The Marshall University Digital Forensics and Information Assurance program has joined the Bluegrass State Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (BGS IC CAE;

Membership in the center means that participating Marshall students can attend BGS IC CAE outreach events including workshops, career panels, guest lectures, and other events. They are also eligible for scholarships and can earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to meet with and tour various agencies in the U.S. intelligence community. Further, students who become IC CAE Scholars through the program acquire a competitive advantage when applying for jobs in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Marshall was invited to join the BGS IC due to an existing intelligence course in its curriculum, along with having the Open Source Intelligence Exchange (OSIX). Marshall’s DFIA program teaches open-source intelligence collection and analysis, and students can get real-world experience working in the OSIX, which is staffed by selected and vetted students and supervised by faculty from the DFIA and Criminal Justice programs.

“The OSIX is a key part of our program. It rewards high-performing students with a chance to participate in real-world cases and projects,” said John Sammons, director of the MU Digital Forensics and Information Assurance program. “Our OSIX program is the driving force in our decision to collaborate with other universities in this group.”

The goal of the BGS IC CAE is to prepare the next generation of intelligence and security professionals, including national security, homeland security, law enforcement and private sector security. The program comes with no obligation or expenses incurred to the university, as expenses are covered through a grant provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Dr. Brian Simpkins, principal investigator and co-director of the BGS IC CAE, said Marshall University is a great addition to the center.

“The current academic programs and experiential learning projects provided to students by the Marshall University Digital Forensics and Information Assurance Program fit well into the goal of the BGS IC CAE,” Simpkins said. “Further, Marshall University provides a highly valuable STEM presence and resource to the BGS IC CAE.

“It is envisioned that this partnership will cultivate additional collaborative opportunities between Marshall University and Eastern Kentucky University,” added Simpkins, who is a Marshall University graduate. “I look forward to working with MU students as well as John Sammons and the rest of the departmental faculty going forward. Lastly, it is very fulfilling to work with Marshall University not only because of its reputation, but also as an MU alum and to have the opportunity to give something back to the university.”

For more information contact Sammons of Marshall University by e-mail at or by phone at 304-696-7241, or Simpkins of the Bluegrass State Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence by e-mail at or by phone at 859-622-6761.