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Barry Zulauf | International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) | Intelligence & Interview N.39 | Giangiuseppe Pili

IAFIE - Barry Zulauf
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I wanted to include a chapter to cover the International Association for Intelligence Education from the start of this series. I started being part of IAFIE in 2019, when I participated in the last pre-pandemic conference in New York (as I have already stated, one of the most interesting conferences in which I took part insofar). IAFIE always offered interesting updates, insights on the intelligence profession, and the opportunity to discover more about intelligence education. As one of the series’ missions is to bring as much as different experiences and visions as possible, IAFIE was always in my mind. As now the series has to end soon and the processes of translation and editing for the next two collective books for the Italian Society of Intelligence (SOCINT), it was the right time to invite Professor Barry Zulauf to join the conversation for covering IAFIE, which will hopefully have a news conference in Italy in 2022 (in Pordenone). There is a specific IAFIE chapter (for more on IAFIE’s chapters, see #6), IAFIE Europe. We already invited and interview other IAFIE members during the course of the series, but this time the interview is dedicated to IAFIE itself. Professor Zulauf doesn’t need any introduction for all intelligence educators and intelligence scholars. With more than 40 years as an educator and extensive direct experience in the intelligence profession, Professor Zulauf is the president of IAFIE and is an inspiration for all intelligence educators. This interview covers IAFIE’s mission, practices, and vision, and much more. Its history and evolution give a glimpse into the world of intelligence education. As a part of other interviews dedicated to substantially national societies and associations relevant for intelligence and security, this interview is instead devoted to bringing the eminently international case. I take the chance to all our readers to follow IAFIE, join it, and have a look at its website (recently renewed): It is then with my distinct pleasure to publish the interview on Scuola Filosofica – for those who don’t know it yet; it is one of the leading cultural blogs in Italy. In the name of Scuola Filosofica Team, our readers, and myself, Giangiuseppe Pili, Barry: thank you!

1# Professor Barry Zulauf, let’s start from the basics. How would you like to present yourself to the national and international readers?

I have been an educator at the undergraduate and graduate level for 40 years, and a professional all-source intelligence analyst for nearly 35 of those years.  I have also been a Naval Officer, with a combat tour in Afghanistan, retiring after 22 years.  There is no more satisfying job than teaching.  I have been able to touch thousands of young lives over the years, I have been a part of hundreds of them choosing careers in public service, national security, and intelligence.  I continue to be a friend and mentor to dozens of them – some who have risen to high positions in the Intelligence Community – Generals, Admirals, agency leaders.  There is no more important function for intelligence professionals than to prepare the next generation of intelligence leaders, and to make sure all intelligence professionals are aware of the requirements and have the intellectual tools needed to carry out objective analysis and perform ethical intelligence activities.

2# IAFIE was founded in 2004 by a group of scholars. What was the discussion that led to the IAFIE foundation? Why did they decide to establish this association? What was the situation in those days, and how nudged the appearance of the International Association for Intelligence Education?

Before IAFIE was founded, there wasn’t really a formalized way for professional intelligence educators to join their interests and efforts.  Some of us had gotten together in small groups, or in occasional colloquia, like those hosted by Mercyhurst University’s Intelligence Program.  That program, by the way, is really the flagship program for intelligence education, the pioneer.  Now there are many programs across the world and that is where IAFIE draws membership.  We decided in 2004 that we needed to have a formal, broadly conceived professional organization, and so IAFIE was born.  Our name describes what we do, we are an international professional association of intelligence educators (and trainers, and students).  We have come a long way since then.

Now, as the President of IAFIE, I have the privilege to lead the world’s premier professional association of intelligence educators, trainers, and students.   I’m so glad to be able to share thoughts with your readers.

3# This question springs only out of my curiosity: Was an IAFIE-like association possible in the Cold War? Is it the result of the new time? Did it stem out of the new era of openness or, instead, it is just by “chance” that it was established after the fall of the Iron Curtain?

When I was an undergraduate in the 1970s, and even as a graduate student in the 1980s, there was nothing like an open, well publicized academic program on intelligence studies.  My own academic work was in standard political history, comparative politics, and international relations.  I was interested in intelligence as a career and eventually got recruited – that is another story – but I learned very little about intelligence from university. There was an occasional course offered at a few universities, perhaps as part of a larger program on national security or international affairs.  There was very little available at the unclassified level about what intelligence professionals actually do, and only a few professors working in their own niche.  It wasn’t so much the Cold War that kept professional intelligence studies from taking hold in academia, but secrecy.  Professors who knew international relations didn’t tend to have had experience as intelligence professionals, and intelligence professionals either didn’t want to or didn’t have the academic qualifications to teach at the college level – generally, there were of course SOME exceptions.  That all changed two decades ago, not so much because of the fall of the Soviet Union but because more and more was coming available at the unclassified level, and more and more educators were gaining both professional experience in intelligence and academic credentials.  Starting with Mercyhurst, and now scores of programs across the United States and some in other counties all offer fully accredited academic programs in intelligence studies and whole generations of students from those programs go on to great careers in intelligence.

