August 2017 Update

Wow! It has been three years since the Academy and I was able to return during the FBINAA Conference that was held in D.C. It is rare to go back and you have to be invited. On Thursday, August 3, 2017 the Academy hosted "Homecoming". We boarded a bus from the conference hotel in D.C and made the trip to Quantico. It was like going back to 2014. We entered thru the Marine Corps gate, nothing changed, and then to the FBI Academy Gate, nothing changed there either. Pulling up to the Academy was special. It brought back memories of my summer there three years ago. We were treated to a tour of the entire academy, including the firearms range, HRT, and Hogans Alley. It was great! I saw a few improvements to the facilities but it all looked pretty much the same. Overall, about 150 people attended, all from different sessions. I had my family with me and they loved it. My wife and little girl (Kenzie) who was there on a visit three years ago when I was going thru the NA were with me. We took the same photo of her at the FBI sign. Yes, she grew and now was 9 so she enjoyed the visit more, especially climbing on all the HRT equipment! Ice cream in the cafeteria was good again too. Now she has turned into a shopper and enjoyed finding clothing in the new FBI and NA stores. They did a great job on those, right up front and not in hard to find locations any more.

While there I visited with some folks from the current NA class and I could feel what they were felling. It brought back memories and if they only knew how much they would miss this place once they leave so I can't say it enough... live in the moment. People told me too and I did not realize it till after I left. After the NA stay involved in your local NAA chapter and keep up the friendships, go to the conferences. I fellowshipped with several of my academy classmates who attended the conference too. You will also. We have kept in touch and it was like seeing family on a holiday, plus a few who I had not herd from at all. I will know these folks for the rest of my life. So, enjoy the updated pictures and especially your NA experience when you go. I have appreciated all the kind words and emails from future NA graduates that have read my blog. With over 32,000 views as of August 2017, I hope that I have helped someone or their family.
May God bless you always... Jim Carlino, NA257 - Sarasota, Florida - USA

About The NA - You Are Special

The FBI National Academy is a once in a lifetime leadership/educational experience for less than 1% of all Law Enforcement Officers world wide (1% ers). Outstanding Law Enforcement Professionals are nominated and then selected to attend the NA at Quantico after a rigorous vetting process. You can't just sign up to go. Graduation from the NA in the world of Law Enforcement is just as prestigious as graduating in the Business World from Harvard with an MBA. The training, networking, and personal growth is unparalleled by any other advanced law enforcement academy or course in the world. The instructors are world class and make current policy, not just teach it. Most NA Graduates are promoted after attending the NA and many become heads of their own agency one day. This is where you find some of our best Law Enforcement Leaders in the Nation.

We found this to be true and even discussed it at the Grove many evenings (more on the Grove later). It was not just egotistical talk, but truly about why this NA experience was so meaningful compared to the other command level schools across our nation, and we were from all parts of the world. We had folks who had been to those schools, including myself who went to a State version. They are all good but we found there was no comparison to the NA. We were all humbled and honored to be there but knew it was only for that short period in time. This was special so we lived in that time period well and tried to take it all in. You will too.

I was in NA 257. That's how each class is referred to, NA then the class number. There are four sessions per year, about 225 persons per session, now from all over the world. Each session is divided up into 6 sections. I was in Section 1. Here we all are with our Yellow Bricks in Week 10. I'll explain more about the Yellow Brick, Blue Brick, and Green Brick later.

FBINA 257 - Section 1

Also here is some historical information on the FBI National Academy if you want to learn more.

About This Blog - Why I Wrote It

I wrote this blog in 2014 to have a remembrance of my experience at the FBI National Academy. It is first for my family so in the future they can see what I did with ten weeks of my life when I was away from them in Quantico Virginia in the late summer/fall of 2014. One day they can look back on this and remember.

Second and equally as important I am also writing this blog for all my future brothers and sisters who may have the honor and privilege of attending. I'll give you my personal experiences and those from others who walked the hallowed halls before me, something you can't get in advance. I searched all over for any information about the NA before I went. Aside from talking to past graduates there was not a lot, so I want this contribution to help someone.

Third, I know others will read this too and that is fine. The FBI National Academy is a great experience and folks should know what a fantastic job they do, so I welcome you to read it too. To all my brothers and sisters who have gone too I hope it brings back memories should you take some time to read. That's about it. This blog will progress in chronological order starting from my application & selection, getting ready to go, attendance week by week, to coming back home at Sarasota, FL after graduation on September 19, 2014.

