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.

All students in the Master of International Affairs degree program are required to complete at least two concentrations as part of their degree requirements. The “Intelligence as an Instrument of Statecraft” concentration consists of three courses chosen from those listed below, providing that one of the three is a required core course:

• INTA 652 Role of Intelligence (Olson) – CORE COURSE
• INTA 650 National Security Law (Sievert)
• INTA 657 Terrorism in Today’s World (Howell)
• INTA 659 Transnational Security Issues (Huang and Nielsen)
• INTA 689 Briefing Tradecraft (Weary)
• INTA 689 Defense Intelligence (Gill)
• INTA 689 Human Intelligence (Howell)
• INTA 696 Analytical Tradecraft (Weary)
• INTA 698 Advanced Analytical Tradecraft (Weary)
• INTA 699 Cyberspace Implications for National Security (McLaughlin)
• INTA 700 The Art of Counterintelligence (Olson)
• INTA 689 Introduction to Cyber for the Non-Technical (Sowell)

Capstone courses (INTA 670) related to intelligence will also be offered. Professor Katherine T. Weary will be offering a capstone in the academic year and going forward.

James M. Olson

James M. Olson

  • Professor of the Practice, Director of the Intelligence Studies Program
  • Professor James Olson received his law degree from the University of Iowa. He is a Professor of the Practice at the Bush School, where he teaches courses on intelligence and counterintelligence. He served for over thirty years in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly overseas in clandestine operations. In addition to several foreign assignments, he was Chief of Counterintelligence at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Olson has been awarded the Intelligence Medal of Merit, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Donovan Award, and several Distinguished Service Citations. He is the recipient of awards from the Bush School and the Association of Former Students for excellence in teaching. Professor Olson is the author of Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying and To Catch a Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence. Prior to his career in the CIA, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he attained the rank of lieutenant commander.

    Michael W. Howell ’91

    Michael W. Howell ’91

  • Associate Professor of the Practice, Intelligence Studies Program
  • Michael W. Howell joined the faculty as an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of International Affairs in the fall of 2019. Howell graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and earned a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies at the Naval War College, graduating with distinction. He also attended a Kellogg School of Management Executive Course at Northwestern University and completed a postgraduate class in terrorism studies through the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

    In his twenty-three years as an FBI agent, Howell investigated domestic and international complex crimes and terrorism as well as led and supervised training for FBI agents and support and executive personnel. He was an Adjunct Instructor at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and served as the Coordinator of the FBI Academy’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (LEEDS) and International Law Enforcement Training (ILEA) for North Texas, where he worked with police chiefs and sheriffs from over 250 departments.

    Howell’s international experience includes assignments as Assistant and Acting Legal Attaché in U.S. embassies, where he routinely provided expert advice in law enforcement and terrorism matters to U.S. ambassadors on host nation capabilities, criminal cases, and threats to U.S. interests. Howell also had multiple assignments to countries in the Middle East and Europe for operations and training related to terrorism, criminal cases, and intelligence matters.

    Katherine T. Weary ’01

    Katherine T. Weary ’01

  • Assistant Professor of the Practice, Intelligence Studies Program
  • The Bush School is pleased to announce that Katherine Thoroughman Weary has joined the Department of International Affairs as an Assistant Professor of the Practice, specializing in writing and analysis under the intelligence concentration. She started teaching as a part-time lecturer in the spring of 2017 and now teaches several classes, including Analytic Tradecraft, Advanced Analytic Tradecraft, Briefing Tradecraft, and an international affairs capstone student research project.

    Weary has held several key positions at the Department of Defense’s National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. As a Senior Intelligence Analyst at NSA, she produced intelligence products for senior government and military officials on a variety of sensitive targets in various offices. She also served as NSA’s Office of International Security Issues Intelligence Analyst Advisor, charged with training new analysts and succession planning. Separately, Weary was placed as an Integrated Analyst at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s National Intelligence Council on the Near East portfolio, where she directly supported IC participation in the National Security Council process. Prior to her time at Ft. Meade, she worked as a contractor in several offices at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including the Office of Intelligence Analysis.

    Before joining the intelligence community, she served in the George W. Bush administration in the Secretary’s Office at the U.S. Department of Education. Her undergraduate work experience included time at the U.S. State Department’s Office of Policy and Global Issues and at the Office of President George H. W. Bush in Houston.

    Weary completed a significant amount of coursework at NSA’s National Cryptologic School and the CIA’s Kent School on advanced analytics, structured analytic techniques, advanced approaches to critical thinking, writing for the President’s Daily Brief, and telecommunications technologies. She earned her master’s in security policy studies with concentrations in transnational security threats and national security policy from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in 2005 and a Certificate in International Affairs from the Bush School in 2002. She received her BA in history from Texas A&M University in 2001, where she also minored in English and political science.

    Matt Gill

    Matt Gill

  • Lecturer, Intelligence Studies Program
  • The Bush School is pleased to announce that Colonel (Retired) Matt Gill has joined the Department of International Affairs as a Lecturer for the Intelligence Studies Program. His courses will focus on Defense Intelligence, Intelligence support to decision-making, and a practical approach to intelligence collection.

    COL(R) Gill served in the United States Army for 24 years, spending most of his career dedicated to Special Operations Forces, Clandestine Intelligence Collection, Near-Peer Intelligence Operations and Counterinsurgencies. After four years as an Artilleryman, he joined the ranks of the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg as an intelligence Officer and was a part of the units who took part in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Through several years of practical service in Special Operations units, COL(R) Gill was then appointed as the Counterterrorism intelligence advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of General Counsel and Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has operational experience at all echelons of the Department of Defense, Europe, the Middle East, Levant and Africa. COL(R) Gill remains a senior advisor to U.S. Army intelligence leaders and General Officers.

    Before joining the faculty at The Bush School, COL(R) Gill was a senior academic fellow at the LBJ School for Public Policy, University of Texas at Austin. For two years, he researched and authored studies on the impact of advancing technology for the Defense Intelligence community. He earned his master’s degree in national security policy at the Unites States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island and has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Mississippi State University.

    For more information on the Intelligence Studies Program, please download our program brochure.

    To learn more about how you can support intelligence studies at the Bush School as we seek to become the premier intelligence studies program in the country, producing the finest quality of public servants in the intelligence community, please contact a member of our Development team who will follow up with opportunities and more information.

    Michael Bottiglieri

    Michael Bottiglieri ’89
    Senior Director of Development
    Texas A&M Foundation

    Alexandra “Ale” G. Rainey ’15

    Alexandra “Ale” G. Rainey ’15
    Director of Development
    Texas A&M Foundation


    Please kindly save the date and make plans to join us this fall at our “Friends of the Bush School – Intelligence Studies Program Support Open House” on Friday, September 18, 2020 at the Bush School. Any current and potentially interested supporters of the Intelligence Studies Program are invited to come meet and visit with our Intel Studies faculty and students to learn more about the program, their courses, get a taste of what the world of intelligence entails, and the current needs of the program to ensure its long-term future at Texas A&M University in service to our state, nation, and world.

    If you’d like to be added do the guest list to receive more information for this event in the fall, please complete this form.