CIA Launches Signature School Program at The University of New Mexico

November 10, 2016


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) today launched its Signature School Program at The University of New Mexico (UNM). During a speech and visit to campus, CIA Director John O. Brennan spoke about future intelligence and security challenges and previewed the new program designed to provide more opportunities for UNM students.

Brennan emphasized that a diverse and talented workforce is critical to the success of the CIA’s global mission. The program will deepen cooperation between the Agency and the UNM and result in more opportunities for students and faculty to engage Agency officers and learn about employment opportunities. The Agency needs exceptional employees with a broad range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, language expertise, and educational and life experiences to ensure the diversity of thought to operate effectively worldwide. Brennan said, “Improving diversity at CIA is not simply a moral imperative—it is a mission imperative.”

“The CIA-UNM Signature School Program, the first of its kind in the nation, rests on two important factors: the rich academic programs at UNM across disciplines and fields of study, and the diversity of UNM students,” said Emile Nahkleh, Director of UNM’s Global and National Security Policy Institute. “It’s win-win for our students and faculty because the program will strengthen the students’ competitive edge in their search for careers in the federal government and in global and national companies and organizations.”

This initiative builds on the Director’s commitment to strengthening diversity and inclusion at the Agency. In 2014, Brennan commissioned the Diversity in Leadership Study (DLS) to examine factors limiting diversity in CIA senior leadership. CIA publicly released the DLS report in June 2015 and last month published an update on the study’s implementation. Both reports — as well as the CIA Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for 2016-2019 — are available at:

University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico is the state’s largest university, serving nearly 35,000 students. As a federally recognized Hispanic-serving institution, UNM represents a cross-section of cultures and backgrounds and is noted for comprehensive undergraduate programs and research that benefits the state and the nation. UNM is also home to a number of world-class research units including the Center for High Technology Materials, Mind Research Network and the Center for Advanced Research Computing.

Central Intelligence Agency

CIA is an independent agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers. CIA’s mission is to preempt threats and further US national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the President, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our Nation safe. The officers of the CIA are guided by a professional ethos that is the sum of our abiding principles, core values, and highest aspirations. This ethos holds us on course as we exercise the extraordinary influence and authorities with which we have been entrusted to protect the Nation and advance its interests.