4# What is impressive about IAFIE is its general mission, which is beyond specific natural boundaries and addresses the international community. Indeed, as our readers know, many national associations or societies are currently active, devoted to exploring a similar goal at the national level. In your opinion, what is the relationship between national and international experiences in the intelligence domain (which is naturally very linked to each national experience for historical and linguistical reasons)?

While many of us, like me, are Americans, and a lot of our work focuses on intelligence in the United States we keep our main focus on the INTERNATIONAL part of our name.  We intentionally reach out to intelligence scholars across the world, on all continents except – insofar as I know, Antarctica.  We hold conferences around the world – Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, maybe next year in Italy – not just the U.S. Some of what we focus on might be particular to the national experience of particular intelligence organizations.  For example, I do a lot of my work on how we handle law enforcement intelligence here in the U.S.  Other work we do is applicable to, I think, ANY intelligence professionals.  For example, I am doing work on how to ensure objectivity in intelligence analysis.  Intelligence organizations develop their structure and function specific to their countries or cultures.  Educators have to be able to teach that specificity.  There are also many aspects of intelligence that, I think, are common to many if not all countries and cultures.   IAFIE can provide a platform for us to share lessons learned and best practices with our colleagues all around the world.

5# IAFIE’s mission is to advance “…knowledge, and professional development in intelligence education.” What are the main means through which IAFIE pursues its goals?

Our biggest event is our annual international conference.  The last one – pre-COVID was at St. John’s University in New York.  We hope to have our next in Italy in the Spring of 2022.  Typically we go back and forth between Europe, North America, and Australia.

We also hold a series of webinars and on-line mini-conferences between International conferences.  You will find information on these on our website:

We have chapters in Australia, Canada, Europe, and soon one in Africa, in addition to chapters in major urban areas in the U.S.  The chapters hold their own, local programs, bringing together educators, students and professionals from their areas for conferences, symposia and other activities.

We have a certification program, where we will look at any institution’s intelligence curriculum, provide helpful advice, and offer an IAFIE Certification.

We also sponsor an intelligence writing prize and award an Intelligence Educator of the Year.

In addition to individual members, we have academic institutions – colleges or universities – as members.  We have a new set of Student chapters and half a dozen schools (and growing), and we are always looking for corporate sponsors.

Come join us and see!

6# I found very intriguing the idea of “Forming a Chapter” in IAFIE. What are IAFIE chapters, and what role can they play in IAFIE’s mission?

We have chapters to foster IAFIE activity at the local level.  Chapters can bring together members in a metropolitan area, or a country, or a continent – depending on the density of members.  For example, we have a Chapter in New York as well as in Washington D.C. areas because of the concentration of colleges, universities, and government organizations.  We have a chapter for Australia – continent and country.  We are at the beginning stages of planning a chapter for Africa.

Any such group that are interested in forming a chapter can contact me or our Membership Chair Jim Ramsay at or our International Vice President Patrick Walsh at

We have also started to form Student chapters, where there are enough students – 10 or so – in intelligence programs.  We offer very, very cheap rates to them in order to get them into the organization in hopes they will remain as full members once they graduate.  All that takes is for a professor (has to be an IAFIE member) to agree to serve as the advisor.  Again, contact Jim Ramsay.

7# Recently, the discussion on training was revised to consider standards for the intelligence profession, namely trying to instill universal practices and values consistently to establish something that can be comparable to the medical and legal professions. How do you see the current situation in this sense?

Intelligence is getting more and more like the traditional professions – medicine and the law.  We are not quite there.  There is, for example, no intelligence equivalent of the AMA for us to police ourselves.  Medical Schools all over the world offer similar curriculum.  Increasingly intelligence studies programs in colleges and universities are offering more and more similar programs.  Our certification program is a service we offer to developing programs.  Not something we want to enforce in any way, but we offer it.  Contact our Educational Practices Chair, Michael Landon-Murray on

8# Let’s conclude with a vision: What has to be expected ahead of us in the fluid intelligence world, and how do you see IAFIE’s role in it?

There was a time when intelligence professionals held something of a monopoly on threat information about our enemies, and performed an almost exclusive service of serving our leaders with their context, analysis, and advice.  In the 21st century, data is ubiquitous, and the volume, variety, and velocity is beyond the ability of a single analyst, or a team of analysts, to process on their own.  We need in the coming years to focus more and more on sharing with our intelligence partners in other agencies and other countries.  IAFIE is all about building that culture of sharing.  We need to leverage the expertise of non-intelligence professionals, partners in the private sector, and harness the power of open sources.  IAFIE is all about building those partnerships.  Finally, we need to ensure the coming generations – our students – have not only the traditional intelligence values of curiosity, clear communication, integrity, objectivity – but also the flexibility of mind to enable them to meet the fluid environment you mention, and to be able to face threats we cannot even imagine yet.  IAFIE is all about framing that kind of education for our future intelligence leaders.

9# How can our readers follow you and IAFIE?

 Our website is:

My e-mail is

We are also on Facebook:

And on LinkedIn:

10# Five keywords that represent you?

Patriot, Teacher, Servant Leader (does that count as one or two?), Integrity

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