Thursday, March 06, 2008

National Security Higher Education Advisory Board Concludes February Meeting

National Security Higher Education Advisory Board Concludes February Meeting

The National Security Higher Education Advisory Board (NSHEAB), comprised of 20 university presidents and chancellors, met on February 5, 2008 at FBI Headquarters. The NSHEAB, which was created in 2005 by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III, meets regularly to discuss national security matters that intersect with higher education. Chaired by Graham Spanier, president of The Pennsylvania State University, the NSHEAB provides a forum for open, direct dialogue between the FBI, other government agencies, and higher education.

In a recently published editorial, Spanier cited a key concern for academia as "the denial of visas to scholars who wish to visit the U.S., especially when the denial is political rather than security-related." In order to address this concern, representatives from the Department of State briefed the members on the visa issuance process. Additionally, representatives from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement provided an update on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System and anticipated expansion of government services to universities and international students.

The FBI's Cyber Division also briefed the NSHEAB on cyber intrusion trends. The FBI expressed the need for academia participation in discussions of risk management and the fundamental issues of privacy in the cyber age. During the meeting, members also discussed relationships between the United States and other nations, focusing on those with growing relevance to U.S. higher education.

The FBI is extremely pleased with the active engagement of the Board's members to include Cornell University's President David J. Skorton, who commented at the meeting's conclusion, "I am grateful to the leadership of the FBI and other agencies for their willingness to engage in a meaningful and candid way with research university leaders. Concerted dialogue about issues that affect the higher education community is essential to achieving a balance in areas of critical national concern."

The Board is scheduled to meet again in June 2008.