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Getting an intelligence analyst job.

How did you get your start doing intelligence analyst work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?
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Hi Ryan, I'm a retired USAF Intel guy, working in the same career under a defense contractor. I have to say the best way to get jump started into the Intel world is through the Military. It won't be easy but the benefit is a wide range of skills and experience in differing backgrounds. I have been a librarian, a geopolitical and military-political region analyst, a Strategic C4I analyst, a Deep Underground Facility analyst, a Close Air Support analyst, an Air Tactics analyst a target and Battle Dange Assessnment analyst and finally, a Worldwide Air Forces Analyst. I am doing something completely different right now that I am not at liberty to say, but it is the coolest intel job yet. My Military career composed of 20 total enlisted years, 13 years of which were in the intelligence career. Prior to that I was a tower and radar air traffic controller. So you see, even if you don't end up liking miltary intel, you can change careers. My advice is to join the USAF as a 1N0x1 Intelligence Operations Specialist, because it is the overarching intel career field. That means you won't be stuck doing just Electronic Intel(ELINT), Comm Intel(COMINT), imagery or translation. In the 1N0 field, you are a researcher, analyst and briefer. Lot's of high vis opportunities and multi-agency rapport. Intel Officers like Martin (from Ewa Beach) suggests, make more, by virtue of being officers, they get treated well, but the USAF treats its Folks very well anyway... yes that includes enlisted. We don't get paid as much, but we don't play their officer politics either. The best thing was, I retired on Friday and worked as a contractor the following Monday... yes (Martin from Ewa Beach) enlisted intel get hired quick also, especially if you are a recognized "credible" and motivated intel guy.
Jan 9, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hi, I am currently a civilian working for NAVAIR doing Aircraft Engine Design work. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering (graduated May 07). I have had a Secret clearance for almost 5 years and just received my TS/SCI. I received my TS because I am trying to shift my career into intelligence (NAVAIR's 4.12 - Research & Intelligence). However, I want to join the military; I've heavily considered military service in the past, but never have been able to make up my mind. I know I want a career in intelligence, but I also know now that I want to be an officer in the military.

My question is, what branch would best facilitate my intelligence goals? The Marine Corps appeals to me the most, but I want to give myself the best chance possible to become an intelligence officer, no matter which branch. Any insight would be appreciated!
Jun 10, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hi everyone,

I'm going to be a freshman in college, and I have set my sights on a career in the intel field. I have a few simple questions:
-What language would anyone recommend for a future in the intel field. Arabic? Farsi? Dari? Chinese? Others? I have seen job ads for gov't agencies that say a bunch, but which would be the most useful in the future? And also one that one everyone and their brother will be proficient in (like Arabic. know what I mean?)?

-I know that for many agencies, it says at least a "3.0 on a 4.0 scale", but what does that really mean? Would having, say, a 3.5 be good enough for the most part?

-Will majoring in Poli Sci be a good major for being an intel analyst? Or should I focus more internationally?

Thanks for any and all help!!!!!
Jun 10, 2009 Solution by original poster
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You are going to need a Top Secret/SCI security clearance before you can get hired regardlesss of your major. They are extremely difficult to get without being in the military. Some government agencies will hire recent college grads but you'll most likely go in as a GS 7 or 9. (pretty low pay)
Jun 12, 2009 Solution by original poster
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I see some comments about prior officers and retired enlisted but I can't see myself doing the full twenty (I have a family now and would like to settle down somewhere). When I get out in 2012, I'll have 11 years in with 7 years Intel experience. Any idea what the market is like for prior enlisted bubbas such as myself? Thanks for any guidance.
Jun 12, 2009 Solution by original poster
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The market here in DC is fantastic for TS SCI job seekers. They can't fill the positions they have. (I am speaking of defense contractors, not GS positions). I would say with seven years experience you can expect to make about $90K here esp. with a big company like ManTech, or Lockheed etc..
Jun 14, 2009 Solution by original poster
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I was hired as an intern with DIA after my sophomore year of college and through that I was able to obtain a TS/SCI clearance. Seriously, once you're cleared you're good for anything. I've heard of individuals with no technical experience being picked up and trained on the job simply because of the clearance.
Jul 8, 2009 Solution by original poster
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The EASIEST route I can recommend to anyone wanting to get into the Intel field, still needing a clearance, is to join the Army NATIONAL GUARD or Reserves. You go through Basic Training... yeah that's not fun but it's only 2 months of your life. But then they send you through school of the Intel field of your choice. They pay you to do it, give you a TS clearance and then you go home, obligated only to a weekend a month. It's the simplest route out there.
Aug 13, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Aloha Martin!

