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CCU’s Intel Day brings intelligence industry practitioners and alumni to campus

April 20, 2022
Jonathan Smith is chair and professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies at CCU.CCU's Intelligence Operations Command Center is a blended classroom and briefing/conference room.

Coastal Carolina University’s Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, the newest department within the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, will hold Intel Day on Saturday, April 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., at locations throughout the CCU campus. The full-day conference highlights research and networking within the intelligence community.

Intel Day will include panels on research, career advice, and current and future intelligence trends from industry practitioners and CCU alumni. Featured panelists include current and former government officials from local, state, and national agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the SC Department of Corrections (SCDC). More than 20 practitioners and 12 CCU alumni will participate in the event.

CCU’s Intelligence and Security program, which has 350 undergraduates, was established within the Department of Politics in 2012 and became an independent department in July 2021.

Jonathan Smith, chair and professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, said the event is a valuable and unique opportunity on many levels.

“Intel Day is about student interactions with practitioners and alumni, and learning more about the field and career paths,” said Smith. “Given that this is the first year of the new department, we wanted to have an event that represented a culmination of the work we’ve been doing, but also offer a platform to engage our alumni and practitioners in the area.”

Intelligence Operations Command Center opening

Intel Day will conclude with the official opening of the Intelligence Operations Command Center (IOCC), an operational laboratory and briefing space, with a ribbon-cutting led by CCU President Michael T. Benson. The IOCC (located in Edwards Building 168) is a blended classroom and briefing/conference room that features blue lights, collaborative computer hubs, six-screen international television news center, 12-seat briefing table, and 8-time-zone dedicated clock.

The decision to blend Intel Day with the official opening of the IOCC is appropriate, Smith said, because it demonstrates how the program is building on its successes and looking toward the future.

“The IOCC offers more applied activities and also gives students some sense of what it’s like to operate in an intelligence facility, including the sights, sounds, and intangibles of the environment,” said Smith. “We hear time and time again from our students when they’re placed in the field that they’re better prepared than their contemporaries because of their experiences at CCU. The lab is just one more thing that helps us improve the quality of what we’re doing for our students.”

For more information on Intel Day, contact Smith at 843-349-6573 or For more information on the IOCC, contact Joseph Fitsanakis, director of the IOCC and professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, at 843-349-6618 or