Dept. of Defense grant designates UAH, partners as Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence

IC CAE Scholar Corinne Peacher, front, and research scientists Jason Toone, left, and Charles Collins, right, with Dr. Sara Graves, center, in the IC CAE laboratory.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), with partners Alabama A&M University (AAMU) and Tuskegee University (TU), has been awarded a $2 million, three-year Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (IC CAE) grant by the United States Dept. of Defense to expand capabilities in critical technologies and to prepare students for careers in the intelligence community.

Key areas of study in the program are artificial intelligence, machine learning, data visualization, computational statistics/algorithm design and computer science analytic writing and briefing.

UAH’s Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC) will administer the grant, says Dr. Sara Graves, director of the ITSC and professor of computer science.

"The intelligence community needs to utilize technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze, mine and visualize the vast amounts of data being collected in a timely fashion," says Dr. Graves.

"Both ITSC and the UAH Department of Computer Science have a long record of excellence in research in the critical technologies demanded by the intelligence community," she says. "Our students are trained through coursework and research experience and are in high demand. They often complete internships, and have part-time jobs with local agencies or industry before they graduate."

A diverse cadre of IC CAE Scholars will learn the skills and have the experience to become eligible and competitive for internships and careers across the defense agencies. Students who are IC CAE Scholars will participate in workshops and colloquia, interact with distinguished speakers, and travel to conferences as they complete the course requirements. Students will work with faculty and research staff conducting critical technologies research.

Many of the courses students will take as part of the program are already available. Some topics are being offered as special topics courses. Seminars and workshops will provide additional training. IC CAE Scholars will be awarded IC CAE Certificates. UAH’s Department of Computer Science is submitting applications for approval of a Data Science certificate and concentration programs.

The consortium will develop an IC CAE Critical Technology Studies Program that provides the opportunity to earn credentials in critical technologies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

"The program will be evaluated based on the number of students placed in jobs with the intelligence community," Dr. Graves says. "The specialized training, internships opportunities and interactions with the intelligence community are expected to yield enhanced job placement opportunities within the intelligence community for students."

The Department of Defense grant provides funding to develop curriculum and enhance faculty expertise in critical technologies at all participating universities, Dr. Graves says.

"The IC CAE program benefits UAH by providing training for faculty in emerging areas of computer science; new opportunities for UAH students to acquire skills in high demand critical technologies; and opportunities for increased research collaboration with the intelligence community."


Dr. Sara Graves

Jim Steele


Popular Stories