Fourth of July 2019

Happy Independence Day!

Freedom and independence are words affectionately and passionately associated with the United States of America. On the Fourth of July, the U.S.A. celebrates the bountiful freedom we have fought for. However, as we do prepare to celebrate yet another year of freedom, we must keep in mind its fragility. As easily as it was obtained, it can be cruelly stripped away. Therefore, no matter how you choose to celebrate the nation’s birthday, take a moment to pause. Recall just how hard generations before have worked to secure, maintain, and reinforce our freedoms, and how each of us must remain steadfastly determined to propel our ever-changing nation forward and the underpinning principles that make it so profound. After all, it was not just the freedom we know today that was born on July 4th, but also the country we all proudly call home.

Image Source: Commons.Wikipedia.Org

Memorial Day 2019

“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.”    – General Douglas MacArthur

Memorial Day is an important day for everyone, in many cases, serving as a day to remember and pay respects to loved ones no longer present. At the same time, it is a time to honor those who have laid down their lives protecting our great country. This day of remembrance centers around those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our ever-growing nation we all know and love. Today, we pay our profound respects to those who have sacrificed in service for the protection of the United States and our fundamental freedoms. It is without question the exceedingly brave and compassionate person who is willing to lay down their own life to protect the lives, freedoms, and prosperity of their fellow citizens. We owe a debt of gratitude to our fallen heroes that we can never repay.

-Saebria M.

Update Andrew Ertl 12/18

UPDATE: December 2018

Andrew Ertl, previous winner of the Jim and Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship in 2016, is currently studying at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, where he is pursuing a Master of Public Policy. Andrew said of his current program, “What I can say about Oxford, is that the curriculum here is quite a bit more technically difficult than my last master’s program. Still, I really appreciate the wholistic approach the school takes with regard to policy, and its foundations–I’m learning a lot.”

Andrew, being a History major, has expressed his enjoyment in being surrounded by so many old structures in Europe. He says, “It feels like I’m on a vacation while I’m earning a degree.” He has been able to do a bit of traveling so far, having visited Stonehenge and Bath. Soon enough, he plans to visit Scotland, Ireland, and everywhere in between.

In honor of Veteran’s Day last month and directed towards Mr. James R. Lint, Andrew said, “I just want to say, that I am in awe and inspired by veterans like yourself who gave so much more than myself. You all paved the way for someone like me and not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on that.”

Andrew continues to be proud of his association with the Lint Center for National Security Studies and we look forward to watching his continued success.

U.S. Marine Corps Captain Richard Laszok Awarded 2018 McGaughey Family Scholarship

The Lint Center for National Security Studies Awards 2018 McGaughey Family Scholarship to Captain Richard Laszok

The Lint Center for National Security Studies, a non-profit organization focused on supporting the next generation of America’s National Security professionals through scholarship and mentoring opportunities, today announced the 2018 McGaughey Family Scholarship award winner.

Captain Richard Laszok was awarded the McGaughey Family Scholarship for his commitment to advancing U.S. national security and intelligence. The McGaughey Family Scholarship provides an annual $1,000 award towards education in national security or intelligence studies.

Captain Laszok’s upbringing in a military family instilled in him a sense of patriotism and service. This led to his enrollment in U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he studied logistics, intermodal transportation, and navigation. Once on active duty, he served in the Infantry and Reconnaissance communities as a Platoon Commander, Company Executive Officer, and Company Commander, as well as a Team Leader in an Afghan soldier-training center. Captain Laszok is now studying National Security and Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics. He won the Lint Center’s 2018 McGaughey Family Scholarship in part because of his insightful essay on the risks and rewards of trade with China and his essay on the lessons he learned in the Marines about effective advising.

“I am thankful for receiving the McGaughey Family Scholarship to help with my pursuit of obtaining a Master’s degree in Statecraft and National Security. Applying for the scholarship helped me identify an international issue that I want to focus on throughout my graduate studies. I am very excited to have the opportunity to participate in the mentorship program associated with the scholarship. The knowledge and experiences from these talented professionals will help guide me during my transition from the military to the civilian workforce,” says Captain Laszok.

“We’re excited to work with Captain Laszok,” explains James R. Lint, President and CEO of the Lint Center for National Security Studies. “His record of service is solid, and we are looking forward to see what he will do when we combine his passion for national service, his foundational education and our subject matter expertise-based mentorship.”

About the McGaughey Family Scholarship:

The McGaughey Family Scholarship seeks to identify and recognize outstanding recipients pursuing scholastic study in fields related to Alliance Building, Counterintelligence, Cultural Understanding, and National Security studies. Workers in these fields and their children are encouraged to apply. Additional information about the program and other scholarships can be found at


About the Lint Center:

The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc., founded in 2007, is a non-profit IRS 501 (c) (3) organization awards award merit-based scholarships and mentoring programs for students pursuing careers in national service with a particular focus on counterintelligence, military intelligence, national security and cross-cultural studies. The Center is Veteran and minority operated and managed. It awards scholarships semi-annually in both January and July. For more information, please visit


This press release was prepared by Lint Center Volunteer, Sarah White.

China’s Challenge to the U.S.

by Richard Laszok
Published with Permission

Competition between China and the U.S. does not have to result in a win-lose situation, but this requires both countries to renegotiate current trade policies.  The current negotiations can provide a win-win deal for both countries.  Factors that contribute to a nations global power are its economic policies, military strength, and technological development.  The U.S. is currently the hegemon because of its strong economy, superior military, support for innovation, and altruistic approach to foreign relations.  China’s rise as a global power will use these factors to challenge the U.S. domination and become the new global leader (Pillsbury, 2018, pp. 143-144).

As China’s economy strengthens it will have the resources to modernize its military to in efforts to protect its natural resources and sea-lanes.  China has a hybrid economic structure where the government subsides private companies that its government has interest in (Pillsbury, 2018, p. 149).  Such subsidies are used for research and development in the industries in which China sees as opportunistic.  Due to these factors, competition between foreign companies becomes largely one sided.  These companies also conduct economic espionage and steal intellectual property, challenging U.S. and foreign companies (Pillsbury, 2018, p. 189).

In the March 2018 address to China by President Xi, he stated that China was not interested in “seeking hegemony or [would] engage in expansion” (Fong, 2018).  This doesn’t necessarily mean China doesn’t aspire to become the global leader eventually.  As Michael Pillsbury outlines in his book “The Hundred-Year Marathon” China’s leaders would avoid using such rhetoric that might alarm the world of their true intentions (Pillsbury, 2016).  China does not want to be perceived as threatening while they build and grow.  An example of this is the slow build up and militarization of islands in the South China Sea.  China is using this as a way to secure the natural resources within the area such as fishing, oil, and minerals.  It also helps secure the sea-lanes surrounding China and provide a military buffer zone for Mainland China (Pillsbury, 2018, p. 143).

