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    USNA Service Assignment Spotlight: Navy Intelligence Officer

    By Bill the Goat on March 4, 2024

    USNA Service Assignment Spotlight: Navy Intelligence Officer

    Being the most technologically advanced navy in the world relies on having the most accurate, timely, and secure information. The tools and skill sets for information gathering both now and throughout the U.S. Navy’s history have been cutting edge, and the Navy has long relied on its superior information warfare capabilities to beat its adversaries and protect its interests through secure communication among officers, sailors, and civilians.

    The U.S. Naval Academy is proud to give USNA service assignments to the graduating midshipmen who supply critical data and support to its global network. This is the story of the women and men who are tasked with this mission as Navy intelligence officers.


    What Is INTEL?

    INTEL is grouped within the relatively recently formed information warfare committee (IWC) which encompasses the following roles:

    • METOC/Oceanography Officer
    • Cryptologic Warfare Officer
    • Information Professional Officer
    • Intelligence Officer
    • Cyber Warfare Engineer


    Related: Service Assignment Spotlight: Navy Surface Warfare Officer


    More specifically, Intelligence (INTEL) is a Restricted Line community containing approximately 1,600 Navy intelligence officers, who are the Navy’s focal point for understanding the enemy’s capability and intent. In short, INTEL’s mission is “Know your adversaries!” 


    Guiding Principles

    These officers are part of a group that conducts full spectrum intelligence operations by cultivating a deep understanding of the adversary. These are their guiding principles:


    1. Counter the Enemy’s Operational and Information Security: The key to foreknowledge of the enemy and its intentions is deep access into each target to gain reliable insight. To achieve this end, they aggressively pursue a wide range of traditional and non-traditional operations.
    2. Excel in All-Source and Predictive Analysis: Their ability to provide forward-leaning, all-source assessments to influence and drive action is one of their most valued contributions to national security. The context, nuance and insight provided by their deep expertise in regional, technical, and functional areas is what separates intelligence from mere information.
    3. Understand and Communicate the Threat: They must provide commanders with a deep and comprehensive understanding of the threats facing our Navy and our nation. They must remain abreast of emerging technologies and intentions, as well as the most significant security challenges facing our nation.


    How to Become a Navy Intelligence Officer

    As you might imagine, this USNA service assignment is highly coveted—and highly competitive. After graduation from USNA, new intelligence officers head to Virginia Beach, Virginia, to attend the Information Warfare Basic Course (IWBC) and Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course (NIOBC) for a total of twenty-three weeks. Afterwards, they usually complete a 24-month tour with an aviation squadron, air wing staff, onboard an aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, or with an expeditionary or special warfare unit. During this assignment, officers must complete the Intelligence Officer Qualification Program within eighteen months, and complete the Information Warfare Officer (IWO) qualification within 24 months.


    What Does a Navy Intelligence Officer Do?

    Like the Navy EOD officer, Navy intelligence officers can be deployed all over the world in a variety of capacities. Based on their background, interests, and performance, they may be positioned at sea or on shore. Generally, they’ll serve at least three sea/operational duty assignments within a twenty-year career, including these areas of assignment focus:

    • Operational Intelligence: Deliver near-real-time intelligence assessments to commanders, decision-makers, and operators.
    • Targeting: Identify and appropriately prosecute enemy targets.
    • Intelligence Support to Special Ops: Support special warfare through all levels of war.
    • Human-Source Intelligence: Face-to-face interaction in a challenging collection discipline.
    • Collection Management: Manage the prioritization of requirements and the tasking of intelligence resources.
    • Scientific and Technical: Participate in analysis of foreign weapons systems.
    • Civil Maritime Intelligence: Monitor and analyze maritime activities that threaten national security.
    • Combatant Command Staff Officer: Develop plans, manage programs, and produce supporting documents.
    • Attaché: Support theater engagement and cultivate regional and language expertise.

    Related: Service Assignment Spotlight: Navy Pilot and NFO


    Where Navy Intelligence Officers Are Made

    At USNA, we are proud to support our midshipmen in preparing for their USNA service assignment as Navy Intelligence Officers. You can make a difference for them too. The Naval Academy Business Services Division (NABSD) supports the Brigade of Midshipmen by giving proceeds from our 20 business units to help our midshipmen be successful, well-rounded future leaders. We support a variety of extracurricular activities such as cultural arts, theater, music, club sports, and other activities. When you visit and explore USNA through tours, dining, and shopping, you’re directly supporting the Brigade. NABSD and the intelligence officers thank you for your support.


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    Bill the Goat
    Written by Bill the Goat | March 4, 2024


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