Becoming an Agent: Inside the Classroom
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Becoming an Agent: Inside the Classroom

The Basic Field Training Course—the BFTC—is
a monumental shift in how we used to do our traditional training, which is we had separate
training courses for each of the intelligence analysts and the new agent trainees, or NATs. And we have found that in order for us to
be more successful in identifying and minimizing the threats, we needed to have a combined
team. I think the integration is necessary because
it helps each individual understand the other’s job role. For example, the intelligence analyst can
understand what the special agent is doing with the information that we may be providing
to the intelligence community. And then similarly, when the special agent
brings information in, you know, we’re understanding how they’re bringing information in so intelligence
analysts can get it out to the intelligence community. And also, at the end of the day, build camaraderie
between two very separate job roles that are still very closely aligned within our organization. In order to better prepare new intelligence
analysts and new agent trainees, it is important for each of them to understand the other’s
specific job role. New agent trainees will learn analytic tradecraft
standards, critical thinking, and threat analysis, while new analyst trainees learn how to be
effective interviewers and basic investigative process. Both the agent population and the analytical
population are both better prepared once they arrive to a field office to work collaboratively
because it starts at the foundational level here at the Academy. People who have different skill sets, who
come from different backgrounds, will be more able to accomplish the mission. The one thing I think that Quantico does an
excellent job of is bringing together a really diverse pool of people who are really good
at different things. And then you put them in a situation that’s
somewhat artificial, and you rely on their resolve and their ability—it’s that kind
of environment. And it’s an environment that lends itself
to you finding those people that make you better, where you’re not naturally or through
the work you’ve done to get there, were necessarily strong in.

About James Carlton

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