By Robert Benchley
Unlike most Lafayette alumni in military careers, Daniel R. Arnold ’01 was already in the U.S. Army Reserve before he set foot on campus.
“I joined the Reserve right out of high school,” he says. “My grandfather and my father both served in the Army, so there was a family tradition to uphold. When I looked for a college, I wanted a school close to home that was serious about academics.”
Majoring in history and international affairs was the right choice, says the Emmaus, Pa., native, who graduated summa cum laude with honors in history.
“My job is intelligence analysis. My education helps in terms of knowledge of the world and research and analytical skills,” says Arnold. “I gather various pieces of data and try to figure out what the enemy is doing. It’s similar to what a historian or political scientist might do. Early in your career, you think on a tactical level — what the unit across the line from you is doing. As you go up in rank, you think at a more strategic level. You look at world events, economic information, what is being said at cabinet meetings, or what Russia is doing.”
In addition to serving in the Army Reserve—requiring a commitment of one weekend each month plus two weeks in the summer—Arnold also is a full-time civilian employee of the Army. Both jobs involve intelligence analysis.
“Each supports the other,” says Arnold. “The work is similar, although the uniform side can be different from the civilian side. It’s helpful to move back and forth between the two.”
Arnold was called to active duty during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“It was a different world,” he says. “I got there in May 2003, before the insurgency really started. You could still go out and see the country without a lot of trouble, and we didn’t have any close calls. My unit had an interesting mission. We gathered up captured military equipment and analyzed the technology. This told us what had gotten through sanctions.” His article about his unit’s experience appears in the January-March 2005 issue of Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin.
Arnold says his career has been very satisfying.
“You have a duty to give something back, and this appealed to me more than a soup kitchen,” he says. “You’re contributing to the country as a whole, and you’re doing it as part of a group. The satisfaction some people get through team sports I get through the military. The benefits are quite good. They helped put me through Lafayette. The skills I learned in the Reserve I used to get my civilian job. Very few people join and have it not be a positive, character-building, career-building experience.”