Wednesday, July 23, 2008

GAI on Capitol Hill

I've been attending a course with the Government Affairs Institute this week; the course is "Congress and the Intelligence Community".

Thus far, I've had the opportunity to interact with some of my peers, which is always a good experience (not to mention enlightening - for all of us!). Our speakers have ranged from scholars focused on governmental affairs to lobbyists to House and Senate committee staffers. This morning, I sat in on a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing ("China on the Eve of the Olympics"). I was scheduled to visit the House and/or Senate floor, but ran out of time before I had to fetch the children.

I have been incredibly impressed with this course, especially the quality of the speakers. Well, I wasn't a fan of the lobbyist, but what can you do? ;) I was already familiar with many of the concepts/issues covered throughout the course due to my own studies, but I have learned a great deal about the appropriations process and how the two intel committees tend view each other (which is less than favorable most of the time). The final day of the course should prove equally rewarding.

Overall, I've had a really terrific time in this course. I wish that my classmates were a little more engaged with the speakers (except for the Army guy who won't shut up, the Niles Frasier look-a-like [though not as cute and with a much bigger head], and the CI guy who keeps turning the conversation back to himself), and I feel bad for the counsel from Senate Judiciary who got slammed legislative decisions that were totally not his fault. But generally speaking, everything else has been extremely informative, professional and relevant.

Even though I got rejected from Georgetown (boo! hiss!!), I think I might pursue the Legislative Studies Certificate that this class is part of. I definitely want to pursue a Capitol Hill Fellowship when I'm done with my M.A.

Am I over-reaching here? Maybe I need to take a vacation and cool my jets a bit... ;)

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