Intelligence, Language Vital to National Security


The fighting is not strictly on the battlefield anymore, but in intelligence centers all around the world. Barber said,“Intelligence analysts are literally the eyes and ears of the nation.” Detecting information can determine a victory or a defeat.

Alex Fajardo, Reporter

Walking into the French classroom on Career Day, students were met by two women whose careers may have been as foreign to the students who arrived to hear them speak.

Both donned Air Force uniforms, distinctively different from the other.  One was dressed in an airman battle uniform, while the other was outfitted in dress blues. These guests were armed and ready to present their careers as an intelligence analyst and language expert.

Dressed in her battle uniform, Lt. Col. Katharine G. Barber, shared how tough it is to explain her job to the class since most of their work is classified. Barber showed a “declassified” video to the class and about 10 seconds into it, a majority of the class realized that it was a scene from “Transformers 2.” While the clip played she explained how the different components of being an intelligence analyst fit into the battle clip. Barber said that intelligence analysts analyze known information from a source and use it to plan against any further actions.

After answering questions about being an intelligence analyst, the woman in dress blues introduced herself as SMSgt Diane Kelsey and explained that she was a language expert. She grew up in small town in Texas living near an Air Force base.

Kelsey taught herself Russian at a young age after she saw her father’s Air Force friends talk about their job as language experts. The Air Force sent her to learn Mandarin for 18 months, where she was enrolled in a college that spoke in the Mandarin language exclusively starting on her first day there.

She showed off her Mandarin skills when an eager student asked her to speak. She deftly responded with an almost incomprehensible combination of syllables, leaving students dumbfounded with her language fluency.

Barber and Kelsey said that anyone in their branch of work is an important part of national security and have the benefit of not having to relocate (to another state or country) as often as colleagues who occupy other positions in the military.