia and the intelligence community,” Macpherson says.

Ramsay, founder of the UNH homeland security program, described the center’s mission as fostering “a diverse, knowledgeable intelligence workforce by providing students with educational opportunities as well as direct contact with current and former intelligence personnel.”

Led by UNH, the consortium’s partner schools include Howard University, an historically Black university; College of Mount Saint Vincent, an Hispanic-Serving Institution; University of Massachusetts Lowell, an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution; and Northern Essex Community College, an Hispanic-Serving Institution. UNH will join a distinguished network of more than 80 colleges and universities in the IC CAE program.

“ODNI is excited to build enduring partnerships with the newest members of the IC CAE program and their diverse and talented students,” says Zev Goldrich, acting assistant director of National Intelligence for Human Capital. “These students will engage with IC professionals dedicated to guiding them as they develop the skills needed for national security careers.”

Established in 2005, the IC CAE Program seeks to create a competitive, knowledgeable and diverse workforce of qualified intelligence professionals by providing grants to colleges and universities that support these efforts.

“The IC is committed to attracting a workforce that reflects the Nation we serve,” says Stephanie la Rue, chief of diversity, equity, and inclusion for ODNI. “The IC CAE program is one of many efforts across the community that will help us get there.”

The goal of NICCAE is to bring together culturally, ethnically, academically and geographically diverse students to pursue national security and intelligence-related careers. Ramsay says a focus of the initiative is to broaden students’ capacity for critical thinking, communication and analysis of national security threats. 

“Our consortium is designed to leverage the strengths of UNH and its partner institutions, which includes supporting a diverse and inclusive community that truly inspires lifelong learning,” Ramsay says. “Our students will be motivated to increase their understanding of the wicked security problems that confront all democracies, and how best they may serve the nation and society as a whole as intelligence analysts.”

UNH’s security studies offerings include a bachelor’s degree program in homeland security, which was the foundation for earning designation as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency in 2019, as well as master’s degree programs in national security intelligence and analysis, cybersecurity policy and risk management and cybersecurity engineering.