About Myself - Who Is Writing This Stuff?

Whenever I read a blog I always wonder about the author, so here is a short bio about me. It was written two months after the NA in November, 2014 
Police Chief James R. Carlino - 2014
James Carlino is a leading Homeland Security & Public Safety Expert in the Tampa/Sarasota Florida area. He is a Police Chief, College Professor of Homeland Security, and FBI National Academy Graduate. He has over 20 years of real world experience. 

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Masters Degree from Saint Leo University in Criminal Justice Administration. He is currently working on a Doctorate Degree in Homeland Security Leadership and Policy with NorthCentral University. 

The Chief travels nationally, in the state of Florida, and locally speaking on topics such as Medical Marijuana and the Federal Government, Current International Terrorism Trends Local Impact, and Airport Security/Law Enforcement. 

He has been the Police Chief at the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority for over 6 years. Prior to that he was a Detective and Patrol Commander for the City of Atlanta Police Department, working in the busiest parts of the city. He also spent time as a Police Commander at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world. 
Lt. James R. Carlino, Atlanta Police - 2007
Chief Carlino is active in the academic world too. He teaches in the Homeland Security and Public Safety bachelors’ degree programs for the State College of Florida. He developed most of the online courses for the school.

He is a veteran of The United States Air Force where he was an Air Force Firefighter. He is an active 
member of the Florida Police Chief’s Association and a member of ALEAN, the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network.

If you want more information or want to contact me, here is my LinkedIn page:

God Bless America and all the Brave Officers who Serve!

Applying For The NA - How It Works

Back in 2008 when I became the Police Chief at the Sarasota-Manatee Airport Authority I knew little about the NA. I only know that a former commander of mine when I was a lieutenant with the City of Atlanta went while I worked for him. I remembered him backing up his city car for the trip outside of the Zone 3 Precinct in Atlanta. He was gone for ten weeks then returned. I remember then Major Earnest Finley returning and after I left APD to take my Police Chief job in Florida he got promoted. Now he is in charge of all of patrol for the Atlanta Police, a Deputy Chief. So, it is true most graduates get promoted. Earnie was one of the hardest working people in the Department. He deserves that promotion.

My Present Employer 
When I became the Chief in Florida I joined the Florida Police Chief's Association (FPCA). They had a great mentoring program for new Chief's and I signed up right away, after all I had not been to a Police Chief School. I was teamed up with Chief Nolan McLeod of the Auburndale, FL Police Department. Nolan was quite a man and had a wealth of experience as a Chief. It was an honor for him to agree to mentor me. Unfortunately Nolan has since passed in 2012  and I remember him every time I pass by Auburndale on I-4 going to Orlando. He contributed a lot to Florida Law Enforcement and is honored by our chief's association as a past president. We spent a day together in Auburndale and we both realized that because of Airport Policing being a specialty I needed a Airport Police Chief to mentor me. He recommended Chief Paul Sireci  at the Tampa Airport which was close to me, they were friends. I agreed, got some good advice from Nolan during my time with him, and we remained associates thru the FPCA.

2008 - The Department When I Took Command
I met Chief Sireci at his Department. From the start he took me under his wing and helped me. Even today I still call him for advice. We developed a great friendship over the years and still fellowship at conferences and events. Paul is a past president of the FPCA too and a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is an NA graduate too. So Paul told me I needed to apply for the NA when I met him. He said it would take a couple of years or more to get in but do it now so you can get started. I took his advice an filled out my application in 2009. It was actually a nomination process thru the local field office. I waited and never herd back so I updated my application package in 2012 reflecting my more police chief experience and now, finished in late 2009, a masters degree. In 2012 I met the new local NA field office coordinator at a great Active Shooter  FBI Training seminar in Tampa, FL. We hit it off well and he asked me if I was still interested in going to the NA, he had obviously gone thru the applications. I said yes of course I thought I was never going to get a chance. He told me about how selective the process was and it can take some time. I agreed and said I had been waiting since 2009 and would be honored to go if selected.

