November 24, 2004
Excerpts: Spies Inc. - Part IV
They spend their summers doing 12 weeks of basic training. It is the same tough, no-holds-barred program given to the paratroopers. They train in the desert, hiking with 10 to 20 kilos and rifles on their backs, and they learn to jump out of planes. We put them through a tough course, the same as paratroopers, because we want them to be strong and brave too, explained Zadik.
Talpiot soldiers take special courses rotating with each force of the army: intelligence, navy, and air force. They learn about the weapon systems from the inside. They sit in cockpits of fighter jets and shoot off weaponry to gain a real understanding of its operational and technological needs. Its not just theoretical, explained Zadik. They know what it means to spend cold nights for one month in the Negev in a tank. During the second year, they devise a project of their own choosing for three months. After all, Lieutenant Colonel Poleg reiterated, The idea of Talpiot is to raise the next generation of R&D. The last six years of the program are divided between two years in field units and four as an R&D officer.
The idea behind Talpiot was to create a unique group of men and women with extremely high IQs and aptitude for performance, and provide this group with an equally unique environment. Talpiot members are exposed to multidisciplinary studies in military strategy, the sciences, computers, math, and physics, and they receive instruction from the nations elite such as Nobel prize-winning economists. They participate in top-flight security systems both in the field and in the lab establishing fields of inquiry. There are many brilliant ideas, said Major Barak Ben-Eliezar, Talpiots commander. Most of them have ideas, but not just ideasthey bring about change.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.