Another concern is how the government subsidies Chinese companies.  This practice makes it nearly impossible for foreign companies to compete in those industries.  One example of this is the information and communication company Huawei.  Huawei is becoming a global leader in this industry, but their relationship with the Chinese government raises security concerns to the U.S. and many European countries (Bey, 2018 June 28).  The fear is that the products and services provided by the company could be used to collect information on their customers (Pillsbury, 2016, p. 173).  What is also of great concern is the development of 5G technology and artificial intelligence (Bey, 2018 June 28).  Both have military applications and could rival the U.S. in the near future.  Therefore, as China continues to rise, “the U.S. will continue to expand investment restrictions on Chinese technology companies wishing to enter the U.S.” (Bey, 2018 June 28).

Despite these challenges and the recent threat of a trade war between the two countries, the use of military force or violence is unlikely as the two countries begin to discuss trade reform.  The countries are using and will continue to use the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle trade disputes.  The U.S. has already “successfully litigated WTO disputes targeting unfair trade practices and upholding our right to enforce U.S. trade laws” (“President Donald J. Trump is Confronting China’s Trade Policies”, 2018).  Leveraging the WTO will ultimately help ensure both countries achieve fair trade deals and compliance with the organizations’ intellectual property and environmental policies.  If China commits to prevent intellectual property theft and encourage U.S. technology companies to compete in the Chinese market, it would benefit its people by allowing them access to more products.  Finally, the U.S. would benefit by having access to the new market.



  1. Bey, M. (2018, June 28). Huawei’s Success Puts It in Washington’s Sights. Retrieved July 26, 2018, from
  2. Fong, L. (2018, April 15). What would Chinese hegemony look like? A lot like US Leadership. Retrieved July 26, 2018 from
  3. Pillsbury, M. (2016). The hundred-year marathon: Chinas secret strategy to replace America as the global superpower. New York, NY: Griffin.
  4. President Donald J. Trump is Confronting China’s Unfair Trade Policies. (2018, May 29). Retrieved July 27, 2018, from

American University Graduate Student, Jared Zimmerman, Awarded International Association for Intelligence Education Scholarship

The Lint Center for National Security Studies Awards 2018 International Association for Intelligence Education Scholarship to Jared Zimmerman.

The Lint Center for National Security Studies, a non-profit dedicated to fostering the educational development of the next generation of America’s Counterintelligence and National Security professionals through scholarship and mentoring opportunities, and the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE), the leading international organization for Intelligence Education, today announced the 2018 International Association for Intelligence Education Scholarship award winner.

Mr. Jared Zimmerman was awarded the Lint Center’s IAFIE Scholarship for his commitment to advancing national security and intelligence. The Lint Center’s IAFIE Scholarship provides a $1,500 award towards education in national security or intelligence studies.

Mr. Zimmerman is a first year graduate student at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C. where he is pursuing an MA in International Affairs with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and national security. Prior to enrolling in graduate school, he spent five years working in the software industry. In his scholarship essay, Zimmerman argued that not all terrorists acting alone deserve the “lone wolf” label. Lone wolves, says Zimmerman, are those who act entirely alone and for their own cause. Terrorists that run solo operations in support of or even as part of a larger global jihadist movement should instead be labelled Individual Terrorism Jihadists (ITJ). He then reviewed recent high profile cases of lone wolf attackers, such as the Austin Serial Bomber and the DC Beltway sniper, and parsed the differences.

“I am honored and excited to be this year’s recipient of the International Association for Intelligence Education Scholarship through the Lint Center for National Security Studies,” Mr. Zimmerman said. “Many of my peers have dedicated themselves to similar goals, face similar challenges, and have submitted impressive essays, and so I consider it a great honor to receive this year’s IAFIE Scholarship. I am eager to meet with my mentor and discuss my future as I explore ways forward into the Intelligence Community. I also wish to thank the Lint Center for the tremendous support it provides students like myself. The scholarship and mentorship are such valuable resources to young people who want to serve their country.”

“Jared Zimmerman’s scholarship essay further refining motivators of individual terrorists shows the kind of outside the box thinking that is critical to the Intelligence Community,” said Mr. James R. Lint, President and CEO of the Lint Center for National Security Studies. “Paired with his background in software development and the guiding hand of one of our mentor, I am confident that Mr. Zimmerman will be a powerful asset to any agency and a quality national security worker.”

About the International Association for Intelligence Education Scholarship:

The International Association for Intelligence Education is the leading international organization for Intelligence Education. The Association was formed in June 2004 as a result of a gathering of sixty plus intelligence studies trainers and educators at the Sixth Annual International Colloquium on Intelligence at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania. The mission of the Association is to advance research, knowledge and professional development in intelligence education. For more information, please visit

About the Lint Center:

The Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc., founded in 2007, is a non-profit IRS 501 (c) (3) organization awards award merit-based scholarships and mentoring programs for students pursuing careers in national service with a particular focus on counterintelligence, military intelligence, national security and cross-cultural studies. The Center is Veteran and minority operated and managed. It awards scholarships semi-annually in both January and July. For more information, please visit


This press release was prepared by Lint Center Volunteer, Ben Oatis.

Update Julie Slama

UPDATE: October 2018

Julie Slama, winner of the 2016 Lee and Byun International Relations and Cultural Awareness Scholarship, has sent in this update:

I’m currently in my first year of law school at the University of Nebraska, after graduating this spring with a degree in Political Science from Yale University. In the past two years, I’ve had the chance to travel to 31 countries. The LC scholarship program was a big help in ensuring that I had the funds necessary to focus on my studies. Thank you for your continued support.

Dismantling North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program Starts with Understanding Its History

Published with Permission by:
Irajpanah, Katherine, “Dismantling North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program Starts with Understanding Its History”, In Homeland Security, 04 July 2018, Web,

By Katherine Irajpanah
Writer, Lint Center for National Security Studies, Inc., and Special Contributor, In Homeland Security 

On June 12, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea met in Singapore for a historic summit. During the meeting, the United States and North Korea established the diplomatic foundation for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The Singapore summit followed a year of intensified vitriol between the two countries and decades of unsuccessful attempts at halting North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons.

The summit and forthcoming diplomatic talks highlight the need to understand the history of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The program, which has developed over the course of approximately six decades, has perplexed the past several presidential administrations. That suggests that the United States must approach the negotiating table cautiously and be prepared for lengthy, technical discussions.

The Beginnings of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program dates to the 1950s in the aftermath of the Korean War. The war, which pitted South Korea and the United States against North Korea and China, created a great sense of insecurity in the regime of the DPRK’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

DPRK nuclear ambitions largely grew from those insecurities. Weapons of mass destruction, including biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, presented the Kim regime with a potential guarantor of its security as well as a means of deterring the United States from invading North Korea.

Although North Korea’s nuclear program has largely been indigenous, Pyongyang received external technical assistance during its early years. In the 1960s, for example, the Soviet Union helped the North Koreans develop early nuclear reactors, which can provide a source of fissionable material to make a hydrogen bomb. Moreover, in the 1970s, North Korea modeled its short-range missiles on Soviet Scud missiles it had acquired from Egypt.