In early 2013 I received a call that I had been selected. I was excited but this was really just the start. I had to go thru the vetting process, background investigation, final selection from the SAC and then the NA itself. I notified our Airport CEO and my boss the then VP of Operations and Maintenance and they were super supportive. I was excited to get such great response from them and it really made me appreciate working there. Not only would this make me a better leader but I would bring back the training to benefit our Airport. Later in the NA I would see in one of my classes about leadership even more why our CEO supported me. He was a "transformational leader" and cared about his people's personal and professional development as a way to make employee's happy. They stay with the company.

So now the process was really beginning. I'll cover the next steps in my next post on "Once your Accepted".

Once Your Accepted

I owe a great debt of gratitude to my NA Coordinator SA David Street. Without Dave accepting my nomination and pushing it forward I would not have gotten into the NA. That's how I feel but some say other factors are considered that helped me. They are one, the applicants position? and two, has anyone from the agency ever attended? No one ever went from my agency. I found position can matter from meeting my fellow classmates. It can especially matter if they are moving up or near the top, this was all of my class. All this is because a big part of the NA for the FBI is about relationships. So number two factored in for me too. The FBI wants to have relationships with law enforcement agencies current and future leaders all over the world. They tell us this in the first day of orientation at the academy. How else could they get the cooperation and support they do all over the world? It is the NA that does it, that simple. No matter where they go they can most likely find an NA graduate who is in a command position or the head of that agency. We are all a brotherhood. We help our brothers fight the evil that is out there every day, a force multiplier. This is taught at the NA too.

My nomination/application package was processed in 2013. I received a date to go to orientation at the FBI Tampa Field Office . Agent Street called or sent me an email with the date along with the other five selectees from the Tampa Office. Florida has three filed offices and each field office generally gets four slots in Florida. We had five because Agent Street agreed to go to the NA with us as an NA Counselor. An NA Counselor is an agent assigned from a field office to work with each one of the six sections that the 225 attendees are divided into. Each section gets a counselor, they live, eat, and sleep with you. They help you with any issues that come up. Dave's room was right next to mine so I saw him a lot but he was not my sections counselor.
The five of us showed up at the Tampa office and met Agent Street and his civilian assistant Lourdes Hall. To this day I still keep in contact with two of the five, one never went due to other issues. We became great friends. Dave and Lourdes gave us an excellent orientation on what the NA was all about, its structure, mission, and what to expect, etc. Importantly we were briefed about selecting our classes and the start date of our session, when to be there. The classes themselves would be available online to select in two months and we needed to get on there first because they go fast (more on that later). We did a one on one interview with Dave where security and background questions were asked. Then another agent would contact us for a local background investigation including references and your job, they talk to everyone. Lourdes took us for finger prints as part of the background. I remember being in the place where all the suspects were printed at the FBI. It was a strange feeling getting printed there, knowing some bad folks had probably been there before. They have a really nice facility with all the latest and greatest accommodations and equipment. This made me feel good and told me the NA and the whole FBI Academy itself was going to be the same or better. It turned out to be true.

Tampa FBI Field Office - The Nicest Police Building I Have Ever Been Inside By Far
The whole day was very full and we received a lot of information and a great orientation. Next we were told that the SAC would sign off after a successful background and then our packages went to the NA itself at the FBI Academy for final review and approval, so it was not over. Later that month we were told to return for a PT test, they take PT seriously. The five of us met Dave and a FBI SWAT Agent at the University of Tampa Track and performed a PT test. The hardest part was the run for most. We had 11 minutes for a mile or you could be out. I did mine in 7:47. They wanted us showing up to the academy in shape, fifty years old and in shape, they were serious. Everyone passed and next a local agent did my background, even talked to everyone including two references I had to give from past NA graduates, I passed. The NA signed off at Quantico and I was notified that I was officially in. I was excited and next you start planning your classes. I'll talk about that next. It is a giant part of the experience.

This is the group of Law Enforcement Professionals from the different Florida FBI Field Offices that was selected to attend NA257. We are in week 8 having a Florida dinner together off base. What a great group of folks!

Selecting Your Courses - Schedules - How To Succeed

Once everything is approved at the SAC & NA level and the local NA Coordinator notifies you of your final approval you are instructed to get ready to go online to register for your classes when registration opens. This is about three months before the actual start date of your NA session. You go online thru the FBI Virtual Academy . To use this you must be registered thru your agency. The site will have access to online FBI Training and the NA course selection console is there too. The key is to spend some time navigating the site before the registration date opens. You can look at the different courses that are available for your section in advance and at what times and days they are offered. Here is the schedule I chose and I'll explain the class selections too.

