Career question - Intel?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by rd2849, May 20, 2016.

  1. rd2849

    rd2849 Member

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    This is my second post and I would greatly appreciate any feedback. Last week, my son just received notification that he was appointed to the Class of 2020 - USAFA. This is very exciting news, but my son has his heart on being a Naval officer. (he applied to Naval Academy and was rejected) This being said, his long term goal is to be an intelligence officer in some capacity after graduating, serve his five year, re-up for one more term, and then try and get into the CIA, FBI, NSA etc. In terms of his major, he would pursue political science if he attends Air Force. (we visited just yesterday) His back-up plan is to attend SDSU through the NROTC program. My question is this. In terms of career (long term includes the 5 years and 20+ years after degree), what service academy (between Navy and Air Force - I realize that Army has the best intel program) provides the best path to achieve his goal of being in Intel? My son does not want to be "stuck" behind a terminal for 12 hours a day and would rather do work that is hands on, in the field, and diverse. He is trying to make the right decision and feels that being a Service Warfare Officer (if he does not accept the appointment) might be another viable option to reach his end goal. Thanks in advance for your help and feedback!!
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Plenty here for a variety of people to respond to ...

    With regard to getting into one of the ABC Agencies as a credentialed agent, junior officers are highly regarded. Major and warfare specialty are of interest, but not that important to certain ABC paths. Top performance during military career is, with flawless conduct as well as physical fitness. As a retired Navy officer, along with retired Navy officer/USNA grad DH, we sponsor USNA mids. One mid majored in Oceanography, went Surface Warfare (not Service Warfare, easy to conflate), got out at 7 years, was an Outward Bound Leader for two years, applied to a premier ABC, and is now doing very interesting ops things in the field. His/her roomie at ABC training was a West Point grad, Military Police, with English major. Another sponsor mid grad went Marine ground, a Comms type, served 6 years, and is now OCONUS for another ABC, doing very interesting things. We know several more we simply don't talk about. Quite often the ABCs find their candidates in their own way. There is also the analyst path at the various ABCs. The ABCs value the leadership, accountability, teamwork, athleticism, integrity, trainability and pre-cleared nature of junior officers with 5-8 years active duty under their belt. The Foreign Service is also an agency that values the same things and offers interesting opportunities. Going into Intel certainly provides a good path into analyst pathways at the ABCs, DOD contractor cleared positions, NSA and related Service civilian Intel positions. Employment won't be a problem.

    As far as picking between the two, DS should figure out what Service he would be happiest in, and take that path, just my take. If he is happy in his chosen path, he will find it easier to be a top-performing JO, which will make him stand out when applying to the ABCs down the road. IMPO, the B.S. from an SA, regardless of major, does provide a slight edge in the tech nature of ABC work today, as would a B.S. from a well-regarded civilian college. The Oceanography grad I mentioned above was selected for specialized tech team leader training for certain field ops because it was expected he/she could handle it due to of the STEM-heavy SA curriculum and MS degree. You can see from my other comments, non-STEM majors succeed as well. Performance as a JO is a critically weighted factor.

    A nice choice to have. There is also go NROTC and re-apply to USNA option. Plenty of threads about that.

    Best wishes for a confident decision and future success.
     
  3. rd2849

    rd2849 Member

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    Thanks for your feedback and input.........
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    You are welcome.
     
  5. rd2849

    rd2849 Member

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    Tha
    Thanks so much for your feedback sir. I have a follow up question. Because my son is dead set for Navy and Annapolis (he even prefers NROTC at SDSU vs. AFA), can you articulate the chances of him being a communications officer when he becomes a SWO? As I stated before, the field that he is most interested in is intelligence...that being said, is being a SWO a good choice for this career path? ( he does not want to be a SEAL, pilot or on a sub) I just want to better understand his chances of acquiring this skill set (intel) while he is serving his commission on a ship.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    A junior Surface Warfare Officer can be ordered to and rotate among various roles on a ship, designed to help the new officer advance toward professional qualifications as a SWO.

    With regard to the Intel community - I suggest he do some legwork with the ROTC unit to determine what the paths are. I am not as familiar with current NROTC as I am with USNA, and even then, there has been a lot of change in the community, including nomenclature, in recent years.

    Intelligence Officers are in their own community, what is called Restricted Line, meaning they will primarily do Intel jobs and may only command units within the Intel community. Unrestricted line officers, such as SWO, may command ships and other types of units.

    I will defer to more informed posters on how going Intel works these days, either from NROTC or USNA. It's either a limited number are allowed to go direct to Intel - or - they go SWO with Intel option, meaning they go to a ship for a tour, earn SWO qualification, then rotate to Intel school pipeline and on to Intel assignments, switching communities.. We haven't had a USNA sponsor mid go that route for 3 years, hence deferral to those more current.
    If they don't get tapped for Intel either of those two ways, they can go SWO, and after obtaining warfare qualification, can apply and compete for lateral transfer and re-designation into the Intel community. No guarantees there.


    http://www.navy.com/careers/information-and-technology/intelligence.html#ft-key-responsibilities


    http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/officer/Detailing/IWC/intelligence/Pages/OfficerAccession.aspx
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
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  7. rd2849

    rd2849 Member

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    Thanks so much....It is a difficult decision that he is faced with - and turning down Air Force is hard to believe. He is so committed being a Naval officer that he feels strongly that he is making the right call. Ultimately, its his decision and I can only guide and advise.
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    He is definitely looking at the right things... Service first then school. Either path has great options. Capt MJ is spot on about Intel in the USN. It is restricted line and the path to it is different then unrestricted line. Lots of old threads about Intel in the USN. Also, you mention he 'wants hands on'. What does that mean in his mind? The Intel communities are unique in each service but also have shared unique features. If hands on means running around the field, you would get that more on the Army and USMC side. But the Intel community has lots of joint tours and individual augment billets that has all the service members running around, working with other agencies and joint command stateside tours. If he wants SWO he should get it. Also he will get exposure to all the career fields and he may change his mind. Good luck!
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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