By the 1980s, North Korea had developed its own nuclear research institutions, uranium mining facilities, a fuel rod fabrication complex and a five-megawatt nuclear reactor. After signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985, Kim secured further Soviet assistance to develop light water reactors (LWRs). With these facilities and other projects in place, Kim Il-sung successfully developed a nuclear bomb option and the foundation of North Korea’s current nuclear weapons program.

The Rise and Fall of Diplomatic Agreements

North Korea’s nuclear threat reached a flashpoint in 1994, when the United States and North Korea faced the risk of war as a result of the North’s provocations. After the 1994 crisis abated, Washington and Pyongyang held diplomatic talks that led to the 1994 Agreed Framework.

In that agreement, the United States promised security assurances and proliferation-resistant LWRs to North Korea. Also, North Korea promised to freeze and dismantle its nuclear reactors and submit to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Both parties, however, failed to live up to the agreement. As a result, the Agreed Framework fell apart.

North Korea Gradually Builds Nuclear Bomb Program

By late 2003, under Kim’s son, Kim Jong-Il, North Korea likely had acquired a nuclear bomb. To stem the North’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, the United States convened a new diplomatic channel, the Six-Party Talks. That channel involved North Korea, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China.

In 2005, the North Koreans announced that they would abandon their nuclear program. Nonetheless, North Korea reneged on its statement and conducted its first nuclear weapons test in 2006. In April 2009, after much back-and-forth communication over proposed arrangements, North Korea withdrew from the Six-Party talks.

Kim Jong-un and the DPRK Nuclear Program

In 2011, Kim Jong-un succeeded his late father, Kim Jong-Il, as “Supreme Leader” and accelerated the nuclear weapons program. To the young leader’s way of thinking, nuclear weapons would ensure the regime’s security and afford him a level of international prestige.

Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea conducted four new nuclear tests. On September 3, 2017, the official North Korean news agency, KCNA, reported the successful testing of a hydrogen bomb.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, North Korea now has an estimated 15 to 20 nuclear weapons, “while U.S. intelligence believes the number to be between thirty and sixty bombs.” Experts also believe that Kim has a functioning intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Some reports suggest that North Korea has the capability to miniaturize its nuclear weapons and mount them on an ICBM, the final element needed to bring about a nuclear holocaust.

International Community’s Response to North Korea’s Behavior

The international community has responded to North Korea’s behavior with intensified economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation. Even China, which has always served as a key economic and political ally of North Korea across the decades, has joined the international efforts to use sanctions to bring Kim to the negotiating table.

As a probable consequence of the mounting economic pressure of these sanctions and the rogue nation’s increasing international isolation, Kim Jong-un has turned away from bombastic rhetoric to diplomatic overtures. At the recent Singapore summit, Kim affirmed “his firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Beyond the Singapore Summit

The history of North Korea’s nuclear program suggests that the diplomats involved in the forthcoming negotiations must now proceed deliberately and in a clear-eyed manner. To work toward the dismantlement of the North’s nuclear arsenal, the United States will need to consider some form of security reassurance for the Kim regime.

Furthermore, many details about North Korea’s nuclear program remain unknown, and North Korea has reneged on agreements in the past. Any agreement with North Korea will need to emphasize intrusive, on-the-ground verification to both monitor its progress on denuclearization and close the information gap on DPRK nuclear assets.

Finally, the world at large must understand that, as nuclear expert Siegfried S. Hecker estimated, DPRK disarmament could take over a decade to complete due to the technical demands of dismantling its nuclear complex.

Overall, the best path forward in addressing the North Korean nuclear threat is one that emphasizes diplomacy and recognizes the historical challenges associated with Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

About the Author

Katherine Irajpanah is an intern and writer at the Lint Center for National Security Studies. She is currently studying for her bachelor’s degree in international relations at Stanford University and works as a research assistant at the Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Update Andrew Ertl 7/18

UPDATE: July 2018

Andrew Ertl, previous winner of the Jim and Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship in 2016, graduated last week with a Master’s of Management Science in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University in Beijing through the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars Program. Along the way, he made sure to take advantage of his location to extensively travel throughout China, meeting Chinese and foreign policy makers, and snapping a picture sitting next to a panda!

Currently he is home relaxing in Green Bay, WI; stopping by at the USO office at the Green Bay airport and Marine Corps recruiting office, and reading to prepare for his next graduate studies at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, where he will pursue a Master’s of Public Policy. Andrew continues to be proud of his association with the Lint Center for National Security Studies and looks forward to when he can contribute more forthrightly to its mission.

North Korea’s June 25 Surprise Attack: An Important Lesson in Battle Preparation

Published with Permission by:
Lint, James R., “North Korea’s June 25 Surprise Attack: An Important Lesson in Battle Preparation”, In Homeland Security, 23 June 2016, Web,

By James Lint
Faculty Member, American Public University System

June 25 is a day that all military planners and intelligence professionals should remember as a lesson in proper battle preparation. On that date in 1950, North Korea surprised the U.S. military with an attack that swept U.S. and South Korean forces into the Pusan Perimeter and almost off the Korean peninsula. Defeat appeared quick and sudden.

It was only nine years after the devastation at Pearl Harbor and no one believed that a surprise attack could happen to U.S. forces ever again. But it did.

For the United States, intelligence focus on a former small Japanese-occupied territory was a low priority. The mistake was missing the buildup of Communist support and the large amount of combat equipment in North Korea compared to South Korea, obvious indicators of battle preparation that we can see in hindsight. Because the U.S. overlooked these signs of impending combat, North Korea’s invasion led to a long, bloody civil war.

How Did This Surprise Attack Happen?

There are several reasons why North Korea’s invasion came as a surprise to the U.S. military:

  • The U.S. was a budding world power and had many places to focus. For example, there were Cold War activities in Europe and Africa. The U.S. had a small intelligence force, with the CIA’s founding in September 1947. By 1950, the CIA was still prioritizing areas to watch and spend assets.
  • The U.S. had won World War II, creating a sense of false confidence that no country would have the audacity to attack the U.S. America was the strong victor who had beaten the Germans, Italians and Japanese. But the U.S. did not take into account that other countries saw the massive drawdown and shrinkage of our active military after WWII.
  • Military and government leaders did not rigorously review intelligence collection management or intelligence collection requirements. The Army was otherwise occupied with disarming former WWII foes. Korea ended the war as occupied Japanese territory and later broke up into North and South Korea. Russia gained influence in North Korea after this division.
  • U.S. military and civilian intelligence services were unprepared for an imminent battle. There was a prevailing sense among intelligence leaders that “a new battle cannot happen,” which proved to be wrong. Even during peacetime, it is wise to be aware of potential combat possibilities and probabilities.

