Physically Qualified Intel?

RoughRider26

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Good Morning,

I was wondering if midshipmen who are interested in intel can commission into intel as physically qualified midshipmen or if it is still only NPQ. I saw 8 mids in Class of 2019 commissioned intel but am unsure about whether they are all NPQ? Am interested in any USNA instructions clarifying whether PQ mids can now commission into intel.
Thank you!
 

usna1985

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My understanding is as follows: To go into the Intel community directly from USNA, you must be NPQ for unrestricted line. You can go directly into Information Warfare without being NPQ (IOW, it's treated as an unrestricted line community for purposes of service assignment). You can also go SWO/Intel option, which means you start as a SWO and then are "guaranteed" a transition to Intel. That is also available to those going unrestricted line.

(If the above is incorrect or has changed, I'm sure someone will correct me:))
 

Just Dad

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Hey! Something I know about! (second hand------?maybe?).

I understand from DD that Intel service assignments go mostly to "NPQ" Mids. Every year Intel takes 2-3 Line Qualified Mids, but competition for these slots is tougher (I think) than selection into Med school Programs. Strong USNA GPA, including success in Stem courses, Lots of extra curricular stuff related to Intel, NAFAC, Debate, Brigade/Company/Squad leadership, and convincing the folks making the call that you ought to be selected out of a large and competent bunch of Mids chasing the same goal.

DD has chased one of these line Qualified Intel slots since mid-way through plebe year. Gave up a"starting position" in a sport she loves (to this day) in Oder to free up time for all that NAFAC /Debate/Company leadership stuff. Over the years at USNA she has mentioned a couple of times that things would be much easier if she wanted to fly, go subs, go SWO , Etc. She recently had a minor medical issue looked into; when I expressed concern over a possible impact to her pursuit of an Intel Slot after Graduation she said "It wouldn't make me NPQ, but if it did it would be good news for getting an Intel slot".

Looking at things from the outside-in I think:
1) An increased reliance on Special Warfare drives a need for expanding naval intel to support SW operations;
2) A massive increase in ephsysis upon Cyber Warfare, will create a requirement for more intel folks to deploy USN Cyber's work product into operations; and
3) A post sequestration move away from contracted out "intel services" toward a strengthen organic DoD Intel capability.

All three should, drive an increase in the USN, USAF, and USArmy Intel components. It wouldn't surprise me if Line Qualified Intel Service Slots bounced to 4-6-8 slots by 2023.4

But I am just a guy with a kid/DD/Mid at the USNA.


Now, maybe somebody who "Really knows" will answer your question.
 
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OldRetSWO

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Hey! Something I know about! (second hand------?maybe?).

I understand from DD that Intel service assignments go mostly to "NPQ" Mids. Every year Intel takes 2-3 Line Qualified Mids, but competition for these slots is tougher (I think) than selection into Med school Programs. Strong USNA GPA, including success in Stem courses, Lots of extra curricular stuff related to Intel, NAFAC, Debate, Brigade/Company/Squad leadership, and convincing the folks making the call that you ought to be selected out of a large and competent bunch of Mids chasing the same goal.

DD has chased one of these line Qualified Intel slots since mid-way through plebe year. Gave up a"starting position" in a sport she loves (to this day) in Oder to free up time for all that NAFAC /Debate/Company leadership stuff. Over the years at USNA she has mentioned a couple of times that things would be much easier if she wanted to fly, go subs, go SWO , Etc. She recently had a minor medical issue looked into; when I expressed concern over a possible impact to her pursuit of an Intel Slot after Graduation she said "It wouldn't make me NPQ, but if it did it would be good news for getting an Intel slot".

Looking at things from the outside-in I think:
1) An increased reliance on Special Warfare drives a need for expanding naval intel to support SW operations;
2) A massive increase in ephsysis upon Cyber Warfare, will create a requirement for more intel folks to deploy USN Cyber's work product into operations; and
3) A post sequestration move away from contracted out "intel services" toward a strengthen organic DoD Intel capability.

All three should, drive an increase in the USN, USAF, and USArmy Intel components. It wouldn't surprise me if Line Qualified Intel Service Slots bounced to 4-6-8 slots by 2023.4

But I am just a guy with a kid/DD/Mid at the USNA.


