Navy Intel

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by CMG8122, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. CMG8122

    CMG8122 New Member

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    Which majors/minors are best for getting an intel spot?
    Why are there so few intel jobs available? Are they not that necessary? And what types of things might an intel officer do? Thanks.
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    No major/minor is better than another. The key is standing high in your class vs. others who want to (and are able to) select Intel. The reason there are so few jobs is that you must be NPQ for unrestricted line to select Intel directly out of USNA. See my reply to your other post for answers to your other questions.

    Suggest you ask yourself why you want to do Intel. What do YOU expect to be doing? If your answer is: reading a heck of a lot of analysis, synthesizing it, providing a succinct summary to other junior/senior officers, and working all night (literally) to do so . . . this is your field. :)

    If you expect to be James Bond . . . not happening.
     
  3. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    As usual 85 is spot on. Intel has traditionally only been available to those Not Physically Qualified for restricted line service communities. It appears this trend has changed slightly but very few billets have opened up for those physically qualified. This trend may or may not be true by the time you reach senior year. Great grades and high order or merit are what will help the most. I have worked a ton with Intel and have a ton of friends who are or were Intel officers. As stated it is a ton of analysis, briefings, etc. If you are expecting James Bond, no.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Seems fairly boring.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I almost meant unrestricted line not restricted. From what I have seen and my friends who went this path it seems a mixed bag. Once they got to O-3 lots of different and unique opportunities arise with different gigs with state dept, CIA, etc. Those programs seemed much better than the watch officer, analyze, develop briefs. Although those jobs were generally dealing with very important things with tons of exposure, but it had a lot of shift work and 365 coverage. As we all know deployment is one thing, but living that life while on shore duty sucks!
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I wouldn't say Intel is boring. I got to do some really neat things and the opportunity to work closely with VERY senior officers is great experience, whether you stay in or get out.

    However, it is definitely NOT about being a spy or anything similar. It's not like the thriller novels you read. It's not like Jack Ryan in the Hunt for Red October (for those who remember that movie). You're not going to be read into most classified programs as a JO so you're not going to know the "secrets of the universe."

    The job of an intel officer is helping line officers figure out where the threats are, how best to tackle/avoid them, etc. Some of the things I did as a squadron Intel officer: training aircrew on (at the time) Soviet platform recognition (i.e., how to differentiate an Akula sub from a Victor III sub by looking only at the sail); training officers on weapons systems capabilities; briefing aircrews prior to flights; debriefing them after flights; preparing weekly operations summaries for the squadron while on deployment; preparing the post-deployment debrief. And so on. I was also a division officer for the intel enlisted as well as the Photo-mates; I had 7 people working for me. So, I got immediate leadership opportunities -- much faster than the average jr. officer.

    Shore duty can suck (compared to unrestricted line). As a junior officer, you typically start as a watch officer. This means you work shifts -- popular ones are 2-2- and 80 (two 8-hr day shifts followed by 2 8-hr eve shifts followed by 2 8-hr mid shifts followed by 80 hrs off) and 4 12-hr day shifts followed by 4 days off followed by 4 12-hr mid shifts followed by 4 days off. This does not help one's social life -- just saying. While on watch, you read message traffic and alert senior officers if anything important happens. As an intel briefer (similar shifts), you read a bunch of stuff during the night, condense the most important stuff into a written and/or oral product and, in the morning (when you're feeling great having worked all night), you give an oral briefing to really senior officers. As noted, invaluable experience and, if you do a good job, these folks can really help your career going forward. You also get a lot of insight at a very junior level into what sr. officers are thinking.

    The above takes care of your first 4 tours, more or less. Some may have slightly different career paths, but the above is pretty much the norm.
     
  7. Annapolis2020

    Annapolis2020 Member

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    If you're interested in the computer side of things like me, then I believe the two best options are Cyber Operations at USNA (my intended major) and Computer and Network Security at USAFA. However, as 85 stated no specific degree will give you an advantage in earning a "spot" and intel isn't easily selected right off the bat anyways. I've been told by various intel people that no degree will fully prepare you for the job and additional classes and certifications are probably necessary (likely provided by your employer). You could probably major in something completed unrelated if you wanted, but I wouldn't do that personally.
     
