This may seem extremely obvious, but there is not much good that has come from the pandemic period for the National Academy.  We have lost three valuable sessions this year.  We are seeking to find that balance between making concessions to get the National Academy back safely without losing too much of the “magic” that makes it a world class experience.  As my friend Howard Cook says, “Be careful you don’t water down the chowder.”

I am an optimistic person by nature, so I choose to look at what good did come from this difficult period.  We have been forced to ask ourselves a lot of questions about the National Academy, which has led to more learning and understanding.  We have taken the time to question assumptions and think deeply about the program’s values, which has brought more clarity.  We have reviewed our policy and tested it against difficult circumstances, which has made us better prepared. We have collaborated with world class academics, which has elevated our instruction.  We have also realized through absence how much we all appreciate the program and all of you, which has brought gratitude and humility. 

It has been particularly tough to witness the difficulty the law enforcement profession is enduring in this flash point in history without being able to process it and deal with it through a session’s students.  We want to be there with you all, shoulder to shoulder, but we are forced to view it as a spectator and root for the man in the arena who spends time in a worthy cause.  Our part will be to prepare for session 280 whenever it occurs.

It has been said that character is revealed during the hard times.  These are absolutely hard times that we are in right now.  Stick to the character that got you selected for the National Academy and know that 50,000 brother and sister graduates have your back.

In gratitude,


Cory McGookin
Unit Chief
FBI National Academy