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Bradley Hilltopics

Fall 2008 • Volume 14, Issue 4  



Psych department honors former NCIS leader

From a Miami police officer to the director of Naval Criminal Investigative Services, DAVID BRANT ’74 has an impressive resume. One of the highest-ranking civilian officials as director of NCIS from 1997 to 2005, he implemented changes to the program’s priorities after the USS Cole was attacked in 2000. He also navigated the program through the time following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

david brant

DAVID BRANT ’74 has used psychology throughout his distinguished career in law enforcement. “Criminals, spies, terrorists — the focus of my career — what makes people behave how they do, is absolutely key in detecting, deterring, and preventing wrongful, hurtful acts,” he said.

“The bombing of the Cole was an unprecedented attack on U.S. assets,” said Brant, who also created and organized the NCIS Multiple Threat Alert Center, the Combating Terrorism Directorate, and many other information-sharing projects. “Elements responsible for that event were also connected to, and players in, 9/11. Not only did that change the intensity of U.S. assets being a target, but it had ramifications on how the entire U.S. community viewed terrorist threats. For me personally, as the head of the agency that had a part in that mission, it was the recognition that, ‘Wow, we’re in another era. This is the first time in a real-life situation that we see a willingness to attack U.S. interests in a different form.’ ”

In 29 years at NCIS, which was formerly called NIS, Brant was an investigator, first-level supervisor, head of an office, head of a region, and head of counter-intelligence before ultimately becoming director. Ask Brant about NCIS though, and he’s quick to mention that the CBS television show by the same name accurately depicts the investigative work of his agency. During his years at NCIS, network executives spent time learning about NCIS. They decided to sell the pilot as a spinoff of JAG, another military criminal investigation show. “In many of the first-year shows, the basic facts were from true-life investigations that NCIS has conducted,” Brant said. “Obviously, we worked closely with the producers and writers to alter the scenarios so they weren’t 100 percent true. And the investigations were long since closed and completed.”

Now a partner in the federal practice at Deloitte & Touche, in May he received the first Distinguished Alumnus Award conferred by Bradley’s psychology department. The award coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Psychology Club and the 40th anniversary of Bradley’s Psi Chi chapter, the national honor society in psychology. Said Dr. Tim Koeltzow, assistant professor of psychology and faculty advisor for both groups: “Mr. Brant was of particular interest to the department as the first awardee in that his career path is not only one of obvious distinction, but it represents the types of opportunities that psychology majors can pursue without necessarily pursuing a graduate degree in psychology.” Brant received a master’s degree in criminology from Indiana State University in 1975 and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Brant said he originally chose to study psychology because “all things in life revolve around human interaction, and I was interested in learning why folks do what they do and are what they are.” He added, “I probably didn’t think about ‘public service’ during my early undergraduate years. I began moving toward ‘serving the public’ via a law enforcement career my senior year and into grad school. I then started to realize that I didn’t really want to study or read about things but wanted to be ‘hands on.’ ” His training began as a police officer in Miami for 18 months before joining NCIS. “I love Bradley,” Brant said, citing “the great atmosphere, small size, the opportunity to know about everybody, and the tightness of the campus.”

At Deloitte & Touche, Brant serves as director and provides consulting services to the Transportation Services Administration, Justice Department, and U.S. Coast Guard.

Other awards bestowed on Brant during his career include the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1989; Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2001; Presidential Rank Award in 2002 which recognizes career government senior executives for their exceptional long-term accomplishments; and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service in 2005.

Brant and his wife Merri Jo live in Washington, D.C., and have two grown children.