Insufficient Military Forces and Logistics Failure Contributed to US Failure to Anticipate Invasion

Military planners should remember that the military manning the Korean peninsula was insufficient to quickly deploy and logistics had degraded. The 1st Marine Division was not fully prepared to deploy from California and newly recruited Marines had to do their training on the ships that conveyed them to the battlefield. Also, combat personnel had inappropriate footwear for the climate; there were stories of people with dress shoes in wintertime combat.

History shows that most drawdowns go too far. Often, enemies see the possibility for them to advance due to a recent drawdown, especially during the early period of a new war.

Constant Vigilance Against Enemies is Always Vital

This invasion was also an important lesson to intelligence professionals, especially in the military. They must always be energetic and alert for the next December 7 or June 25. Being in the military is not an easy profession. No one hears about the minor successes, but everyone knows mistakes can be costly.

South Korean Post-War Economy Recovers with US Support

U.S. troops have been in Korea since 1945, when they accepted the surrender of Japanese troops at the end of WWII. Many people wonder if remaining in Korea is worth it.

Seoul is a noteworthy story of economic recovery and success after a devastating war. It is an economic power and a member of a vibrant, international business community. The American military assisted in that growth by providing military protection and support. Early on, U.S. support fed a starving population in South Korea. Later, the U.S. helped South Korea to create a strong military for defending the country.

American military support, the Peace Corps and foreign aid all built Korea into a strong country that is now a world-recognized economic power. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranks South Korea as the 11th most powerful economy in the world.

The United States took over 200 years to get to our strong economic position. Korea did it in 60 years, going from abject poverty to economic strength with U.S. support.

Strategic Lessons to Be Learned From Korean War

We rarely talk about North Korea’s surprise attack at the start of the Korean War. But it is important to remember our failures and avoid repeating our mistakes. We should remember, that in an attack, the enemy has a vote in the outcome of a battle. Adequate battle preparation can be a decisive factor in combat and can defeat unexpected invasions.

About the Author

James Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded the 40th scholarship for national security students and professionals. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence within the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, contractor, and civil service. James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. He has served in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis and at the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office. James had an active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and also served 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” and a new book “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea.”

I Want A National Security Job

Commentary by a Former Federal Hiring Manager

By James Lint and Juico Bowley

People often tell me that they want a national security job.

“I want to be as rich and as smart as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet!” Determined young professionals would wishfully exclaim. Quickly, I steer the conversation to get a better idea of what his goals are, and how he plans to achieve them. Everyone should realize that there are opportunities to learn everywhere, in every setting. While graduating with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is a great accomplishment and step in the right direction, there is much more to learn beyond going to college

Spring Breaks

I asked the future national security worker what he did on Spring Break? He said nothing on a recent break, but on an earlier break he went to Cancun, Mexico.

He did nothing during a break from college for a week?  Could his time been better allocated to his goal or did he waste that time?  Did he take a certification exam? Did he go on interviews for an intern program?

During the Spring Break in Cancun, what did he learn?  Was the style or speed of the internet different? Was the keyboard different? (Try using a keyboard in a cyber cafe in Korea or Russia, and you might see some differences.) The cyber cafes’ you visited, did they have antivirus? Or malware defense software? Was the system locked down or wide open, so you could see elements of the network that may indicate a level of security?

There is lots to learn anytime and anywhere.

Summer Breaks

There are many opportunities for internships in the summer.  Many are unpaid internships. You pay for learning in college. Internships are learning expenses, and you may not make money on them, but you will learn about corporate culture, and a different view from college level academics.

Summer is a time for job hunting and internship hunting. It is not about your comfort or having a great party.  How will you answer the question from a hiring manager, “What did you do on your last two summer breaks?”  This will tell the manager if you are focused on the job, or a time waster.  Are you pursuing your goals or hoping to obtain them by luck?

How Was His Job Hunting?

I asked a recent graduate how his job hunting was going? He said he was waiting to find a good job fair.  My question was “Why are you not sending resumes to their Human Resources (HR)?” HR departments like to maintain a large database of people who want a job with them. If you do not send in many applications and resumes to the HR departments, they will never know you are available.

The Importance of The Job Series Number

When a recent graduate and job hunter was asked what job series they wanted to pursue in the federal government, they said Cyber or maybe IT. In federal government hiring, you are not applying for maybe. You apply for a job with a job series number. You should know the four-digit number, or you lose credibility. You need to do research. Below is a sample of some federal cyber defender jobs series.

0080 Security Administration

0132 Intelligence

1811 Criminal Investigation

2210 Information Technology Management

1550 Computer Science

0854 Computer Engineering

Interestingly, the USAJOBS website has a good translator of federal job series to college majors. There are many areas to learn about working in the government. In the end, it can be very rewarding and decision making is unlike many places in business.

Be Mindful of Your Time and Spend it Wisely

How you use your time, and how you focus on your goals will be evaluated by good hiring managers. Use your time wisely and set goals. Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet obtain their goals because of the great focus of effort they place on each goal..   Goal oriented people achieve …more goals!  Evaluate your efforts to obtain your goal. A question job hunters should ask is, “Am I pursuing my goals, or hoping to obtain them by luck?”  Guess which one will be the most successful?  Learn to document and articulate your goals. What can you do to improve your success?

Sample goals for a weekend may be:

–Discover, research and understand four federal job series.

–Send two applications for jobs at two different HR departments or into USAJOBS

–Learn one new tidbit of knowledge from reading IT/Cyber Defense blogs.

Don’t stop there!  Start a list right now and be sure to include some of your new weekend goals  on our Facebook page or our federal employment focused Facebook page.

About the Authors

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. James has been involved in cyberespionage events from just after the turn of the century in Korea supporting 1st Signal Brigade to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis as the first government cyber intelligence analyst. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, government contracting and civil service.

Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded its 51st scholarship for national security students and professionals. James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. He has also served in the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office after his active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba, in addition to numerous CONUS locations. In 2017, he was appointed to the position of Adjutant for The American Legion, China Post 1. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” a book published in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea,” and a book in 2017 Secrets to Getting a Federal Government Job.”

Juico Bowley is currently a volunteer with the Lint Center. His efforts are dedicated to facilitating the education and promotion of National Security and Counterintelligence.

A Cause of Concern – Understanding the Counterintelligence Threat Through A Case Study of Ana Belen Montes

by Hilary Minkler
Published with Permission

In January of 1961 the United States officially severed the political, economic and monetary relationship with Cuba, due to flourishing relationship with Russia and consistent dissatisfaction with Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. One of the effects of this relationship is the decided requirement from Cuba to increase covert operations in order to receive information and understanding of the social climate within the U.S. Government concerning U.S./Cuba and Cuba/Russia ties.[1] This concept led to the recruitment of Ana Belen Montes, one of the most successful spies of her time, in the league of Aldrich Ames and the Cambridge Five concerning effectiveness and longevity.

