Originally Published: September 13, 2011 10:03 p.m.
PRESCOTT - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will hold a two-day event designed to educate participants in evolving threats to U.S. national security, the use of leading-edge technology to counter those threats, and develop future security and intelligence professionals.
The 7th National Security & Intelligence Symposium takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The goal of the symposium is to promote public understanding of the security and intelligence professions and to recruit students to study them.
This year, the event will include an Educator's Workshop for invited high school teachers, counselors and students from around Arizona. The workshop will explain the need for well-educated security and intelligence professionals.
The university uses the symposium to promote its Global Security and Intelligence Studies program, which professor Bob Baker said is growing in popularity.
"The program started in 2005, and it has quadrupled in size since then - 230 students from around the country" are taking part, he said.
That's good, said Baker, because there's a need. "There will be a large gap in that area in the next five years because the baby boomers are retiring," he explained. "They need new blood" in the security field.
Speakers at the symposium will include an FBI agent who will cover espionage threats against the U.S.; an agent who will discuss the Joint Terrorism Task Force; several speakers who will detail border incursions and how they relate to the threat of terrorism; and a keynote speech by a Boeing executive, who will outline the use and protection of classified government materials by private industry.
"We try to get as many people as we can," said Baker. "We get professionals from both locally and around the country."
"Once the students and the parents understand what these jobs are and how important they are - they're vital to national security - there's a high level of interest (in the ERAU program)."
The event is free and open to the public. It's on the ERAU campus, 3700 Willow Creek Road, in the Davis Learning Center.