Correcting Misinformation About Our UniversityGeneral (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III
January 7, 2024
Members of the Aggie Family,
Several websites and social media sources recently have published inaccuracies and erroneous assumptions about Texas A&M University and its branch campus in Qatar. With the speed at which misinformation can travel today, it’s important that you have access to accurate information about our university.
Texas A&M University at Qatar opened its doors in 2003 with the purpose of facilitating education and research in chemical, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering in a major oil and gas region, while enhancing American educational and cultural diplomacy in the area. As the No. 1 petroleum engineering university in the United States, Texas A&M is one of six American universities in Doha’s Education City supporting the education pillar of the U.S.-Qatar bilateral relationship. Scores of U.S. businesses operate in Qatar, which has strong ties to Texas-based energy companies. And, of course, Qatar is home to our country’s largest military base in the Middle East.
Since A&M classes started two decades ago in Qatar, we have graduated more than 1,500 engineering students and currently serve over 730 students. Many of these graduates are taking leadership roles at major energy companies in Qatar and around the world. The endorsement of academic programs and student activities by many U.S. and multinational companies underscores the campus’s significance in shaping the future generation of engineers. A&M’s Qatar campus also achieved a significant milestone in recent years as women now constitute half the student population.
Despite what recent online reports have stated, Texas A&M at Qatar does not offer a nuclear engineering program or any classes on the subject.
The research conducted at this campus focuses on energy, water and environment, carbon capture, smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science, and data analytics in the energy sector. Contrary to what these articles have implied, no nuclear technology, weapons/defense or national security research is conducted at this campus. Nor does the Qatar campus have any connection to nuclear reactor research done in Texas or the Los Alamos National Lab. The insinuation that we are somehow leaking or compromising national security research data to anyone is both false and irresponsible.
As part of The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M complies with all U.S. laws and agency regulations that govern how we manage and report international engagements. All research and its funding at the Qatar campus is reviewed and managed through the same A&M research compliance offices as the main campus. All A&M campuses, including Qatar, follow the same policies related to research and funding, which means each abide by state and federal research and export control regulations. Furthermore, the U.S. federal government has repeatedly recognized The Texas A&M University System for being a national leader in counterintelligence and protecting sensitive information and technology from foreign actors through its robust counterintelligence operations and research security controls. We consistently uphold this high level of security by actively overseeing all our systems, processes and facilities.
Many of the recent public reports that call into question our security measures, intentions or motivations are simply wrong and based on false information and assumptions. We will continue to maintain our high standards for security, our commitment to our core values and our belief that education is essential to the advancement and betterment of society.
Texas A&M remains vigilant in monitoring developments in the region, especially since early October. We will continue to engage Chancellor Sharp and the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on this matter, and will keep our faculty, staff and students informed if/as the situation changes.
General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III, President