The NA requires you to take 5 classes and mandatory PT. PT is considered a class so you need to pick  a time too. You end up doing PT with your whole section so it may determine your section, I don't know. What you only need to worry about are your other 5 classes. You will see a 7th class on the schedule and it is Networking and Enrichment. You can't choose that either because it is the same for everyone. It is the special events and Wednesday night Enrichment Seminars that are mandatory too. The Enrichment Seminars are some of the best parts of the NA. They bring in top notch speakers from all over the world to talk to us each Wednesday. These are top quality, hard to get folks who talk about leadership and other great topics.

The top classes to take from speaking to prior graduates in no particular order are:



Just One Leadership Class (The others can run over each other)

Public Speaking (You will have extra class during down time)

PT with E. J. O'Malley (He is the toughest PT instructor if you really want to shape up)

PT with Kevin Chimento (Very balanced, good workouts with classroom education)

The classrooms are great and set up for a very functional learning environment. They split classes at different parts of the academy so you will get a chance to move around the campus. Below are some pictures of the classrooms.


My favorite enrichment speaker was  Bobby Smith the tremendously courageous blind State Trooper who wrote     Visions of Courage. His story had half of the tough cops in the auditorium crying. It makes you reflect upon yourself and the fact that us cops don't communicate well with our family and we keep it all inside. We have a tough job coping and we turn to alcohol and prescription drugs. Bobby really brings it home and makes you examine yourself. He tells his own life story too which will have you crying. What an honor to hear speakers like this at the NA.

Bobby Smith - A Blind Man Helped Me Too - Thank You Bobby!
Another great speaker was the pilot from Black Hawk Down. He is Mike Durant. He gave us his account of the mission and his subsequent capture and release. His book In The Company of Heroes was great too.      

Michael Durant after Capture
So now you know about the enrichment portion of the schedule. As for the courses there are 5 to take. You need to think about what you want to learn. I was interested in technology and media so I jumped on those courses too. They fill up fast. Next I wanted a leadership class and I also wanted to learn about the latest case law updates from the FBI so I took constitutional law. Also I wanted a communications course but not too close to leadership courses, already had one selected. I ended up with a well rounded schedule and that is the key. Don't stack it too heavy in one area or the classes can get the same. I saw people who did that and wished they had diversified their schedule more. Go outside your comfort zone and also identify where you are in you career and what you need to learn more about or just get updates.  These are the best instructors in the world and you need to take advantage of that now. You will not get an opportunity to get all of this at the same time and place again.

So after you choose you end up with the schedule that I included above. You know about it in advance and can go back in and drop/add before the closing window which is two weeks. But if you drop one you have to add another and that may conflict with a time slot of one you already have. You can throw everything off. So do your planning in advance before the window opens, get in there fast, and lock in the courses. I picked my favorites first and had a plan B & C in case they filled up before I could pick them. The console is kind of like a fill in the blocks, you need one in each area. All I can stress is get in there before it opens and browse everything, learn how it works. If you wait till registration time you will not figure it out and get stuck with classes you did not want because the people who did their homework got the best ones first.

All the 5 classes are good for graduate or undergraduate credit at the University of Virginia. There is a graduate and undergraduate version of each class, in fact both classes are with each other, the graduate folks just do more work, like an extra paper or project. I did not need the credits because I was working on my Doctorate so I took all undergraduate classes so I would have more time to dedicate to the rest of the experience. This turned out to be the right choice. I'll cover each class later and what it entailed but suffice it to say it is an attainable bunch of credit hours you can earn all at once if you are working on an undergraduate or graduate degree. I teach too so I can say that with confidence. You will work but you will get it done.

So now you have your courses, the window closes, and you get ready to go. Don't worry you get another chance to change. There is a one week drop add at the NA, except at this one you get to meet each instructor. They all set up tables outside the classroom area and you can talk to them. You can still change but it may affect the rest of your schedule. Your section will stay the same though. I was in section 1 with 40 great brothers and sisters.

