WASHINGTON, September 11, 2014 — On the anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the Twin Towers and the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, President George H. W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation recognized the Lint Center for National Security Studies for working to keep America safe.
Founded by retired Special Agent James Lint, the Lint Center’s primary focus is to provide support for the next-generation of America’s national security workforce. Its simple mission statement is to provide a “support system for those who serve freedom around the world. Designed to “Empower, Enhance, Enable”®
Specifically, the Center wants to help that generation achieve educational goals and defend and protect American democracy and its most prized freedom.
Kay Lee Nicholas, Director and Scholarship Committee Member for the Lint Center notes, “We created the Lint Center to fill a niche void, one that teamed emerging and talented national security rookies with veterans in the national security community. The old saying that ‘rookies make rookie mistakes’ is a truism, however, the number and severity does not have to be of that cardinal reality. Lint Center scholarships and our mentoring program strive to elucidate that end.”
At the heart of the Lint Center are 200 volunteers who mentor students interested in pursuing careers in national service. The volunteers work with students to share real-world experience and knowledge. Mentors are active and retired national security practitioners from the military, defense, intelligence and academic communities. The center matches scholarship winners with mentors based on their interest areas.
“By matching a student with an experienced and knowledgeable mentor, we provide the student with the opportunity to ask the questions they truly want answered and need to know in order to make informed, critical life choices, ” explains Lint.
The Lint Center also awards merit-based scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500 to students in government and international affairs programs. The center has awarded 32 scholarships since 2007, with financial support from corporate sponsors ranging from an investment bank to a geopolitical intelligence firm.
Chief Operations Officer and the first Lint Center scholarship recipient Timothy W. Coleman reflects on the sentiment of the Center.
“When I first started volunteering at the Lint Center, I asked Mr. Lint why he decided to create the Center and why providing mentoring opportunities as well as scholarships to young, emerging leaders was important to him. Really, I wanted to know why he and the other members of the Center dedicated time, energy, effort and financial resources to basically help perfect strangers.
He paused briefly and said simply: ‘Tim, I invest in stocks for my future, but I invest in people for the country.’
That was an important observation and it conveyed a powerful sentiment as to what motivates an organization and the people that work to see it succeed. I knew then, as I do now more than ever that the purpose and motivation that drive us forward is simply to give back – to empower, enhance and enable.”
The national security community also recognizes the importance of the Lint Center. Stratfor Vice President Fred Burton said,
“As a leading geopolitical intelligence and consulting firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world, Stratfor welcomes the opportunity to support aspiring national security and intelligence community workers. On this 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our country, we are solemnly reminded of the serious challenges facing policy and decision makers as they strive to navigate the complexities of global geopolitical issues. Stratfor proudly supports the Lint Center for National Security Studies in its ongoing quest to identify and mold the next generation of counterintelligence and national security leaders, and we congratulate the entire Lint Center team for this important and well-deserved honor from the Points of Light organization.”
For national security professionals not currently involved in the mentoring program, Lint issues the following plea,
“We need to build our replacements so they do not make the same uninformed mistakes we made. We can help build better-prepared replacements and provide them a tool to explore blending new and old concepts to the current operational environment.
In the end, if our replacements and the future national security and intelligence workforce cannot see where they are going, then they should have a viable resource to ask someone that has been there before. It is my hope and firm belief that the Lint Center can be that resource.
And if they pause, and pause they will, I would remind them that moving America forward and always forward is part of their fundamental identity. It’s an endless and enduring dream – a thousand points of light, if you will. It’s my mission, the mission of the Lint Center and I hope they will help complete it.”
To learn more about the Lint Center or to volunteer as a mentor, visit www.lintcenter.org. Learn more about Points of Light at www.pointsoflight.org.