The intelligence community is at the heart of strategy and operations in America’s Navy. Leaders here are armed with analyzed, processed and integrated information related to international policy and military strategy. And given the country’s continued vigilance about national security, it’s a challenging area that’s in high demand.
Intelligence is knowledge based on the collection and analysis of an adversary’s strengths, weaknesses, capabilities and intentions. Supervising the collection, analysis and dissemination of such critical knowledge are Naval Intelligence (INTEL) Officers. They work with classified data generated from sources ranging from satellite images to Internet chatter to military and spy reports. And they use it to help protect our nation's interests.
Serving as Officers (four-year degree required), Intelligence Officers are leaders in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) – a group of highly specialized information experts fully integrated across surface, subsurface, air, space and cyberspace domains. With shared functions, capabilities and resources, IDC members leverage their skills to optimize decision making and to maximize the use of sensors, weapons, network communications and control systems for purposes of national security and warfighting.
Intelligence Officers serve at the forefront of challenges to national security – providing tactical, operational and strategic intelligence support to U.S. Naval forces and joint and multinational military forces as well as executive-level decision makers in our national government. As an INTEL Officer, you will lead Sailors and manage information key to carrying out missions. This role may include:
- Leading the planning, development, testing and deployment of information systems crucial to the intelligence process
- Monitoring and analyzing maritime activities that pose a threat to national security, such as drug smuggling, illegal immigration, arms transfers, environmental mishaps and violations of UN sanctions
- Delivering near-real-time operational intelligence assessment to high-level decision makers
- Developing plans for intelligence operations, managing intelligence programs and producing supporting documents
- Enabling the collection of human intelligence
- Providing intelligence that drives carrier air wing and battle group operations or that supports Special Operations
- Managing the prioritization of requirements and the tasking of resources to collect information
- Conducting long-term analysis of the technical strengths and weaknesses of foreign weapons systems
- Becoming qualified as a Foreign Area Officer or serving abroad as a Defense or Naval Attaché assigned to an embassy
- Leading teams of Enlisted experts who identify enemy targets for subsequent prosecution by U.S. or coalition forces
- Overseeing the work of Intelligence Specialists – Enlisted Sailors (no degree required) who help convert information into intelligence
Intelligence Officers serve in challenging roles of increasing scope and responsibility. Depending on interests, background and performance, there are opportunities to serve in a variety of sea and shore assignments worldwide. This includes assignments on ships as well as at Joint Intelligence Centers.
Training & Advancement
Those pursuing an Intelligence Officer position are required to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, R.I. Upon completion, they attend a five-month basic course of instruction at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Dam Neck, Va., where they receive training in electronic, anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-air, amphibious and strike warfare; counterintelligence; strategic intelligence; air defense analysis; and combat mission planning.
From there, INTEL Officers embark on a 30-month operational fleet tour. This is typically an assignment with an aviation squadron, with an air wing staff or on board an aircraft carrier or amphibious command ship. In the course of service, specialized training received could lead to credentialing and/or certification opportunities from a number of national boards and organizations. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but are competitive and based on performance.
Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Intelligence Officers can advance their education through the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Navy (SOCNAV) Degree Program, by pursuing opportunities at institutions such as Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) or Navy War College (NWC), and by completing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) at one of the various service colleges.
Like most positions, promotions depend upon your performance and time in service. Navy Officers are rewarded with excellent benefits – including a competitive salary and opportunities to earn additional pay for special duty.
A four-year degree is required to work as an Intelligence Officer. Candidates seeking an Officer position in this community must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, preferably in areas of study such as international relations, political science, government, engineering, physical science, natural science, computer science or other academic fields related to intelligence.
All candidates must also be U.S. citizens, willing to serve worldwide and eligible for a special intelligence security clearance.
After the Navy
The specialized training and expertise you gain as an Intelligence Officer, coupled with your security clearance, may prepare you for a wide range of job opportunities available within the U.S. Intelligence Community, including future employment with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or National Security Agency (NSA).
Other career opportunities in the civilian sector include work as Intelligence Analysts, Management Analysts, General and Operations Managers, and Public Relations Specialists.
Consider Your Service Options.
There are different ways that you can commit to serve in America’s Navy. Besides full-time opportunities in Active Duty, part-time Reserve positions are also available in this career area.