Ana Montes was born in 1957 at a U.S. Army installation in Germany, to Alberto and Emilia Montes. Her parents, of Puerto Rican decent were successful in their own right, Alberto worked as a U.S. Army doctor until starting his own practice in Baltimore after exiting the service; her mother worked as an activist and eventually a leader in the Puerto Rican community in Baltimore.[2] Ana had two siblings, Tito and Lucy, Lucy has continued to make public statements following Ana’s arrest, stating that she believes her parents divorce and the following had a lot to do with the mental state of Ana and the easy recruitment.

Ana attended college at the University of Virginia, with one year spent studying abroad in Spain, and then following on to attain a masters at John Hopkins University. She graduated University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs in 1979 and in 1988 obtained her masters in Advanced International Studies.[3] Colleagues and peers that have since come forward stating that during her time at John Hopkins her anti U.S. sentiment was apparent as well as her incredible distain for President Ronald Reagan.

She was recruited in 1984, a peer attending John Hopkins befriended her, she would soon find out he was actually a Cuban intelligence officer.[4] Apparently minimal convincing was needed for Montes to agree, Ana identified with the cause and believed the U.S. should stay out of foreign affairs.[5] When discussing the numerous reasons for someone to spy, monetary gain, to ideological gain is the main dividend or gain from their transgressions, in this case it was ideological. Depicted in recent quotes from Ana behind bars, “Prison is one of the last places I would have ever chosen to be in, but some things in life are worth going to prison for, or worth doing and then killing yourself before you have to spend too much time in prison.”[6]

Ana quickly attained a job within the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and ascended a throne to being crowned the Queen of Cuba.[7] During this time, she was awarded over 10 prestigious appurtenances from the DIA and even taken on fact finding trips to Cuba. Her position not only allowed her placement and access but the ability to soften U.S. policy against Cuba or perception within the intelligence community through production, agreeing with her viewpoints. Additionally, her grade was that of a GS-16, she had access to hundreds of thousands of documents and would typically sit at her desk even through lunch in hopes to memorize the document in order to later transcribe it.[8] Her abilities gave her notoriety within the DIA and led to minimal thoughts of her allegiances, in retrospect, DIA analysts usually shift within their Area of Responsibility and take on different problems sets, Ana was a Cuban analyst for an excessive amount of time comparatively.

Obviously, her tradecraft was not flawless, because she eventually was caught, however Ana spied and relied information successfully for sixteen years.[9] Ana was taught directly from Cuban handlers how to use a code to communicate with them directly or in case of emergency, how to successfully do dead drops/hand offs, and even how to successfully evade a polygraph test. Most intriguing is the one pad system that was relayed over radio frequency. Cuban’s acknowledge that to run a source for so long they would need to repeatedly change their one pad system and would broadcast a new set of 150 numbers to Ana on AM frequency 7887 kHz, minding you that the code would remain in Spanish.[10] Significantly different from other high-level spies, Ana actually met her handlers every few weeks face to face and handed off information directly over a meal, typically Chinese food.

In 1996 Ana tipped off her superior by failing to follow typical protocol, and while this had no ramifications at the time, four years later it drew attention to her when the DIA believed they had a mole.[11] After tracing encryption disks back to her laptop the FBI began surveillance on Ana in hopes to catch her in the act. They started with simply following her, this is where they saw her using random payphones to message her handlers, then they found her shortwave radio used for messaging from her handlers. Finally, the FBI searched her purse and found her one pad system, confirming the transcription of messages.

The DIA and FBI’s message following her arrest depicts that they basically got lucky when catching Ana, she had provided the Cuban’s with an arsenal of information. She also tipped information about U.S. Special Forces in Latin America in hopes of the information being pushed to successfully target them. Her intelligence efforts strategically impacted and shaped Cuba’s perceptions of the United States while providing them insight into our additional foreign affairs concerning their nation. Within the intelligence community, Ana’s polygraph trick directly impacted polygraph protocol, now there is a gauge on the seating to check for sphincter tightening (the method she was taught) to deceive the machine. Her intelligence sharing have directly led to deaths and casualties that would have forced her to be charged with murder however she received twenty-five years in a brokered deal.

Ideology is one of the hardest things to impact in war and peace, Ana’s ideology could never be shaken, as most had no idea how rooted her life was in the Latin American cause. Ana’s ability two work for almost two decades as an analyst with the ability to retain new information and access high level documents with no one thinking twice about her additional activities. Ana will continue to provide debriefings until 2023, on tradecraft and Cuban affairs, regardless of U.S. and Cuban relations

[1] Office of the Historian. n.d. A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Cuba. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[2] McCoy, Terrence. 2014. Cuba deal reveals new clues in case of Ana Montes, ‘the most important spy you’ve never heard of’. December 18. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[3] Patterson, Thomas. 2016. The most dangerous U.S. spy you’ve never heard of. July 11. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Howlett, Charles. 2011. Spies, wiretaps, and secret operations: An Encyclopedia of American Espionage. Santa Barbra, CA: ABC-CLIO .

[6] Popkin, Jim. n.d. Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven’t heard of her. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[7] Intel Diary Today Staff. 2017. The Queen of Cuba: The two stories of Ana Montes. July 7. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[8] Popkin, Jim. n.d. Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven’t heard of her. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[9] Latell, Brian. 2014. New revelations about Cuban spy Ana Montes. August 2. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[10] Groll, Elias. 2014. The Mysterious Cuban Spy at the Center of Obama’s Havana Rapprochement. December 18. Accessed December 28, 2017.

[11] Patterson, Thomas. 2016. The most dangerous U.S. spy you’ve never heard of. July 11. Accessed December 28, 2017.


Cereijo, Manuel. n.d. Ana Belen Montes: The chronicle of an American Spy for the Cuban Government. Newspaper Article, Latin American Studies. Accessed December 28, 2017.

FBI Staff. n.d. FBI History: Ana Montes: Cuban Spy. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Groll, Elias. 2014. The Mysterious Cuban Spy at the Center of Obama’s Havana Rapprochement. December 18. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Howlett, Charles. 2011. Spies, wiretaps, and secret operations: An Encyclopedia of American Espionage. Santa Barbra, CA: ABC-CLIO .

Intel Diary Today Staff. 2017. The Queen of Cuba: The two stories of Ana Montes. July 7. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Latell, Brian. 2014. New revelations about Cuban spy Ana Montes. August 2. Accessed December 28, 2017.

McCoy, Terrence. 2014. Cuba deal reveals new clues in case of Ana Montes, ‘the most important spy you’ve never heard of’. December 18. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Office of the Historian. n.d. A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Cuba. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Patterson, Thomas. 2016. The most dangerous U.S. spy you’ve never heard of. July 11. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Popkin, Jim. n.d. Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven’t heard of her. Accessed December 28, 2017.

Whitney, W. T. 2017. Defending Ana Belen Montes and Other Prisoners of Empire. September 8. Accessed December 28, 2017.

LC Winner’s Report on Asia Travel

UPDATE: March 2018

The Lint Center is always pleased to hear from scholarship recipients who are already exploring the world and bringing back insights and knowledge from their travels.

