Job Family: Intelligence Intelligence Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | Coast Guard  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile  | 
Photo 1: Specialist operates surveillance plane. Photo 2:
Specialist reviews intelligence data.

Melinda Taylor
Occupation: Intelligence Specialist

By the time I seriously began to consider a military career, I had already worked several jobs and had also earned two associates degrees in …

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Short Description
Military intelligence is information needed to plan for our national defense. Knowledge of the number, location, and tactics of enemy forces and potential battle areas is needed to develop military plans. To gather information, the services rely on aerial photographs, electronic monitoring using radar, satellites and sensitive radios, and human observation. Intelligence specialists gather and study the information required to design defense plans and tactics.


What They Do
Intelligence specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Perform military action involving the use of electromagnetic energy to determine, exploit, reduce, or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Study foreign troop movements
  • Operate sensitive radios to intercept foreign military communications
  • Exploit imagery and geospatial data from satellite and airborne systems in support of military operations
  • Participate in detecting, locating, tracking, and analyzing on ground targets, rotary wing, and slow moving fixed wing aircraft
  • Conduct Information Operations using foreign language skills and advanced computer systems
  • Prepare intelligence reports, maps, and charts
  • Install, operate, and conduct preventive maintenance of associated equipment and facilities.
  • Conduct investigations to detect, identify, assess, counter, exploit and neutralize threats to national security
  • Collect human intelligence (HUMINT) by interviewing, interrogating, or otherwise interacting directly with human sources of information
  • Transcribe, translate, and interpret foreign language materials and provide cultural and regional guidance

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and geography. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to organize information
  • Ability to think and write clearly
  • Interest in gathering information and studying its meaning
  • Interest in reading foreign cultures
  • Interest in computers

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice in intelligence gathering. Training length varies depending on specialty. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Planning imagery and geospatial data from satellite and airborne systems
  • Preparing intelligence reports, maps, and charts
  • Analyzing aerial, satellite, and radar imagery
  • Using computer systems
  • Foreign language training

Work Environment
Intelligence specialists work in offices on land and aboard ships, and in tents when in the field.


Civilian Counterparts
Civilian intelligence specialists generally work for federal government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency. Their duties are similar to those performed by military intelligence specialists. The analytical skills of intelligence specialists are also useful in other fields, such as research or business planning.

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