Now, maybe somebody who "Really knows" will answer your question.
Most of my classmates who ended up in Intel service selected into a "regular" line community and then did a community transfer after their initial sea tour.
I am not an Intel guy (more on this later) but I worked on a number of afloat staffs, Carrier Battle Group and Fleet Staffs and I can tell you that without a doubt,
Intel folks who had a line background had a much higher level of baseline credibility with the Commander (always a line officer!) and within the staff at large.
If my son ad wanted Intel instead of subs, I would have strongly suggested this as would my friends/classmates.

Now for my sea story: As a mid and Junior Officer, I knew next to nothing about the Intel community and at the time, their profile was much lower so few of
us knew much more about them than that there was a community. In any case, my QPR and class rank was pretty much middle of the class and I doubt that I
would have gotten much interest from them. Fast forward 25 years and I'm now in industry and, while I'd seen and worked with a bunch of Intel folks in a variety
of Active and Reserve organizations, I still considered myself to be definitely an outsider. Then my civilian boss called me in and asked me to head up a new
group that he wanted to form within our 2K employee business unit that he called "Market Research" and that I was to hire folks and get going. A year later, I
(and my people) were subsumed into our sector staff and our title changed to "Market Intelligence" where I ran the Competitive Intelligence efforts for an enterprise
of about 20K people. Among my "customers" were a retired Navy Intel Captain who I'd known for approx 30 yrs (plebe summer companymate) and a retired CIA
Division Director. They were both very happy with the intelligence that I provided to them and I know that being able to leverage my broad experience base across
the Navy and industry were a big part of my success in that arena.
was my
 

Just Dad

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Hi OldSwo.

My DD speaks of "Lat-Transfer" all the time. Thanks for the info on the realative creds of line officers moving to Intel spots vs NLQ Intel spots. I'm curious to know where a Line Qualified Mid who slots into Intel out of the Academy fit in the hierarchy. From where I sit it looks like a fairly select group of DS/DDs. Do they end up with NSOps? Washington DC basements? Or do they attach to Surface Warfare Groups as intel officers?

I know DD thinks she has a decent shot at an Intel spot out of USNA, but she is very unresponsive (to angry) when I try to understand what her "20year intel carreer"/ "lifes work" looks like).

Thanks
 
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Capt MJ

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Lateral transfer, or “lat transfer,” is a move between officer communities: line, restricted line and staff. Boards meet during the year at naval personnel HQ to review applications. Unless there is a guaranteed “deal” in place, such as SWO-Intel, that requires attainment of SWO pin and good performance, and after a specified period, transfer to the Intel community, lat transfer is not a given.

If there is no such deal in place, it is a competitive process that is also linked to the needs of the Navy. The applicant could have the most competitive package in the world, but if the owning community is short on officers in that year group, and only x or zero slots are available to “lose” to another, that can be a challenge. Equally, the applicant might have the most competitive package in the world, but the receiving community may be over-staffed or at capacity in that year group, so may take no one from year group Z, but could take from year group Z-1 or Z+1.

There is also usually a window of application specified, in terms of not more junior than and not more senior than.

I didn’t realize the manpower restraints in the process until I sat on a few of those boards and coached JOs and sponsor alumni on their packages. From the sponsor family, we’ve had a SWO get the LEP (go to law school program), SWO go Oceanography, SWO go EDO (Eng Duty Officer), SWO go HR, submariner go medical school, off top of head.

Moral of the story - no guarantees for lat transfer unless that’s “the deal” coming out of commissioning source.

If you google Navy Intelligence Officer careers, you’ll find some general descriptions.
 
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OldRetSWO

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Thanks for the info on the realative creds of line officers moving to Intel spots vs NLQ Intel spots. I'm curious to know where a Line Qualified Mid who slots into Intel out of the Academy fit in the hierarchy.
Probably the same as any other new direct accession. Rememeber, I'm not an Intel guy but from what I've seen, it would probably be Direct Access Intel folks (no warfare qual) in one group and the combination of former enlisted - whether OCS or Limited Duty Officers with the Warfare Qualified guys. In one of my Reserve Units (Fleet Staff), we had a number of warfare qual Intels - I think couple of Submariners and an NFO along with a few direct types.


