A nice new ‘start’ for the FBI in Greenbelt?

by bizroundtable on September 28, 2016

By Jeff Barnd, WJLA, published September 27, 2016 WJLA

WASHINGTON (ABC7) — This month, leaders from The University of Maryland’s College Park and Baltimore campuses announced a new plan for the Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security.

The Maryland Academy will, among other things, be able to mentor and recruit the next generation of national security professionals.

One of the top national security resources is the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), located on the University of Maryland College Park campus. START is now the preeminent source of terrorism data for the U.S. Government. It’s the world’s largest unclassified terrorism research, education and training center; and helps security organizations solve problems and provide solutions.

The newly announced Academy is slated to serve as a strategic partner for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other entities within the U.S. intelligence gathering community. It would undoubtedly be a convenient partnership between the Academy and the FBI should the bureau move to Greenbelt, Maryland. The FBI announced it would be relocating its headquarters to one of three possible locations: Greenbelt or Landover in Prince George’s County MD. The third is in Springfield, Virginia. A final decision to announce the location should happen by year’s end.

The Academy will use all the expertise at University of Maryland in terrorism and counter-terrorism studies, national security law, cybersecurity, criminal justice, intelligence analysis, crucial national security languages, homeland security and crisis management. It’ll also augment the vast experience of FBI personnel by providing professional education opportunities, from workshops to online simulations, to several graduate degree programs which could greatly help the FBI with the next generation of Homeland Security and counter-terrorism experts currently moving up the academic ranks.

START has been an invaluable source for nationwide media outlets, using their vast resources in ground-breaking data collection and allowing the media to broadcast those unclassified findings to viewers nationwide. START has also given its conclusions from empirical studies in terrorism and counter-terrorism to officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

The Maryland Academy seems to be the next logical step in helping the FBI at a very low cost with this innovative and collaborative venture.
“This is a really great opportunity to put the FBI in a place where there would just be natural benefits between the Bureau and the Academy,” says Bill Braniff, Executive Director at START. “There’s also the aspect of mass transit [if the FBI chooses Greenbelt, MD. for its new headquarters]. “The Greenbelt location sits on the Metro green line which of course is connected to the Department of Justice,” adds Braniff. “Soon there will be the purple line … connecting Bethesda to Silver Spring to College Park Maryland. So, you can imagine, this is a great opportunity to place the FBI headquarters in a location that’ll be easy for individuals to get to [Greenbelt], instead of the new headquarters choosing a spot far away from convenient mass transit.”

START officials say the FBI’s proposed Greenbelt locale combined with the newly formed Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security will be a convenient symbiotic relationship between like-minded partners.

This at a time when the U.S. National Security Community can use all the help it can get.

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