It truly is an honor to be in the position of responsibility for the National Academy program.  If you asked me to make a “Pro” and “Con” list, it would be very lopsided.  In fact, I don’t think there is anything that truly fits in a “Con” category.  There are a few things, however, that fall into a “challenge” category.

From my perspective, the biggest challenge is maintaining the traditions and the secret sauce that makes the National Academy the premier law enforcement experience while changing with the times, innovating, and even improving.  We have recently made two changes that I believe strike that balance and, ultimately, make the program better.

We changed the requirements for entry to a new standard of a completion of 60 college credit hours effective January of 2021 in session 283.  That is equivalent to two years of full time college and equivalent to an associate’s degree.  To be clear, our standard is not completion of an associate’s degree but simply 60 credit hours or more.  We recognize the education and professionalism within policing and the high standards that have become the norm for senior executive positions.  Our goal at the NA is to launch students to chief executive positions after graduation where degrees are needed.  Our hope is that this encourages young officers who desire to attend the NA later in their career to start taking college classes and to think about self-development and education from the beginning of their career. We also recognize that some candidates may need a little time to complete the new requirement of 60 credit hours so our implementation date gives them some time before this takes effect.  

A second recent change is our addition of ten more international students that started this session (276).  We have been selecting 25 internationals each session for quite a while.  Their importance to the program is obvious to anyone who has been around the NA.  Their participation is one of the things that makes the NA different than other programs and we consider that a competitive advantage and part of the secret sauce.  Former director Comey used to say that criminals across the globe have used the internet to connect and get better at committing bad acts and that our best defense to this was to partner with each and shrink the world for the good guys.  Adding ten more of our trusted partners each session shrinks the law enforcement and intelligence world and helps us serve and protect.  That is also good news for NAA members as you will have more international colleagues each session.

The addition of ten international students did not take away from the domestic students.  Instead, we raised our cap for each session to 267.  For now, that seems to be our limit as Quantico has become a very busy place.  Some of the facilities feel a little tighter but the venues are still large enough to give the great experience you have all come to know.  The true test for that will be international night as we have never before had 35 international stations in the atrium.  I am confident it will be even better than ever as we celebrate more cultures and more friendships.  I’m looking forward to that.

Stay Safe,


Cory McGookin
Unit Chief
FBI National Academy