From where I sit it looks like a fairly select group of DS/DDs. Do they end up with NSOps? Washington DC basements? Or do they attach to Surface Warfare Groups as intel officers?
I doubt that what you're calling select has anything to do with where they go. Just as in the case of the warfare folks, there is a pretty random-ish mix going to the various spots for initial assignments
 

Old Navy BGO

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I'm curious to know where a Line Qualified Mid who slots into Intel out of the Academy fit in the hierarchy.
It's the real world, operational experience, not the fact that a Midshipman was "line qualified" that brings credibility to the line officer that lateral transfers to a staff position after getting his/her "wings", whether it be aviation, SWO or subs. There are many outstanding intel or other staff officers that don't have wings, and having wings doesn't over come otherwise poor performance, but its only natural that operational commanders relate to those that have "been there, done that" .
 

usna1985

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For those who want Intel, be sure you understand what it means. It's NOT James Bond. It's not the CIA.

What is it? Historically, you first went to Intel school for 6 months -- it's currently in Dam Neck, VA. Your first tour was with an operational unit -- typically the intel officer for a squadron, also typically carrier-embarked. A few might go to a carrier as ship's company. Tour length is 30-36 months. Second tour would be shore-based where you sit at a desk and analyze and brief more senior officers. You'll probably be doing shift work for some or all of that time. You might change jobs during your shore tour, which is typically 36 months. Then you go back to a sea tour. That could be on a carrier (as the Assistant Intel Officer) or to an overseas duty station in a not great spot (think Diego Garcia, Guam or in the old days Iceland).

Things may have changed somewhat with the advent of information warfare. But it's still not a "glamorous" job most of the time. You read a lot of reports, do analysis, do a lot of briefing (informing peers and seniors of the threat), etc. And, the operators have a somewhat love/hate relationship with the "intel types." They rarely let you forget that you're in a support job.

This is not meant to discourage anyone from going Intel. Rather, it's to set realistic expectations. TV shows, movies and books make it seem like Intel types are doing or running secret missions, know who all the spies are, etc. They're not -- just like real NCIS agents do not investigate murders every day and have really cool offices with ultra-modern computers.

Finally, USNA exists to produce URL officer, not restricted line or staff officers. Some mids end up in these other areas for various reasons, but it's the exception and no one should enter USNA expecting to be able to do anything but URL.
 
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MidCakePa

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Is the process of getting to be a Public Relations Officer out of USNA similar?
USNA’s mission is to produce unrestricted-line officers. That means graduates who serve in surface warfare, submarines, aviation and Marine Corps as combat officers. If you’re interested in becoming a PR officer, there are other routes. But USNA is not it.
 

Capt MJ

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Is the process of getting to be a Public Relations Officer out of USNA similar?
I would say there is no “process of getting to be a Public Relations Officer out of USNA.”

PAO is not typically on offer as an officer community out of USNA, though I am sure it has been done, perhaps in the case of a NPQ midshipman where the only available O-1 seat in any of the RL or Staff communities was PAO. The mission of USNA is to produce Navy and Marine Corps Officers, and for the Navy that means the Unrestricted Line (URL) Warfare communities, with handfuls of med school slots and direct Cyber or Intel as noted above.

Officers in other communities may apply to a lateral transfer and redesignation board at a certain point in their career. They have to demonstrate top performance in their current community, and the needs of the Navy drive all of these transfers. Many PAOs proudly wear SWO pins, sub dolphins, aviation wings, etc.

There is a PAO path via OCS, presumably for those with the right kind of majors in college. Enlisted personnel from the PA ratings who gain their college degrees through various programs also go via OCS in a highly selective process.

https://www.navycs.com/officer/publicaffairs.html

Similar to other RL communities, the PAO community is small compared to the major warfare communities. They get the officers they need through OCS and lat transfer.

https://www.usna.edu/BlueAndGoldBook/careers.php

If you look at the link above, that lays out the general expectations and practices, especially WRT restricted line and staff specialties.
 

usna1985

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The mission of USNA is to produce Navy and Marine Corps Officers, and for the Navy that means the Unrestricted Line (URL) Warfare communities, with handfuls of med school slots and direct Cyber or Intel as noted above.
Cannot emphasize this enough. If you attend USNA and are physically qualified for the unrestricted line (I.e., not NPQ), there is >95% chance that you will go URL this means SWO, subs, aviation, USMC, SEAL. If that’s not your thing, look for another route to becoming an officer.
 
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