Andrew Ertl, who  ‘Jim & Anna Hyonjoo Lint’ scholarship award in 2016, took a trip through Shanghai, Vietnam, and Seoul, South Korea. He took full advantage of the experience, visiting everything from a hockey game to an ice sculpture festival.

Andrew made a point of stopping at sites that were important both to his studies and to his past as a Marine. In Hue, outside the imperial citadel, I bumped into two former Marines who fought there (one of the Vietnam War’s toughest fights) 50 years ago. Andrew said, “Hearing about some of their experiences was something I will take with me forever. Next I stopped by Danang, the only reason for doing so was to see the site where Marines came ashore in March 1965 (Nam O Beach–which kicked off the United States’ rapid escalation).”

He also said, “Of all the places I visited in Ho Chi Minh City, one of the most impactful was visiting the American Consulate General (which used to be the US Embassy) and where the Viet Cong broke in on January 30, 1968 during which two Marine guards (a job I used to do) died in its defense. Aaron O’Connell wrote a book called “Underdogs: The Making of the Modern Marine Corps” in which he likens the Marine Corps to a religion. He is correct and I was on a pilgrimage.”

Andrew is now back in Beijing. We will be looking forward to seeing what projects and cultural experiences Andrew takes on next.

The Russian Militarization of the Arctic: the Responsibility of NATO to Counter Russian Aggression

by Jonathan Deemer
Published with Permission

Problem Statement:

Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the Russian Presidency, the Russian Federation has pursued an aggressive policy of militarization of the Arctic. Not only is Russia revamping Soviet-era bases near the Finnish border and in northern Siberia, it is also constructing 1 new bases off the Russian mainland extending to Aleksandra Island (the northernmost island of the Franz Josef Land Archipelago) and Sredny Ostrov. It is no coincidence that the U.S. Geological Survey has detected an estimated 726 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits and 30 billion barrels of oil in the Amerasian and West Siberian Basins of the Arctic Circle, representing 13% of the globe’s oil and 30% of its natural gas reserves.2, 3 With a warming global climate making Arctic drilling and extraction activities ever more possible, the Russian militarization of the Arctic is an effort to legitimize a claim to the wealth of untapped resources north of the 66th parallel.

This presents a particular problem to U.S. interests abroad because of the nature of Russia’s international clout. In the words of U.S. Senator John McCain, Russia functions mainly as “a gas station masquerading as country.” Though Russia has displayed willingness to use hard power in campaigns in Georgia and eastern Ukraine, Russia’s true strength come from its natural resources, namely oil and gas. In fact, in 2016, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading producer of oil and gas.4 It weaponizes these resources and uses them as a dangerous tool of leverage. For example, Western Europe’s ever-present political tension with Russia is underscored by the fact that Russia supplied the EU with 40% of its 2016 natural gas imports.5 One could argue that such a trade dependency has played a role in Russia’s uncontested annexation of Crimea. Should Russia confiscate these Arctic resources, Russia will have an even greater capacity to foment insurrection and advance Russian interests worldwide, interests which are explicitly contradictory to U.S. and Western interests of freedom and democracy.

Policy Proposal:

At present, NATO and the United States lack a well-developed strategy to address and counter Russian aggression in the Arctic. Traditionally, and understandably, NATO forces have amassed in Eastern European Russian-border states pursuant to geopolitical necessity. The headquarters of both U.S. European and African Commands are located in southern Germany, with U.S. plans to construct new bases in northern Germany to expand its presence. Instead of housing more troops in Western European countries with larger militaries and stronger ties to the West, NATO and the United States should instead pursue a renewed strategy of containment, constructing military installations in two specific regions: northern Norway and northwestern Alaska.

Expanding on a January 2017 reshuffling of troops that led to 300 U.S. Marines being stationed at Vaernes Air Base, NATO should construct bases in the Norwegian states of Nordland, Troms, and Finnmark. At the same time, military installations in the Northwest Arctic, North Slope, and Kotzebue Sound would provide a NATO presence at the mouth of the Northern Sea Route. An already-established Canadian and Danish military presence on the opposite side of the Arctic and in Greenland would complete this strategy of containment. Russia would find itself with NATO forces to the west in Norway, the east in Alaska, and to the north across the Arctic. Any Russian territorial claims could be legitimately disputed and Russia would largely be limited to resources found on the Russian mainland, maintaining the global power equilibrium and advancing U.S. interests abroad.

Challenges of Implementation:

Our reality is world of scarce and finite resources. Therefore, any diversion of NATO troops to pursue such a strategy would inevitably leave NATO less formidable elsewhere, namely in Western Europe. It is, then, wise to be cautious. Still, a number of things must be considered when analyzing the viability of this policy. First, the suggested action is responsive—not preemptive. This means that, in order for NATO to redirect resources to the Arctic, Russia must have had to do so first. It is common knowledge that the mantra of NATO is “an attack on one is an attack on all”. Though brash at times, Russian foreign policy and military intervention is not random or naive. Russia knows it cannot match U.S. military hard power, let alone the full force of NATO. Should Russia decide to pursue a military response to this strategy, it would inexorably be met with overwhelming force. Even when it utilizes its military, Russian action must meet prerequisites: it must be justifiable (mistreatment of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine) and the target country must not identify strongly with the West (Georgia, Ukraine, etc). Leaving Western Europe more vulnerable to direct Russian attack, for lack of a better term, calls Russia’s bluff.

Finally, in the summer of 2017, the Russian budget for Arctic exploration and development underwent drastic changes. The budget was slashed from ₽209 billion to ₽12 billion, even as the scope of the program was extended until only 2025. One might be tempted6 to think that this is representative of a Russian retraction from the Arctic. However, this is not so. Over half the new budget will be spent on an ice-class drifting platform for Arctic research, and in addition to the 12 billion rubles provided by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Defense will also be contributing ₽34 billion, according to RBC.7 This action is nothing more than a response to the effect of sanctions and lowered oil prices on the Russian economy.

1 Reevell, Patrick. “Russia flaunts Arctic expansion with new military bases” ABC News . Apr. 29, 2017.

2 Houseknecht, D.W., Bird, K.J., and Garrity, C.P., “Assessment of undiscovered petroleum resources of the Amerasia Basin Petroleum Province:
U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report” U.S. Geological Survey, 16 Nov. 2012.

3 Klett, T.R., “Assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources of the West Siberian Basin Province” U.S. Geological Survey . 15 June 2011.

4 “Russia.” BP Global , 1 Jan. 2017.