Expect to be in classes from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Fridays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Wednesdays are for the Fit Challenge in the morning, with meetings of some specialized courses or field trips in the afternoon. If you don’t have a class or field trip on Wednesday afternoons, the time is yours to study or run errands. Some Wednesday’s there will be mandatory enrichment seminars (guest speakers). These were all excellent. If you take Public Speaking you will have class Wednesday.

How to Succeed: Attend classes, listen well, ask questions, and take good notes. A good review of your notes will ensure success on the tests.  ***Do as many papers as early as you can. As time goes on fun things gear up as you go!  Take the first weekend or two to knock out all your papers.  Then all you have are mid-terms and finals to worry about. Enjoy the rest of the time fellowshipping. I did this and it worked. I got the most out of the experience and saw all of the DC area!

Actual Schedules - Weeks 1-10

These are the actual schedules for NA 257, they don't change much for each session. The FBI is very organized and it is amazing that they coordinate over 200 folks so well. The schedules are put out by the NA on day one and map the entire course, including enrichment. Everything you do at the NA is governed by these schedules. You align them up to your personal class schedule.

Getting Ready To Go - What To Bring

Vehicle: If at all possible drive to Quantico

Having a car really helps while you’re here. It enables you to bring everything you’ll need. It also gives you a chance to meet folks from faraway places who can’t bring a car; they’ll appreciate the occasional ride to dinner, shopping or sightseeing. You will also be able to drive to shopping and local attractions, otherwise you will basically be stuck on base looking for a ride. If you are a foreign student and obviously can not bring a car you can rent one now and then. I saw several foreign students who rented cars for special weekend trips, also many classmates with cars will get you around, don't worry, just make friends with some early. Everyone is very kind. All the FBI trips provide transportation too.  It is excursions on your own that you need the car for.  There is a lot to see that you will want to take advantage of.  Also several people in your class will be bike riders.  You can bring a bike, there is a bike shed, an old outdoor greenhouse near the track.  The base has great rides and it is very safe.  I highly recommend it, I did and made some great memories too! 

This is my Toyota Prius that I took with me. I got made fun of by some classmates but I am helping to save the environment and I got great MPG the whole time too! This was a great car to use to get around in DC. Parking is tight and I was almost always able to slip into a spot. I had it packed full with NA swag (gifts & such) by the time the course ended. 

Driving on Base: Obey ALL traffic rules on the base. The young MP’s are strict and it doesn’t matter if you are in a cruiser or not. They take it very serious. Only hands free cell phone and GPS use is permitted while driving on the base. If it says 15 mph you better do 14 mph. There are a lot of runners so watch out for them when driving too.

Cell Service & Internet Service:  This was probably one of the biggest issues for folks at the NA.   Either you could get a signal or not. I never saw an in-between.  The only cell service that works well historically at the Academy buildings is Verizon.  I think Verizon has a cell repeater on a water tower right at the Academy. It even works in the basements.  I had AT&T and switched to Verizon during the NA, it was that tough to get a signal.  Factor this in if you want to use your cell and everyone does, either as an internet hotspot for their laptop, to check their email, call family or use Skype & FaceTime to see loved ones. All the other services had a poor signal or no coverage/signal at all.  When they needed to make a voice call they went outside to the middle of the grass to get their provider's signal as there was none or little inside the buildings.  It was a running joke with us... we knew who had Verizon because they could talk anywhere and the rest of use were hugging the windows or outside.  Whenever anyone went into town though they had great coverage with the other services... cell towers were obviously there.  It showed me how much we rely on the cell and internet.  One solution that I saw if you can't switch that did work was get a Verizon pay as you go phone and use it while you are there or purchase a Verizon MiFi device and buy a chunk of data for it for the 10 weeks.  I saw a lot of folks with those too, good luck!  

Computer: Bring one if you can. A laptop is perfect for the limited space. You can do all your work in your room, when you want, dressed, as you want. It may also help you avoid losing work.  Desk space in your room is very limited. You should also bring a thumb drive or two (useful for projects and picture sharing.)  You can purchase wireless service in your room if you choose thru the FBINA Associates. There are public areas with free wireless but they are very slow.

