Intelligence Officer Path at USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by hblueberry7, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. hblueberry7

    hblueberry7 New Member

    Oct 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I am applying to the naval academy and a job interest of mine would be becoming an intelligence officer. How exactly will that happen? the whole restricted and unrestricted line thing is confusing I hope someone can explain it thoroughly?
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    Likes Received:
    As a general rule, if you are physically qualified to be an unrestricted line officer (ships, subs, aviation, USMC), you must do that. Direct commissions into Intel are only for those who are NPQ (not physically qualified).

    You can go into Cyber (sort of like intel) without being NPQ. And I think (but need someone more recent to confirm) that there are some surface line billets where you are "guaranteed" to go intel after a tour or so -- really not sure about this.

    Finally, how much do you know about Intel? Many think it's being a spy or something similar. It's not. If you search under "Intel" on this USNA forum, you'll find quite a few posts that describe what the career is like and how you can get there.
  3. tommyboy44

    tommyboy44 Member

    Apr 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    If you chop off one of your fingers you can go into intel.
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    The unrestricted line, restricted line, staff - here's a broad description.

    Unrestricted line officer communities are those warfare communities such as surface warfare, aviation warfare, submarine warfare, and a few others, which hold the majority of officers. Officers in those warfare specialties may command at sea and on shore, and not necessarily in their community. Hence, unrestricted. An aviator could command a recruiting district. Having command is critical for promotion for a URL officer. URL officers command the Fleets, become Chief of Naval Operations or Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    Restricted line officers serve in a more narrowly defined area, such as Oceanography, and will typically spend most of their careers in that area. Their CO roles generally only occur in their specialty. Hence, restricted. Command is not as necessary to their promotion path, but they will serve in equivalent positions of major responsibility. An Engineering Duty Officer (EDO, not EOD) might be a project manager for a new ship.

    Staff officers are not line officers, and include JAG, Medical Corps, Civil Engineering (CEC), Supply and others. They will typically serve in those positions their entire career, with some command opportunity.

    As always, strong performance in positions of significant responsibility is the key to promotion in ALL communities.

    The Naval Academy is designed to produce URL warfare officers. Midshipmen found NPQ for a URL warfare community may be offered restricted line or staff, based on the needs of the Navy at that time and the nature of the NPQ. There are also some limited opportunities for Med Corps and a few others. There are always exceptions and adjustments to policy - what is true this year, may not be in 5. Diligent research of, and briefings while at USNA on available career paths, provide the up-to-date info on available options. There are some paths which allow a USNA grad to go SWO with a (specific community X) option, in which they complete their SWO qualification, and with acceptable performance record, can automatically transfer into X at a certain point. Good questions to ask during a USNA CVW or Admissions briefing.

    NROTC, similar to USNA, is geared to producing URL officers, with similar exceptions.

    The Navy gains many of its staff officers through direct accession programs. Staff officers gain their college and postgrad degrees and apply for a commission, then go through an officer indoc school. Some of these have scholarship programs, such as HPSP.

    Many URL officers, after successfully completing their warfare qualifications in their community, then apply later on in their careers to do what's called "lateral transfer and re-designation" into another community. So, a surface warfare officer might apply to transfer into the Intelligence community, and be re-designated with the numeric designator for that community. The needs of the Navy, as always, drive those processes. The losing community must have the staffing levels to release an officer, and the gaining community must have the capacity to add to its end strength at a given rank and year group. The applying officer must be a strong performer with an excellent record.

    Reading official (Navy recruiting website) pages on various officer communities can be helpful. The key is officer community, not enlisted specialty.

    Be sure to read the additional links in the box at the top right of the linked article below.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  5. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016 5-Year Member

    May 23, 2011
    Likes Received:

    Disclaimer: I'm writing this from my service assignment experience last year; the IWC changes quickly and often, and that is reflected in the quotas offered and the screening process used each year. Always refer to current instructions and input from current first class midshipmen.

    The Information Warfare community is divided into four major officer designators: 1800 Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC), 1810 Cryptologic Warfare (CW), 1820 Information Professional (IP), and 1830 Intelligence (INTEL). You should do some research on each one of these communities and understand their unique and shared responsibilities and capabilities. Many midshipmen have no idea what the communities are about ("something something cyber something something", "I read a book once, so I'm a good pick for Intel"), and they get flogged in the screening interviews.

    Your options for commissioning while physically qualified from USNA are: SWO-Intel, SWO-CW, SWO-IP, Direct CW, and Direct IP.

    The major you select will matter. Common sentiment here is that the major doesn't matter for service assignment; it does for IWC. Your major will determine internship opportunities, fleet cruise opportunities, department-sponsored tours of community-specific commands, Trident scholar projects, etc. which will affect the screening process in various ways. This also means if you want IWC you might want to be taking ONI internships over jump school, and sports that chew up an entire summer might need to be reconsidered.

    SWO-Intel usually has two slots, and those will go to folks in the top twenty or so in the class.

    SWO-CW, SWO-IP, CW, and IP are also very competitive, with upwards of 40-50 midshipmen vying for a handful of slots in either community. It is the same process for both sides; all will apply and be considered for direct CW/IP, runners-up will be offered SWO-CW/IP. CW and IP will swap people based on how a midshipmen answers certain questions in the screening process, CW may think an individual would be better suited to IP despite that individual's desires, and vice versa. All of the slots for CW/IP and SWO-CW/IP went to Computer Science, Information Technology, or Cyber Operations majors, with CS majors taking the overwhelming majority.

    METOC is not possible for physically qualified midshipmen, and even among not physically qualified midshipmen there is usually only one or two slots. There was one slot last year for SWO-METOC, but I'm not sure. All slots usually go to Oceanography majors. METOC is very technical, and JOs are expected to get an Oceanography master's degree early in their careers; the community doesn't really have the time or resources to be messing around with folks that lack the background.

    Yeah, some of you might think he's making a snarky comment here, but this actually happened.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  6. SmilingParent

    SmilingParent 5-Year Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    Likes Received:
    You can also go Marine Ground out of the Academy. Then after TBS (after USNA graduation) at Quantico you select your MOS. There are a few MOS that can be selected in the intelligence area -Ground Intelligence, Human Intelligence, Signals Intelligence, and Air Intelligence. My DS is a Ground Intelligence Officer currently. Graduated USNA 2014. Don't get me wrong - there are not many that "get" selected but it is possible.
  7. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

    Jan 14, 2011
    Likes Received:

    This is all good gouge, and it's interesting to see how much has changed in the 5 years since I worries about service selection.
    More to the point, seriously?!?! I've heard of the supply corps dive, but damn...
  8. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Likes Received:
    While it is good to have some general idea of what jobs interest you, important to understand this is NOT like a civilian college where you can choose whatever major interests you and pursue that job. There is a competition among your peers for desirable selections and there is no guarantee you will get your first choice. Need to make 'joining the military' your first priority and recognize everyone will not get their first choice. During your 4 yrs you will have ample opportunity to learn about more details of jobs that might interest you.
    tommyboy44 likes this.

Share This Page