Military Career: Intelligence Officers
Information about the size, strength, location, and capabilities of enemy forces is essential to military operations and national defense. To gather information, the services rely on aerial photographs, human observation, and electronic monitoring using radar and supersensitive radios. Intelligence officers gather technical intelligence needed for military planning.
What They Do
Intelligence officers in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Direct sea, ground, and aerial surveillance
- Prepare plans to intercept foreign communications transmissions
- Direct the analysis of aerial photos and other intelligence data
- Oversee the writing of intelligence reports
- Brief commanders on intelligence findings
- Help plan military missions
- Gather and analyze technical intelligence
Branches of the Military
Helpful fields of study include cryptology, computer science, mathematics, and engineering. Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to organize and manage activities
- Ability to work with abstract problems
- Interest in analyzing data
- Interest in solving problems
Job training consists of 23 to 26 weeks of classroom instruction. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
- Air, ground, and sea intelligence operations
- Photograph interpretation
- Use of surveillance equipment
- Reconnaissance equipment and weapons systems
Intelligence officers work in offices on land and aboard ships. They may work in the field on maneuvers and military exercises.
Civilian intelligence officers generally work in federal agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). They perform duties similar to those performed by military intelligence officers.
Below is a list of similar civilian occupations:
The services have about 10,000 intelligence officers. Each year, they need new intelligence officers due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. After job training, intelligence officers are assigned to intelligence units, military operations sections, or command posts. With experience, they may become commanders of intelligence units or directors of information gathering sections.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Washington D.C.