Printer/Scanner: Bring a portable one if you can or buy an inexpensive one at Wal-Mart when you arrive.  It is perfect as you can use it for your projects email receipts, etc back to work. You might want to bring extra ink cartridges and one pack of paper. There are printers in the library and computer labs as well, but they are used a lot and you will need to get on a library computer to print. The international students are on them all the time and I understand because it is tough for them to bring a computer and printer.  Be nice and offer to help them.

Computer Labs: There are a couple of computer labs and the library too. The internet is slow there but the computers are good. The foreign students will be the ones using the computers the most and some FBI new agents in training.  An underused location with a very fast connection is the computer training classroom. When I was at the NA you could use it even if you were not in a computer class. I highly recommend taking one of the computer classes. You leave with a wealth of knowledge and have access to a very fast connection. There is also another little used PC type cafe room next to the chapel.  It is quiet and the computers are good. 

FBINA 257 Coffee Tumbler
Swag (gifts & such): This is important. Bring some challenge coins, patches, mugs, or whatever you have. This is for trading and for patch and pin night. Trading is big and you will not have the opportunity again to collect so many items at once. I had these mugs made up to trade and give as gifts to special people I identified along with cozies. I made sure all the foreign students got one too.  They all went over well. See the USA flag! Some of the foreign students come from countries where they are not a blessed as we are in the USA, you will see, so please give them something nice to take home. 
Clothing: Do not over pack! You’ll wear the required uniform (green shirt, khaki pants and black tennis shoes) Monday through Friday from 0700 to 1730 during the week.  At night and on weekends, you can wear casual clothes. You must have business attire (suit and tie or dress uniform) for graduation and on a couple of other occasions. One suit is really all you need. If you signed up for one of the public speaking classes, you’ll wear business attire more often. You’ll have very little use for a lot of dress clothes, but you may want business casual outfits for other events. You might want to bring a uniform for the IACP dinner and one or two other special events.

Do bring comfortable shoes, a warm jacket and gloves (for fall and winter sessions and probably spring too) for sightseeing. The winter quarter requires additional clothing especially for physical training. You’ll want sweat pants, sweatshirts, gloves and a hat (preferably one that covers your entire head and neck for really cold days), especially if you’re from a warm climate and not used to the cold. Rain gear is a good idea, too. You will find two pairs of running shoes helpful as they will get wet and muddy.

Medical Information: Prior to coming to the NA, contact your health care provider and determine if and how your coverage works while you are away from home. The odds of getting sick are high with so many people sharing space. When one person gets sick 50 people get sick, so be prepared. Bring, (or prepare to purchase after you arrive) a supply of over-the-counter medicines (such as pain relievers, cold and allergy medicines, Ben-Gay/Icy Hot, etc.) An ice pack or heating pad might also come in useful. If you’re from outside the United States, bring a 3-month supply of your prescription drugs in case your prescriptions are not honored here.  There is a doctor and clinic on site and a Walgreens outside the south gate.

Helpful Items to Bring for Your Room (in no particular order):Note: If you are flying, you probably want to either ship some of these items to the Academy or just buy them after you arrive due to the weight restrictions on baggage. Don't worry there is plenty of modern shopping right out of the back gate. The Marine Commissary is good too, no tax! Consider carefully what you want to bring and what to buy later; the items listed below are helpful, but not required. You might want to bring a small supply of some items and pick up more later. (For international students, the exchange rate might work for or against you here.)

  • Soft extra pillow (the one you get here is hard, heavy, feather filled kind)
  • Mattress pad/foam egg crate material can make the bed more comfortable!
  • Soap and body lotions, other toiletries, or wet wipes.
  • Small appliances. Including small reading lamp (one that clips to the head of the bed works well), coffee maker, vaporizer/humidifier (especially in winter), a fan in summer, and a small dorm type fridge!!!  You will go and eat off base it is good for leftovers or to bring back fruit or other stuff from the cafeteria and drinks….
  • Extension cord(s)/power strip/surge protectors for computer, a must! Outlets are limited.
  • International students will need an adapter for appliances (electricity in the US is 110 volts.)
  • Two plastic crates and one 5’ X1’ shelf to sit atop the dresser for added storage
  • Camera or use the one in your phone. Take lots of pictures to remember your time.
  • Business cards, agency patches, pins, caps, shirts (for trading with your 300 fellow students.  Patch & Pin night is usually week 2 and trading goes on thought the session informally.
  • Detergent and/or fabric softener for laundry (you can buy more later off base)
  • One lock for gym locker.   
  • Dorm rooms do not lock. As small safe is provided for valuables. Theft is a non-issue.
  • Stamps to mail letters and cards. They have an excellent mail room with lots of free envelopes, etc. Also an electronic postage machine in there.
  • Swimming gear including ear and nose plugs and goggles (The pool uses the buddy system for safety; PT classes play water polo sometimes.) We only swam once unless you are doing the blue brick.
  • Earplugs (some roommates snore, and there is little soundproofing in the dorm.)
  • Office supplies, including the following:
       Ø  Tape                                                 Ø      3-hole notebook paper
       Ø  Paper clips                                       Ø      Tabbed dividers for notebooks
       Ø  3 X 5 cards                                       Ø     Stapler, staples, staple remover
       Ø  Sticky notes                                      Ø     letterhead from home
       Ø  Pens, pencils, highlighters                Ø     Blank CDs, DVDs and a USB Drive       

