Indonesian spy schools to tackle terror threat

August 15, 2003

Indonesia is to open two new intelligence-gathering colleges in a move designed to improve regional and worldwide attempts to tackle international terrorism through better espionage.

The institutions will teach students from around the world the art of spying as a science and improve the capability of national intelligence agents.

The colleges, announced before last week's car-bomb attack on the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, will be on Batam island near Singapore and in Sentul, West Java. Both are set to receive their first batch of students next year.

The college in Sentul will offer an undergraduate programme and provide recruits for Indonesia's National Intelligence Agency, while the International School of Intelligence Studies on Batam will offer a graduate programme. They aim to equip students with the knowledge and skills to research and analyse intelligence data and to use information technology in supporting espionage activities.

"Indonesia will be the first country to open institutions offering bachelors and masters degrees that will introduce intelligence as a science," claimed General Abdullah Hendropriyono, director of the National Intelligence Agency.

"Realising the increasing security threats around the world, we have to respond to the problems by formulating the art of intelligence as science," he said.

The schools will be open to Indonesians and foreigners and will teach in English. They will cooperate with the state-run University of Indonesia and the Bandung Institute of Technology.

The first admission class of about 100 students is currently taking intelligence courses at the two state-run universities.

Students from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations - both civilians and intelligence officers - are among the first batch of students, but the Batam school will operate an open-door policy for all nationalities.

The move is partly in response to sharp criticism of the intelligence capabilities of Indonesia, which have been deemed among the weakest in the region. Even before the car-bomb attack on the Marriott Hotel, foreign governments expressed concern that the country had been caught off guard by the nightclub attack on Bali last year.

Indonesia is the headquarters of Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been linked to regional terror campaigns.

Usman Chatib Warsa, rector of the University of Indonesia, said the establishment of the intelligence schools aimed to address this weak point in Indonesia's intelligence operation.

"We have to formulate a science to increase our capabilities and meet the international standards of the intelligence community," he said.

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