Great post! I'm a member with the Hawaii Air National Guard as an intel specialist (1N0X1). I have a BA in math and an MBA in management science. I'm considering applying for a civilian intel job with the navy. It would be great if we can hook up and talk shop.

Mahalo!
Aug 20, 2009 Solution by original poster
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I'm just another individual looking to get into the intel field. I have a BS in Psychology and some graduate credits in Criminal Justice. I don't have any military experience. And being a single mother with three kids, the military is definitely not an entry point for me to gain access into the intel world. I have applied to Johns Hopkins University graduate degree program in Intelligence Analysis (still awaiting whether or not I have been accepted). I also have searched numerous entry level or junior intel analysts jobs in order to gain experience but a majority of those jobs require you to have a TS/SCI clearance. Gosh, where do I even begin?
Aug 29, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hi NESH,

You'ed be well on your way if you are accepted into JHU's Intel Analysis program. I can't see a national agency scoffing at soemone with that under their belt, despite less or no experience. The only ything that can slow you down would be any probs that they shore up in the clearnnce approval process. If you have none of that, I can't see why you wouldn't flouruish in this field. Good luck!
Aug 30, 2009 Solution by original poster
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I've heard that programs in Intelligence are rather weak when trying to get promotions or enter the intel world. Besides the DIA Master's in intelligence program which requires a TS/SCI, alot of these master programs from my research and hearing from others are not the best choice for advancement. Having a master's degree in a specialty region like the Middle East or Southeast Asia provides more potent data with your job.
Sep 15, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hi, what current degree programs or specializations are useful for a career in intelligence. I'm currently pursuing a MPA degree. I have 8 years of prior service in the CG and a secret clearance. I work for the federal government as a civilian but I haven't had any luck landing a job, much less an interview yet.
Sep 30, 2009 Solution by original poster
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good luck with that, i was in the marine reserves as an intelligence analyst and was trained at the navy and marine corps intelligence training center and held a top secret - sci clearance...but as soon as i graduated my unit no longer had a need for intelligence so i didn't get any experience, but you'd still think the dept of the navy would want my already paid for clearance and training...i applied for these positions (gs5 - $33k/yr?!?! aka enough to survive on spaghetti while sleeping in your car) and never got it any of the thousands of times i applied...you'd think the dept of the navy would want someoney THEY trained and whom THEY deemed worthy and paid for the clearance of top secret - sci...nope. don't hold your breath.
Oct 1, 2009 Solution by original poster
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New to this forum and hoping that someone can give me some info on Intel field. Can someone work with any agencie in their spare time to help them in whatever they need with an agent as a coach? Also, if that person needs any training, what will be? Have a lot of skills, like languages, experience in different fields etc... Was told that some agencies recruit people as helpers.
Thanks.
Oct 1, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Wow, SHJ3... That's just poor circumstances. It's not that bad for everyone else. I've been in the military intel side of things for a good 20+ years now. As soon as I retired I was immediately making well above what I made in the USAF. I'm not sure about the Dept of the Navy and Marine Corps, but all the GS and GG positions I see are around GS-12... Sometimes GG-13 and 14. Check out USAJOBS.COM and see. Besides all that, Govt Civilians aren't the only game in town. I know that SAIC, Boeing, Booze-Allen,Lockheed and many others here in Las Vegas hire intel analysts. They'll have similar jobs in your towns too, or consider relocating. Most of these guys love prior-military with some intel experience... especially with current TS-SSBI.
Oct 1, 2009 Solution by original poster
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i've scoured usajobs.gov and literally applied for hundreds of fed jobs and get responses saying i'm "qualified but not the most qualified candidate" for GS5 jobs!!! it boggles my mind that anyone would accept 33k/yr w/ intel experience in DC area where rent less than $1400 is cheap!