       Ø  3-hole punch                                     Ø     Tacks or push pins                                             

If you forget something, don’t worry. Anything you need can be found On Garrisonville Road just outside the back entrance to the base (10 minute ride). It has EVERY store imaginable and good food places! 
Things provided by the academy:

  • blanket/twin comforter.
  • Sheets for twin, extra long bed.
  • TV with cable access
  • alarm clock (with radio)
You will be asked to volunteer for something within your Section. My suggestion is to volunteer for the jewelry representative.  You meet once with the vendor and hand out catalogs one time, that’s it.  For that you get a free Beer Stein with the NA logo, session number and students names on it, otherwise you will be purchasing it, over $30.00 savings.
NA Beer Stein. Be your sections jewelry rep and get it FREE

Check Out The Serial Numbers... Lowest Printing In U.S. History! 
ABOVE: Money... This place takes a lot of money especially for all the trips and swag like t-shirts, etc.  There is a FBI gift shop and an NA gift shop in the Academy.  You can go crazy and everyone back home wants an FBI t-shirt.  For international students, the exchange rate can make a huge difference in the expense. Be prepared. Set a budget and try to stick with it.

Expenses: You’ll be buying section shirts (polo), photographs, a counselor’s gift, challenge shirts, jackets, class ring, entertainment, etc. You’ll probably spend a lot of money on FBINA marked clothing and souvenirs for yourself, family and friends. Various trips are offered, New York weekend $600-$700, Philadelphia weekend $250-$300. These are often done on a lottery system. Everyone loved the trips and those who did not go deeply regretted it later, once in a lifetime experiences!  Sightseeing, eating out, and other things will drain your wallet quickly too. Think about how much you can spend. Students have estimated that they spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. It depends on the number of activities you choose to participate in. About $1,500 – $2,000 is a safe figure. Honestly this is a deal. You will never get this chance again to see all the sites in DC over 10 weeks. If you did this on a vacation it would be many many thousands so don't cheap out... do everything! 
Banking: The Justice Federal Credit Union has branches here. There is an ATM machine on campus.

PX Privileges: There is a small PX (store) at the Academy and a large PX on the main side of the Marine base. Your ID will let you shop at both and get you in the main side gate. There are some good deals at the Marine PX.  You can not purchase alcohol or tobacco there unless you are military.  There is NO SALES TAX! 

At the PX Purchase: The FBINA recommends you buy the following items. You can have your department buy some of these before you come. The previous session will often leave some slightly used items. Go to the washing machine area first and they will be in boxes. They are free so get them early. There are always polo shirts, workout gear, and some pants. I also saw suit jackets for those who did not have one hanging on the wall. Don't feel bad using the items, they are free.  Also in the end closets in the dorm halls there are left over items. First come gets them unless they are marked for another student. Some agencies leave the items there for their next people attending. Please do not take them unless they are not marked. These are generally room items, fridges, supplies, etc. 

3 khaki pants (2) or bring your own: they use 511 brand, hit Quartermaster

3 green NA shirts (3) The previous session may leave a bunch of slightly used ones= free
1 NA fleece zip-up, good for classrooms that can be cold. Can’t bring your own it must be an NA Jacket for easy identification of students. Buy it there.

