The mission of the Star Army Intelligence Training Activity is to provide efficient and effective training to both new volunteers and experienced operatives returning for in-service refresher or update courses. Activity staff are all active-duty or retired SAINT personnel, retaining the highest security clearances and dedication to the ongoing excellence of Yamatai’s intelligence gathering apparatus. In addition to in-house training programs, Activity staff help set curriculum for training of intelligence related positions that may not be under the exclusive control of SAINT, such as Information Warfare Specialists and Intelligence Officers.
A four-week ordeal, Operative Selection, or SELECT, is the introductory course that recent graduates from Basic Training or one of the academies, on recommendation from their training officers, or volunteers from other assignments, on recommendation from their commanding officers, attend. SELECT is designed to test the students’ aptitude for success in environments and mission types commonly experienced by operatives without revealing classified techniques and equipment to those who will be found lacking and sent back for assignment to non-SAINT occupations. SELECT is intentionally designed to be a pressure cooker, with the training staff driving the students much harder than in Basic Training. Evolutions include simulated surveillance in urban environments, survival and evasion exercises in jungle environments, and the final week-long combat exercise. The final exercise is not intended to simulate SAINT operations at all, but rather to test the students’ will and drive to succeed, even when forced to stay awake in a highly stressful situation for days on end. Students who complete SELECT with a “GO” from the training staff are elevated to the position of candidate and are fed into the Operative Indoctrination training cycle. Students who receive a “NO GO” from the staff or who Drop On Request (DOR) are returned for reassignment outside of SAINT.
Operative Indoctrination, or INDOC, is a twenty-week course that is largely split between classroom education on intelligence gathering techniques and applying the techniques in practical field exercises. The stress level is maintained throughout INDOC by frequent but unpredictable changes in the schedule, often when training cadre decides that the candidates need to engage in some very strenuous exercise. Similar to SELECT, candidates will receive a “GO” or “NO GO” from the training staff, again with the option to DOR at any time. Because many of the techniques taught during INDOC are highly classified, candidates that DOR or receive a “NO GO” are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and are counseled on the severity of consequences for violating the agreement. For those candidates who receive a “GO,” there is a brief period of medical and legal work-ups. Before officially becoming operatives, candidates are required to sign a waiver for a medical procedure. The procedure serves both to allow for the Standard Conditioning Package to be implanted and to insure that no serious but previously undetected injuries were sustained during training. Those candidates that do sustain serious injuries are left within a recuperation cycle manage by Activity personnel until they are in condition to deploy. Upon all requirements being satisfied, candidates receive the distinct black-paneled uniforms of operatives at a short graduation ceremony, immediately after which they receive orders to their new postings.
Post INDOC, operatives are expected to continue training within their operational cells or commands. Indeed, aside from organizing and planning operations, much of a SAINT officer’s task is to coordinate training exercises for their personnel. However, the limited space available for simulations and exercises aboard starships and present at station or ground based postings does not allow for some of the more complex or rigorous training sometimes required by movement up the ranks, into new positions, or with the introduction of new techniques, policy, or equipment. In these instances, special courses are organized by Activity cadre to provide operatives rapid but complete education in the necessary areas. Typically, in-service courses are not as strenuous or stressful as SELECT or INDOC; rather, they tend to be mainly based in classrooms and lecture halls. The occasional new weapon or surveillance may require practice in the field; in such cases, training staff sometimes integrate the in-service exercises into INDOC evolutions to serve as extremely capable and dangerous OPFOR for the candidates to train against.