Become a Military Intelligence Analyst: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Mar 05, 2020

Research the requirements to become a military intelligence analyst. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in military intelligence.

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Military Intelligence Analysts

Military intelligence analysts collect and evaluate national and international data for security purposes. Their job duties include intensive research activities that target strategic developments. They gather and analyze data and prepare reports for high-ranking political officials.

Intelligence analysts usually work in an office setting and in teams, and typically specialize in a particular subject matter. This is a demanding career, but an analyst's expertise is essential to national security.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Political science, international relations, security studies
Experience Varies; 2 years of experience and a bachelor's degree for federal government jobs; prior deployment or military experience preferred
Key Skills Analytical and deductive reasoning, critical-thinking, problem-solving, communication and decision-making skills; ability to work with others; knowledge of artificial intelligence and geographic information systems programs; familiarity with Microsoft Office applications; experience handling classified information related to such issues as militant organizations, world conflicts, and foreign political leaders; willingness to travel
Median Salary (2020)* $69,340 (for all intelligence analysts)

Sources: O*NET OnLine, CIA, Northrop Grumman, *

A bachelor's degree is typically standard to work as a military intelligence analyst. Relevant majors include political science, international relations, and security studies. Experience requirements vary by hiring agency, but two years of experience and a bachelor's degree are desirable for federal government jobs, and prior deployment or military experience is preferred.

Military intelligence analysts should have strong analytical and deductive reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and decision making skills. They should also be able to work well with others. Additionally, they should have knowledge of artificial intelligence and geographic information systems programs as well as familiarity with Microsoft Office applications. Experience handling classified information related to such issues as militant organizations, world conflicts and foreign political leaders is also needed, as is a willingness to travel.

According to 2020 earnings information gathered by, the median annual wage for intelligence analysts was $69,340.

Steps to Be an Intelligence Analyst

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Specific military training could offer sufficient preparation for those interested in becoming intelligence analysts. However, civilians who would like to pursue intelligence careers in a military or government agency could qualify with relevant education through a bachelor's degree program. While these positions might not require a particular major, applicants could consider degrees such as political science, international affairs or information analysis.

Some schools offer degree programs in diplomacy or military studies that often provide more subject-specific courses in military history, foreign policy and intelligence studies. These programs could also train students on more technical subjects, such as counterintelligence operations and cyber security. Graduates can look for entry-level positions with government agencies, like the NSA or CIA, or private firms that offer security information, guidance or services to the government and military.

Some branches of the military prefer applicants for an intelligence analyst position to have some background or experience in military service. In order to gain experience in the field without enlisting in the military, undergraduates are typically encouraged to participate in internships with government agencies or private firms. Duties frequently vary and can range from gathering information to writing reports. Interns might need to obtain a security clearance and pass a drug test prior to beginning work

Step 2: Secure Employment

Military intelligence is a broad employment field that offers a variety of positions for analysts. Some analysts advise military officials or policymakers on weapons and resources. Those who decide to work in the armed forces may monitor intelligence missions and operations. Positions with companies that secure contracts working with government agencies are also available.

Military intelligence analysts will undergo assessments, background checks and investigations before being hired. Top-secret jobs require prior security clearance, involve lengthy application procedures, and include a polygraph exam, as well as additional evaluations.

Step 3: Advance Your Career

Consider earning an advanced degree in your field of study. Some senior- and mid-level analyst positions require specialized knowledge and 4 to 8 years of experience, though a master's degree or PhD could substitute. Applicants with a master's degree might also be preferred by employers. Additionally, take advantage of any training offered and learn one or more foreign languages, as high level communication skills are desired.

Aspiring military intelligence analysts often have at least a bachelor's degree, typically in a relevant major such as political science, international affairs, and security studies; however, individuals with a graduate-level training and military experience may be preferred by employers.

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