  8. TheSavage44

    TheSavage44 Member

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    Intel is almost always reserved for those who have some medical reason to go restricted line vice unrestricted. In your case, if you're trying to go intel, I'd shoot for Computer Science, Information Technology, Cyber Security, and the like. Other than that, unless you're trying to go Nuke, your major has no correlation to service assignment
     
  9. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    That's not correct. Not saying CS/IT majors can't go SWO-Intel, but CS/IT has nothing to do with Intel. If I had to make a rough correlation like that, I would pick history or political science, since most of the Intel officers on the Yard are history or political science instructors. That said, the selectees were not history or political science majors either.

    I'm not saying you should definitely cater your major to a specific service assignment. I'm saying that major selection is not unrelated to service assignment, and the choice should be made carefully. It will affect your CQPR and OOM (Let's be honest here, the difference in time and effort between a 3.5 in Group 1 and a 3.5 in Group 2 is huge; this is not accounted for in OOM). It may affect your summer training, your eligibility for special programs, and your competitiveness for certain service assignments. Plebes do not always realize that major selection closes doors that they may want open.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2016
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  10. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't go to USNA with the intent to want to go into a restricted line billet. I ended up in the Supply Corps, which also falls into that category, but I never intended to. When I went for my commissioning physically 1/C year I was deemed NPQ, which then pushed me into only a few options... Supply, Intel, Cryptology. Fortunately, I enjoyed both my sea duty as a Supply Officer and shore duty as the Midshipman Financial Advisor back at USNA. If you only want Intel, I would suggest a different commissioning source that might make that more probable.
     
  11. Full Steam

    Full Steam Member

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    I am USNA class of 1991. I was a SWO at graduation (lo these many years ago) but am pretty familiar with Navy Intel.

    There are few service assignment slots for Intel, because the Navy Intelligence field is quite small. If you think about it, this makes sense, because a small cadre of intelligence personnel will provide information that supports a squadron, an air wing, or a fleet staff. Many ships do not have an intel designated officer onboard, but instead have a enlisted personnel on independent duty and/or a Surface Warfare Officer that has shipboard intel as a collateral duty. I've heard it said that there are fewer officers in Naval Intel than people in a Carrier Air Wing.

    There is an increasing interest in intelligence that relates to Cyber Warfare, but there is still a strong need to have people with a clear understanding of analysis, clear writing skills, regional expertise and language abilities. As a point of reference, the officers selected for Intel through OCS typically have graduate degrees, language ability (often in difficult, in demand, or multiple language), and frequently personal experience in regions of interest.

    I'm not sure I would agree with the difficulty of managing a shift work watch schedule. I know that the SWO requirements for shipboard duty sections have changed a lot over the years, with the result that there are relatively fewer duty days. (I remember being in three duty sections, ie serving a duty day every three days, and in some circumstances being port and starboard, alternating duty days, particularly as Duty Engineer or Command Duty Officer, when there were few qualified onboard. I don't think these extremes are common anymore.) On the other hand, I remember many days on sea duty when I showed up onboard around 6 am and didn't leave until after 7 pm. This was especially common in shipyard periods, where we had a full work day supervising work on the ship and then had to do sets of engineering or damage control drills after the day shift of yard workers knocked off. An 8 hour schedule with a definite turn over time and specific days off would have been incredible.

    On the other hand, I remember some periods when my dh was on shiftwork with watches and was trying to sleep during the day. I would take our (then) young kids out of the house, just to try to keep things quite, then come home around dinner time to see him before he headed out for the night watch. Like many aspects of the Navy, our various schedules both seemed normal and accepted and a tremendous burden. I think this had more to do with who I was working with and for than the particulars of the hours expected.

    I think that there are relatively more opportunities for going Intel now than when I was a mid. I agree that joining the Navy if your only goal is Intel is not a good plan. There are many things that change, including the needs and policies of the Navy. I don't see a problem with going USNA or NROTC if your first choice is Intel as long as you will also be content if you end up with something else. (SWO used to be the fall back, but last year I understand they turned down requests to go SWO.) I would offer similar warnings to a student who declared that his/her only desired career would be Navy Pilot or SEAL.
     

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