OSI Special Agents graduate NIU following unique mentorship

  • Published
  • By Thomas Brading
  • OSI Public Affairs

Three Office of Special Investigations Special Agents graduated from the National Intelligence University June 28, following an academic experience helped shaped by one of their own.  

"Graduating from the National Intelligence University is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our agents. This achievement equips them with the advanced skills and knowledge needed to address the complexities of national security," said Lt. Col. Matthew Blake, OSI 2d Field Investigations Squadron commander and NIU professor. 

The graduates include Special Agents Andres Martinez, Gabe Nii and a third, unnamed individual (due to the sensitive nature of their assignment.) All three completed their rigorous academic programs and earned their degrees from this prestigious institution.

“NIU allowed me to see the bigger picture behind the strategic intelligence mission and make professional and personal connections across the intelligence community,” Martinez said, adding that he relished his time at NIU and appreciated the opportunity at this stage in his career.

Every year, OSI leaders select a small group of highly qualified members to attend NIU full-time to harness the academic side of their profession, Blake said. 

Blake knows firsthand the value of the NIU experience. The OSI senior leader has been teaching part-time as a collateral duty at NIU's master’s program since 2017, and was promoted to full professor of the practice last year.

“I’m very proud of our OSI graduates – the academic rigor of completing college studies in a classified environment is truly noteworthy," Blake said. “NIU is not for everyone, but for those who take on the challenge, it rewards them with unique perspectives on strategy, collaboration, and leadership that cannot be experienced at any other institution.”

Since 1962, NIU has played a pivotal role in developing leaders within the national security community when it was established as the Defense Intelligence School under the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

Over the decades, it has evolved into the Joint Military Intelligence College and later the National Defense Intelligence College, before adopting its current name in 2011 to reflect its expanded mission of fostering leadership across the entire federal government, not just within the Department of Defense.

According to its website, NIU is the center of academic life for the Intelligence Community – preparing today’s Intelligence Community leaders for tomorrow’s challenges. 

The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to grant both baccalaureate and master’s degrees in intelligence, while also housing an in-residence Joint Professional Military Education Phase I Program.  

According to Blake, one of the most unique attributes about NIU is that it facilitates studies, lectures, research papers, and theses in a secure facility where students can operate and conduct research in a classified setting.

“Our OSI graduates will integrate this experience into their counterintelligence and law enforcement work," Blake said. "They will find new and innovative ways to engage our adversaries and collaborate throughout the community.”