Meet CDT Austin Rivera, the CTC Cadet of the Month for March 2018. The senior from Longview, Texas, focuses his academic interests on social, religious, and terrorism-related issues in the Middle East, majoring in Arabic and minoring in Terrorism Studies. In his free time, CDT Rivera enjoys studying theology, traveling, and reading.

Through the CTC, CDT Rivera was given the opportunity to intern at the Pentagon with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Combatting Terrorism Center. CDT Rivera worked primarily in intelligence analysis at the Middle Eastern desk, researching and reporting on Islamic State and al-Qa`ida activities in the Middle East and North Africa. CDT Rivera contributed to the daily intelligence briefings for the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Additionally, he was given the opportunity to work in other DCTC offices during this internship to broaden his understanding of the intelligence community.

CDT Rivera also had the opportunity to study abroad in Muscat, Oman, in the fall of 2016. During this experience, he increased his Arabic language skills tremendously, and in turn gained a greater understanding of Middle Eastern culture.

Currently, CDT Rivera is writing his senior capstone, working with the U.S. Embassy in Muscat to analyze how an upcoming change of power will affect Omani-Iranian diplomatic relations and how this will shape American influence in the region. In May, CDT Rivera will commission as a Military Intelligence Officer with a branch detail in the Infantry. He will continue his service at Fort Carson, Colorado.

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