When the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University was established in 1997, President George H. W. Bush strongly desired a concentration in intelligence studies as part of the curriculum. Professor James Olson has used his lengthy career as a CIA undercover operative to teach intelligence. Student interest has been strong, and over 300 graduates have successfully completed the program. Today, the program is considered a top school for U.S. intelligence agencies and maintains practitioner expertise from the CIA, FBI, NSA, and U.S. military, as well as the facilities to discuss and store classified information.
What sets the Bush School apart is its focus on practitioner-based teaching. With a professional focus for its intelligence courses, the School had confidence that classes are best taught by intelligence career professionals. Other graduate programs in intelligence studies are more theoretical and emphasize an academic approach to intelligence studies. The Bush School is different by design: it combines a well-rounded academic curriculum with faculty who have practical, real-world experience in covert operations, direct action counterterrorist operations, surveillance and detection, counterintelligence, interrogations, investigations, hostage negotiations, crisis action planning, and all-source intelligence analysis and collection.