5 Reasons to Serve as a Military Intelligence Officer

Military Intelligence Officers are responsible for all intelligence gathered or learned during missions executed by combat arms.  They are always out in front providing essential intelligence and also assess risks associated with friendly and enemy COA and act to counter neutralize identified threats.  Without Military Intelligence Soldiers and Officers, Combat leaders would have a very difficult time executing IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield) or other battlefield analysis (i.e. OAKOC, METT-TC, etc.) as the MI information helps us reduce uncertainty with respect to the enemy situation, light, weather and terrain.  In addition to the immense contribution MI Officers make directly to the units they support.

In the paragraphs below, I want to share my 5 Reasons to Serve as a Military Intelligence Officer. 

1. A Wide Array of Duties to Perform: When we think of MI, oftentimes we think of Soldiers sitting at a computer screen or reading reports.  However, MI Officers have the opportunity to serve within many different aspects of intelligence gathering.  For example:

  • Imagery Intelligence: Collection and analysis of optical, infrared and RADAR images using photogrammetry and terrain analysis.
  • All-Source Intelligence: Provide management of all surveillance and recon activities providing advice on use of resources, etc.
  • Counterintelligence: Just as the name states…
  • HUMINT: Collection of human intelligence (i.e. Interviews, etc.)
  • Signal/Electronic Warfare: Collection and use of electronic and signal communication means to provide intelligence or counterintelligence.

2. Helpful Civilian Skills: The skills obtained in the MI Branch of serving are highly transferrable in the civilian job market and especially the public sector.  I have known many MI Soldiers and Officers to go on and serve at the State and Federal Level in various scopes simply based on their MI Experience (i.e. CIA, DIA, FBI, etc.).  You will have honed skills such as cryptology, computer science, mathematical and engineering skills that are in high demand.  Not only that, but the security clearances obtained while serving in the MI branch are also equally desired.

3. Close to the Action, but NOT Combat Arms: MI Officers and their subordinates get very close to the front lines of battle.  After all, it is these men and women who provide the required intelligence to the units they support before they ever step outside the wire.  For many who joint the military, Combat Arms is not the most appealing profession.  However, MI allows many to obtain a “taste” of the battlefield without necessarily being in harms way.  In fact, a fellow peer of mine branched MI and then decided to earn his Blue Cord after a deployment, being inspired by the experience he had as an MI Officer.

4. Still Have Command Time: Many Officer’s seek other branches, particularly Combat Arms because they desire to have some Command time.  MI is one branch that allows you that opportunity.  MI Captains often command and control Companies with 200-300 Soldiers and coordinate the employment of these Soldiers at all levels.  Not only that but these Officers also help develop doctrine, organizations and equipment for unique purposes.

5. Desire to Feel Like a Spy: I will admit it…some of the operations that MI Soldiers carry out is pretty sexy stuff.  I mean, some of the operations are highly classified and are almost something out of a spy novel.  Only in the Army can you be afforded the opportunity to do something that incredible and get paid doing it!  Who knows…maybe you have a desire to be a CIA agent or an FBI agent….what better way to get your foot in the door than being an MI Officer?

Final Thoughts

If you’ve ever served as a Military Intelligence Officer, I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment and tell us the things you like most about what you do.  I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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6 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Serve as a Military Intelligence Officer”

  1. This seems like the perfect job choice for that person that couldn’t live without seeing a James Bond movie once a week. I actually had met and worked for a person on a project that had Military Intelligence as their background. They now have their own company training police and military on hostage negotiations and such.

    When you mentioned all the civilian opportunities by having Military Intelligence as a background, it is immense. If you consider how many companies would hire in security or company intelligence, the job possibilities are endless.

    Thanks for this post. I hope it opens minds and eyes to possibilities in the military.

  2. I think that the word “intelligence” is misunderstood. When we talk “intelligence” we can talk from things as simple as enemy information (i.e. composition, disposition, strength, COA, risk estimates, etc.) and information as highly classified such as the intel gathered about bin Laden. For the most part, anyone who is MI…there family knows. Now what they can and can’t tell them would vary but it all depends on what level of intelligence they are operating at.

  3. Faith A. Coleman

    Just the word “intelligence makes the job sound riskier and more exciting, more important, even. What shouldn’t wouldn’t want to toss out with feigned humility that they’re intelligence. At the most superficial level of intelligence are the soldiers able to let people, family, friends know that they’re in intelligence. It could be rather “heady” or sexy stuff to borrow your words. What do people tell their family and friends when they can’t disclose what they’re doing?

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