OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students hoping to one day fight terrorism or organized crime will have a competitive edge in the job market, thanks to software gifts from two leading corporations in the intelligence software industry.
Recent donations valued at more than $800,000 from Visual Analytics Inc. (VAI), headquartered in Frederick, Md., and i2 Inc, headquartered in McLean, Va., are allowing UM students pursuing minors in intelligence and security studies to use the same crime- and terror-fighting tools as those currently utilized by intelligence professionals.
The gifts were made to UM’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, which was created partly in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Part of the School of Applied Sciences, CISS offers a minor in intelligence and security studies and provides educational and scholarly resources to the national intelligence community.
“These are the exact software packages our students will use when they graduate and go to work for the FBI or CIA,” said Carl Jensen, director of CISS and a former special agent with the FBI. “This is a significant advantage for our students. They’ll be comfortable with and adept at using these technologies even before they get out in the field. We are grateful to both i2 Inc. and VAI for their very generous support.”
The i2 software, valued at more than $475,000, allows investigators and analysts in law enforcement, government, military, intelligence and commercial organizations to quickly understand complex scenarios and huge amounts of seemingly unrelated data, perform analysis and communicate findings, according to the company’s Web site.
The software from VAI, valued at $335,000, is used to investigate money laundering, financial crimes, narcotics trafficking, terrorism, border security, embezzlement and fraud. The software was donated as part of the company’s Collegiate Outreach Program.
“The donation of our analytical and information sharing software to the University of Mississippi’s Center for Intelligence and Security Studies provides students with direct access to advanced technologies used throughout the globe within intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” said VAI CEO and co-founder, Chris Westphal.
“It allows them to try, practice and review all of the features and functions while being exposed to different scenarios, problem sets and real-world circumstances. We are very pleased that Ole Miss is a participating member of our collegiate software program and look forward to supporting their operations,” he said.
Marie Barnard, assistant dean of the School of Applied Sciences, said that having such tools available is “typically beyond the reach of an academic institution.”
“These very generous gifts from i2 Inc. and VAI will be instrumental in training and educating the next generation of intelligence analysts and investigators,” Barnard said. “This makes our students much more competitive in the job market, and we are grateful to these companies for their support of our program.”
For more information about the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, please visit www.olemiss.edu/ciss.