Wed, 09 Jul 2003

World's first intelligence academy to open in Batam

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Batam

The world's first intelligence colleges will be opened in Batam, Riau, and Sentul, West Java, to introduce the art of espionage as a science and to improve the capability of national intelligence agents.

The construction of school facilities in Batam and Sentul is to break ground on Wednesday, with President Megawati Soekarnoputri slated to officiate the construction here.

The college in Sentul will offer an undergraduate program, while the one in Batam is to provide a graduate program, said National Intelligence Agency (BIN) director Gen. (ret) Hendropriyono.

The institutions will equip students with the knowledge and skills to research and analyze intelligence data and to use information technology in supporting espionage activities.

"Indonesia will be the first country to open institutions offering bachelor's and master's degrees that will introduce intelligence as a science," Hendropriyono said here on Tuesday.

"Realizing the increasing security threats around the world, we have to respond to the problems by formulating the art of intelligence as science," he said.

He underlined that studying intelligence science will be beneficial not only for intelligence agents, but also for civilians in their daily lives and work.

The two institutions -- scheduled to be completed in 10 months -- will be open to the general public, to both Indonesians and foreigners and the language of instruction is to be in English.

The institutions are to cooperate with state-run University of Indonesia (UI) and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

The first admission class of around 100 students are currently taking intelligence courses at the two state-run universities.

Hendropriyono said citizens from seven member countries of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) -- both civilians and intelligence officers -- were among this first batch of students.

The intelligence capabilities of Indonesia have been deemed one of the weakest in the region, and thus the country was unable to anticipate massive terror attacks such as the Bali bombing last year.

UI rector Usman Chatib Warsa said the establishment of the intelligence schools aimed to address this weak point in Indonesia's intelligence operation.

"This is why we have to formulate a science to increase our capabilities and meet the international standards of the intelligence community," he said.