unfortunately i had amazing offers from 2 contract companies in 2007 working for either DOD or DHS but my reserve unit got activated and while i was deployed my clearance and ssbi expired (f**k my life right?) and when i came home one of the contractors stopped doing those contracts and the other told me i was "no longer eligible to be considered as a candidate" b/c my clearance has expired...so now i'm at a dead end where you have to have the clearance to get the job but you have to have a job that rates a clearance to get one...and to be honest, the fact that i have the ability to obtain a clearance b/c of my previous clearance, a bachelors degree, intel training, and military service would make me think i'd be an intel contractors wet dream but now w/o a clearance or experience i don't even get a phone call...so its a tough call, do i work like a dog for a few years and beg and plead for a contract company to give me a clearance and then hope and pray someone will hire me in an intel spot w/ no experience or do i sign my life away again risk being deployed for the next 4 years of my life just to get a clearance...lol, its a rough spot.
Oct 2, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Can this apply to Novice entrants into Intell Anaylist?
Have NO degree (save AA).
Ex Navy vet, Hon Discharge.

Id seek position after secure clearance in Oahu HI as Id be living there.

Any comments for a novice with NO BA BS degree?
Is there a Vocational Cert to Intel Anaylist positions?
Oct 10, 2009 Solution by original poster
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You have two pretty big things working against you.............No degree and no experience. You will either have to have a strong background in the military intel or related field or with a federal agency or degree in a related area. Even with the degree, you're going to have a hard time without experience.
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Oct 10, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Highly, HIGHLY disagree. Remember that enlisted people actually DO A JOB versus officers that only manage. This is especially true if you separate without reaching the field grade leve (O-4 and above). Go enlisted, CHOOSE your job (SIGINT or all-source analyst. Get a language if you can...always a HUGE plus), get 3+ years of actual job experience, and you're set.
Oct 13, 2009 Solution by original poster
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I'm deployed right now as an intelligence analyst and will be for another year come 2011 (so around 2 years experience.) I will have a bachelors degree in intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College, and will be fluent in Arabic. I also plan to do a year of training intel analysts during their mob time before deploying; giving me a total of three years of intel experience. Does anyone with experience suggest this is enough to start serious applications for a job in intel or should I go for a masters to finish it off?
Oct 16, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hello:
New to this discussion board. I am trying to get into the Intel Field. No experience. I work now as a Correctional Officer with a regional jail, after several years of running my own biz, which went belly up with with the recession.
I want to take an Introduction to Intel Analysis course offered by FLETC in the hope that DHS, DSS or DIA may be interested in me.
I do not have a clearance, but I am working on that. I have a DHS suitability letter. I don't know what that really means in the scheme of clearance activity.
Do I stand a chance of getting interviewed at all after taking this course? My hope is that I may meet some people in this course that may already be working with the FEDs, and I may network with them.
I have a Ph.D., but never been lucky with any of the gov't jobs.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Oct 29, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hi, if you're interested in taking some courses on intelligence why don't you try some online courses from American Military University? They have a wide variety of courses, even certificate or degree programs in intelligence and security. If you don't mind me asking but you have a Ph.D. already why not try obtain a FED job and go from there?
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Oct 29, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hi Ryan,
Thanks for the info on American Military U. About getting a fed job, I have done tons and tons of applications, and have never even been invited for an interview.
When my biz failed, I had to do something to support my family, so I took a job with the jail as a stop gap measure. Been there for 1 year, and it is not the place for me.
I am applying for a security guard position, and they are the ones who got me the suitability clearance. You would not believe it, but GSA security guards make more money that correctional officers. So, I will be bailing out of the jail pretty soon.
I want to get into the intel field, and the Intro. Intel. Analysis course was all I knew and thought could get my foot in the door.