5 Mazneva, Elena. “Putin’s Russia Seen Domination European Gas for Two Decades.” Bloomberg Markets , 28 Feb. 2017.

6 Staalesen, Atle.”Russia makes new big cuts in Arctic spending” The Independent Barents Observer . July 5, 2017.

7 Podobedova, Lyudmila. “ Правительство задумалось о сокращении расходов на Арктику в 17 раз” RBC Information Systems . June 30, 2017

Sequester and Furloughs: It’s Discount Espionage Time

Published with Permission by:
Coleman, Timothy & Lint, James R., “Sequester and Furloughs: It’s Discount Espionage Time”, Homeland Security Today, 15 July 2013, Web,

On his deathbed in 1801, legend has it that the infamous American Continental Army Gen. Benedict Arnold, a hero of the battles of Ticonderoga and Saratoga who defected to the British Army, uttered his regret: “Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.”

But while scholars have debated the prevailing historical wisdom that Arnold’s treasonous conversion was motivated by his frustration at having been passed over for promotion and outraged that others took credit for his achievements and military victories, a congressional investigation indicted his motivation was purely financial — he was nearly penniless, having spent much of his own money on the American war effort. But when he joined the British Army as a brigadier general, the Red Coats gave him what was then a very generous pension and a £6,000 signing bonus.

It’s a familiar story, though: money, or ideology; sometimes both.

For American traitor Navy communications officer John Walker, Jr., his motivation for nearly two-decades of spying for the Soviets (which included providing “enough code-data information to alter significantly the balance of power between Russia and the United States”), was purely financial, prosecutors said.

Heavily in debt and bitter that his brilliance had gone unrecognized, veteran CIA Soviet counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames — among other things — sold to the KGB the identities of the CIA’s agents secreted throughout the Soviet spy agency.

FBI Soviet counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen spied for Soviet, and then Russian, intelligence services for 22 years also partly due to the same frustrations that tormented Ames, but also partly, it seemed according to prosecutors, because of the tastes of an expensive mistress. The Justice Department’s Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs said Hanssen “possibly [was] the worst intelligence disaster in US history.”

While these turncoats spied against their country during an espionage boom when the Soviet’s were quite willing to cut CEO-equivalent paychecks for such big fish, they were the exceptions rather than the rule. In today’s austere espionage market economy, brought on by sequester and furloughs, foreign intelligence services are far more likely to ensnare a broke and bitter GG-13 with access to secrets for a bargain basement price.

Foreign Intelligence Security Services (FISS) still keep a keen eye out for the Walkers, Ames, and Hanssens, but they’re also spending a great deal more time assessing the vulnerabilities of the many lower level military and Intelligence Community (IC) employees who have access to valuable secrets.

For decades, the US military, IC and contractors have been required to not only continuously evaluate their workforces for eligibility to access classified information, but also to be on the lookout for signs and indicators of potentially treasonous espionage from within their ranks. This includes the criminal leaking under the nation’s espionage laws of the nation’s most closely guarded foreign intelligence collection operations — — espionage operations former National Security Agency (NSA) and CIA director, AF Gen. (Ret.) Michael Hayden, recently pointed out that all nations’ intelligence services engage in.

Consequently, the failure of the early warning system to alert what NSA contractor Edward Snowden was up to has provoked an intensive investigation into whether there were, in fact, signs and indicators that someone had observed that weren’t properly reported. Former NSA official John R. Schindler recently remarked that Snowden’s security clearance background investigation was “clearly flawed.”

The threat of penetration by FISS is ever-present, and the Army trains its soldiers as well as civilian employees to always be vigilant. Training and awareness efforts are clearly articulated under US Army Regulation 382-12, Threat Awareness and Reporting Program (TARP), revised by the US Army on Oct. 4, 2010.

Formerly known as Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the US Army (SAEDA), TARP outlines the policy and responsibilities for threat awareness and reporting within the US Army. Specifically, it requires Department of the Army (DA) personnel to report any information to counterintelligence offices regarding known or suspected espionage, international terrorism, sabotage, subversion, theft or illegal diversion of military technology, information systems intrusions and unauthorized disclosure of classified information, among other required security and espionage concerns.

As the revised directive states: “The primary focus of this regulation is to ensure that DA personnel understand and report potential threats by foreign intelligence and international terrorists to the Army. Threat awareness and education training is designed to ensure that DA personnel recognize and report incidents and indicators of attempted or actual espionage, subversion, sabotage, terrorism or extremist activities directed against the Army and its personnel, facilities, resources and activities; indicators of potential terrorist associated insider threats; illegal diversion of military technology; unauthorized intrusions into automated information systems; unauthorized disclosure of classified information; and indicators of other incidents that may indicate foreign intelligence or international terrorism targeting of the Army.

Following the digital data dump of roughly a quarter-million State Department cables — six percent of which were classified “Secret” and the rest were either “Confidential” or unclassified  — accessed via classified Internet networks and downloaded onto thumb drives by low-level, but sufficiently cleared 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, Private First Class Bradley Manning, President Obama on October 07, 2011, issued Executive Order 13587 that required government-wide “structural reforms to improve the security of classified networks and the responsible sharing and safeguarding of classified information.”

The order applies to “all agencies that operate or access classified computer networks, all users of classified computer networks (including contractors and others who operate or access classified computer networks controlled by the federal government), and all classified information on those networks …”

All of these security efforts are not without justifiable reasons. Cleared personnel can become the target for recruitment by foreign spies and hostile intelligence services by no fault of their own. It is simply the reality and consequence of having access to classified information and sensitive US government secrets.

Not access alone

It is not only access to classified information that makes one an inviting target, however, there are other activities that increase the desirability. In fact, any Army team member/employee and or soldier can be targeted because of where they are stationed, where they travel or even because of an ethnic or cultural background of particular interest.

It should be noted and emphasized that being a target for recruitment does not necessarily reflect poorly on an individual. The opposite also applies, especially if the reason a specific person is targeted is because of his or her susceptibility to recruitment or exposure to compromise. Even so, just being a target does carry with it embedded risk factors, as it clearly increases the potentiality that a weakness or pressure point can be discovered and exploited by foreign intelligence collectors.

Targets of convenient opportunity

The historical record clearly demonstrates that US personnel with security clearances are regularly targeted. ‘By hook or by crook,’ foreign counterintelligence agents have repeatedly been able to entice Americans to commit treason. The question then quickly becomes, what is it that makes America and would-be patriots such inviting targets of opportunity?

Prominent and well-publicized instances of Americans turned traitors shows that monetary reward and financial gain are very often a major driving factor in the equation. In turn, it should come as no surprise that foreign intelligence agents seeking new, well-placed assets often examine the financial circumstances and standing of identified potential targets.

Financial difficulties provides an initial and eventually lucrative ingress of potential exploitable temptation to facilitate the evolution of an individual’s compromise – and eventual treason. But it is generally not the only factor that’s in play in the targeting and recruitment effort.

Win, place or show: An espionage trifecta

Another and sometimes more nefarious element to recruitment can include exploiting personal feelings of disillusionment, anger, frustration and disappointment. These emotions can exist for a multitude of reasons, and can run the gamut from being passed over for a promotion, feeling underappreciated at work, disgruntled with the Army … or even America itself. These beliefs– indications of which can openly manifest as attitudes of anger and resentment — are recognized by foreign intelligence services’ case officers as openings to manipulate a potential target into justifying his or her espionage.