3 NA gym shorts3 NA gym shirts 
1 sweat suit (you can bring your own). They use plain grey.
1 black or brown belt (bring your own)
Also your black tennis shoes bring your own comfortable ones (1 Pair)

Travel Information - Places To Stay, Eat & Haircuts

Have some patches, t-shirts or challenge coins to pass to a couple of the young Marines and FBI Police at the gate, on each shift.  You’ll be the king.

Driving: Exit #148 marked “Marine Corps Base Quantico” off Interstate 95. At the end of the exit ramp, signs show the direction (west) to the FBI Academy. You will be on Quantico Marine Corps Base and will pass through a checkpoint (have ID ready.) Then you’ll drive about three (3) miles from I-95. Be careful of the posted speed limit signs. Enter the FBI Academy East Entrance, show your ID to the FBI police officer there, and then take the third left, between Jefferson Hall and the large parking lot. If it’s not crowded, you can pull into the circular driveway in front of Jefferson and unload. If the driveway is crowded, park as close as possible in the parking lot across from Jefferson and walk to the entrance. An FBI or DEA agent-in-training should meet you at the entrance, help you find your room, and give you a tour of the complex. If you arrive early, you’ll avoid the crowds. Students who live nearby might want to come ahead of time to get uniforms, etc. Contact your FBI training coordinator for information.  

Flying: Check with your travel agent to plan the option that will work best for you. Make sure to check with your FBI contact about how to get from the airport to the Academy. You have two (2) immediate airport choices in this area:

Reagan National Airport (DCA) is closest and easiest. The well-organized terminal is easy to navigate and it has many great eating spots and stores if you have to wait. It is also on the Metro (“subway”) system, which is the easiest way to see Washington. If you have classmates from the airport police or transit police, talk to them about free parking arrangements.

Dulles Airport (IAD) is the next closest. It is easy to navigate, as well, and it usually carries more flights than Reagan National. Most international flights arrive at Dulles. 

Train The Amtrak Auto Train  from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA is a great option. It is nonstop (17 hrs) and it leaves at 4:00 pm and gets you in the next morning. They load your car and you ride the train, get a sleeper car! Lorton is 20 minutes north of the Academy on I-95. It is reimbursed by the FBI, same as an airplane ticket. You can take it both ways. 

Travel Reimbursement: In week 2, everyone (except federal employees) must attend a meeting where travel vouchers are explained and filled out. If your agency paid for travel expenses, you should endorse the check to the agency. If you paid your own way, the money is yours. Talk with your agency; everyone who has been here knows about this. Note: This does not apply to international students. Expenses related to return travel are handled by your local FBI office after you return. Save your original receipts.
Places To Stay & Eat

There are several comfortable motels and hotels nearby in the following areas: (Look for the Government Rates on all these places)

Garrisonville/Aquia (just off the base.) I recommend this as it is closest and all the major brands are there. You will also miss the most traffic.

Dale City/Potomac Mills (20 minutes north.) Closer to DC if you are planning on still being close but want to see the DC sites

Crystal City (just outside of DC 30-40 minutes north, depending on traffic) This is a great option for seeing DC. It is right across the Potomac and some hotels have views of the Capitol. Many students have their family fly into Regan (DCA), take the hotel shuttle, and then meet their family to do all the DC sites. I highly recommend this. 

You might plan to scout out the good ones early in the session so you can make reservations for visits and graduation. Make reservations as early as possible – many students suggest doing this during your first weeks out here to get the best locations. Book on line and use the government rates.

Places to Eat: Most classes ate in Garrisonville. There are a lot of good, easy to get to restaurants out of the back gate. Ask the instructors what they like in that area for the kind of food you want. The class will try a lot too so you will have no problems getting reviews. Trip Advisor is good too.  

Above: This is the group of Law Enforcement Professionals from the different Florida FBI Field Offices that was selected to attend NA257. We are in week 8 having a Florida dinner together off base. What a great group of folks!
Fredericksburg (20 minutes south.) Good if you want to visit the sites in that area but further from the NA and DC.

Haircuts: Yes, you may need a couple of haircuts. The place everyone seemed to like was Kim’s. They have an NA special of $7.99. It is out of the back gate. Take a right on Garrisonville Road at the CVS. She is about two blocks down on the right. There is a pizza place next door. You get a hot towel and neck massage included. The Main Marine Corps PX has a busy barber shop if you are into Marine haircuts.