Will check out the AMU.
Oct 29, 2009 Solution by original poster
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From my understanding the intel field is quite competitive but anything can happen. I think your ph.d would be quite useful, what field is your doctorate in? Also, if you haven't done so already explore options with defense contractors, they seem to hire a lot of intel and security folks. Lastly, keep trying with the feds. Even if the job is an administrative type of position, just getting your foot in the door helps alot.
Oct 30, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Badly need your help. Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.
I am from Swaziland and also now teach English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "Notwithstanding the back, any outputs that are attacked to my gasoline, or to the vehicles of my property, or to the motion of my court, or to the deaths of my territory of my information, liberal to the subject none in no race shall post in safe the greater of time or five tax of all custodians high-risk to this member in a hidden guaranty butter, on a nonphysical firm."

With love 8), Adila.
Nov 9, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hey everyone, I am looking for some advice and opinions.

I have over 15 years in the Army, I am in the Guard now. The majority of my career has been in the telecommunications installation field, copper, fiber terminations and splicing, installing equipment in SCIF's and any other facility similar to that. I have changed career fields in the Guard to SIGINT Analyst. I completed Arabic at DLI and then Honor grad from the Goodfellow course, I have the clearance (TS/SCI) and poly and the other stuff that goes along with it. I have read alot of the posts here and right now I know I am lacking the experience. Does anyone have any recommendations for a place to look into for entry level positions? I am pretty open to all suggestions. Thanks for any help you guys and gals have.
Nov 27, 2009 Solution by original poster
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This may bea tad off topic but how does a bankruptcy affect renewal of my TS/SCI clearance?

How often are clearances renewed? Im about 2 years into a 6 year guard enlistment as an intel analyst.

Would a bankruptcy interfere with me getting a job as a civilian contractor?

Thanks a bunch.
Dec 20, 2009 Solution by original poster
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This is not entirely true. I have an active TS/SCI clearance. I obtained it through the military, and I have never taken a poly. It is true, however, that you cannot just sign up to take a poly. If it is needed for the position you are applying to, and you pass the rest of the interview process, the agency you applied to will make the necessary arrangements to give you a poly.

Good Luck. KDS

KDS
Dec 23, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Almost graduated has a lot to learn. I've had TS/SCI for 12 years, make $114K on my contract and have never taken a poly. You only need a poly if the job requires it. As for your professor from a "three letter agency" um,,,,,,,, you can say CIA, FBI, NSA. They aren't secret. You are very wet behind the ears bud.
Dec 23, 2009 Solution by original poster
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While that may be a good route to take I say try to find an internship. I had a paid internship in college which provided me with a TS clearance and I was not obligated to any duty. And also you are obligated to military service whenever your unit is mobilized not just one weekend a month.
Dec 27, 2009 Solution by original poster
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Hello, I have a quick question, I did an internship in college with the DIA and received a TS/SCI which was in spring of 2007. How long are clearances active for? Is there any way I could find out for sure? I now work at the Department of Justice and have a secret clearance so would this replace my previous TS clearance? Thanks
Jan 2, 2010 Solution by original poster
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Your clearance is adjudicated every 5 years. However, you only have clearance required for the job you are currently doing. If you have TS/SCI, you need to get a position that requires that level of clearance. You'll make alot more money. DIA is hiring like crazy; you need to go to USA Jobs and apply for positions that require TS/SCI since yours is still good.
Jan 3, 2010 Solution by original poster
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I've finished with intel school at Goodfellow, went to SERE at Fairchild, IFTU at Macguire. I have my TS/SCI. Since I'm in the Air Guard I'd like to get a job with DIA or a contractor. I've filled out an application with the Navy/Marine Corps (previous page here) and have filled out a job application on DIA.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make the process go faster?
Jan 12, 2010 Solution by original poster
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