This can all add up to a desired trifecta of opportunity for a foreign counterintelligence case officer – a potent, readily exploitable human Petri dish seething with psychological, financial and other stressors that make the person a target ripe for recruitment.

An individual who possesses a security clearance, has financial problems and is disgruntled poses a dangerous triad … and a compounding problem for counterintelligence interdiction efforts. In the end, a counterintelligence target that embodies the aforementioned trifecta is one that has two more levers to pull, and two more pressure points than is required for an FISS to target.

This trifecta, in essence, can define the elements required for the low-hanging fruit of an American traitor that’s ripe for the picking.

Catch more flies with honey

With the current budgetary environment, furloughs the talk of the town, and sequestration the topic of water cooler chatter, low-hanging fruit that bear the elements of trifecta targets are sure to abound. Just a superficial reading of “Letters to the Editor” in various magazines and publications widely read by federal employees and members of the military makes the case for a target-rich environment for foreign agents. The problem is compounded by a growing segment of government personnel — many of whom likely hold security clearances — venting their frustration and anger in Internet blog comments, making them identifiable potential targets for recruitment.

Disgruntled individuals that publicly voice their justifiable concerns make easy work for foreign intelligence operatives who seek potential turncoats of opportunity. In many respects, it would appear as though potential opportunities for penetration are being served up on a silver platter at an all you can eat buffet where the chow line stretches around the proverbial corner!

We could even say that we are ensuring job advancement prospects for foreign intelligence agents and providing the very fodder for enemy promotions with such a perfect storm for motivating espionage from within our own ranks.

Consequences of context

Currently, sequester and  current furloughs are expected to impact soldiers with great effect. Stress and greater work scrutiny, coupled to an increase in regulations, and some early outs will cause worry among all ranks of the Army. Inevitably, this will extend into the civilian workforce, particularly with an estimated 20 percent pay cut caused by the recent start of 11 weeks of furlough.

While 99.9 percent of the individuals who are likely to be the hardest hit are loyal and dedicated American patriots, there nevertheless will be a small percentage whose financial hardships and other life stresses become so overwhelming that the resulting discontent and dissatisfaction will make them vulnerable to persuasion by foreign intelligence operatives, whose efforts to entrap these susceptible and exposed targets will require little effort at all.

The certainty of maybe not today

As accurate and apropos as the adage, “if you play with fire you will get burned,” is, it is vital to understand that if you commit espionage, you will be caught.

The Army’s military intelligence and counterintelligence organizations are designed to protect soldiers and employees from espionage threats and FISS espionage overtures. These entities and their work remains key to protecting the technological advances that give American soldiers the edge on the battlefield. Army counterintelligence have partnered with the FBI and have taken down important foreign recruitment operations. While trifecta targets may, in turn, be a target rich environment for FISS recruitment, one should assume that Newton’s thirdlaw of motion applies to counterintelligence: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

To be specific, Army counterintelligence units have, and continue, to partner with the FBI on very important espionage investigations. Disgraced former US Army National Security Agency SIGINT analyst David Sheldon Boone’s 24 year and four month sentence for espionage on behalf of the former Soviet Union is proof positive that treason will be dealt with. Boone was arrested following a successful sting operation by the FBI in 1999 that was supported in large part by Army counterintelligence. According to press reports at the time, Boone decided to become a Soviet spy in order to alleviate “severe financial and personal difficulties” — a familiar refrain sung by many other American traitors in financial trouble.

Remaining true to the core values

It is not by accident that loyalty is the first word cited in the Seven Core Army Values. It is also isn’t accidental that the US Army is composed of both solders and civilians who know the importance of the mission at hand, and therefore go well above and beyond what is expected of them in their service to their country.

Nevertheless, because of current operating environments, tempos and the resulting pressures, there should be no doubt that there’s a well-trained cadre of highly proficient foreign intelligence professionals out there who are operating in overdrive. Like barbarians breaching the gate, or a pack of hungry wolves surrounding a campfire, we have no alternative other than to remain more vigilant than we’ve ever been, especially given that our enemies today have far better knowledge and understanding of the stresses that are on America’s Army workforce. This is why supporting your battle buddies, knowing your left and right flanks and having your six covered will get us through this time of seemingly unprecedented tribulations with our core security values intact.

It’s easy to imagine especially hostile foreign governments and their intelligence services plotting and rejoicing as they undoubtedly regard our furloughs and sequestration as a euphemism for discount espionage.

And a “discount espionage” opportunity almost assuredly is apparent in the minds of our avowed adversaries, as they understand that it’s now far cheaper to buy not just one, but perhaps many, Benedict Arnolds today than it was during, say, the Cold War era of President Ronald Reagan. The return on a foreign intelligence service’s investment has been made inherently worth the risk because of the cut-rate prices they can get away with paying today to comprise disgruntled, financially overextended and security cleared individuals. Like it or not, these individuals are perceived as virtually undemanding targets for espionage recruitment operations.

It is for this reason we must aggressively boost our awareness, redouble our vigilance and steadfastly support our fellow co-workers. The Army has a series of vitally important programs in place to take care of our people, yet they’re often underutilized. And they’re not new programs — many were launched more than half-a-century ago. But over time, they’ve become overlooked, underappreciated and underutilized. For those in uniform who may be experiencing a financial crisis, the Army Community Services, Employee Assistance Programs and organizational Chaplains are there to counsel and provide spiritual guidance. Financial counseling and assistance is also available.

Your Army, as well as those who lead it — are ready, willing and able to do their part. But it’s also the duty and responsibility for  all government employees, uniformed or civilian, to be vigilant and help your fellow soldier and office worker. It is one Army, and one team — and we are dependent on that more today than ever before.

Remember, inaction begets targeting. Targeting invites compromise, and compromise precipitates contrition. But forgiveness for treason remains unattainable.

James R. Lint served in the United States military for over 20 years, in both the US Marine Corps (7 years) and US Army (14 years). He spent three years in Marine Infantry, four years as a Marine Counterintelligence specialist, and nearly 15 years as an Army Counterintelligence Special Agent. Lint has expertise in counterintelligence, cyber intelligence, security, information assurance, terrorism studies, counterterrorism, human intelligence collection and low-intensity asymmetric warfare.

Previously, Lint served as Deputy Director for Safeguards & Security, Office of Science, at the Department of Energy. And prior to that, he served at the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, where he was initially the lead cyber intelligence analyst and later the Chief of the Collection Analysis Team.

His military assignments include Korea, Germany and Cuba in addition to numerous CONUS locations. He currently serves as an Adjunct Professor at American Military University.

Timothy W. Coleman is a writer and security analyst who has co-founded two technology startup firms. He has a Masters of Public and International Affairs in Security and Intelligence Studies, and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance.

The views expressed in this article are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect official policy or the position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or any other department or agency within the US Government.