What Is the Best Degree For Becoming a Military Intelligence Officer?

What Is the Best Degree For Becoming a Military Intelligence Officer?

Each branch of the military has its own intelligence department. These departments are comprised of military personnel from each respective branch.

These military intelligence departments work closely with the national intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, which are comprised primarily of civilians.

Degrees in engineering, computer science and foreign languages can often be very useful. At the bare minimum a bachelor’s degree is required, and in sensitive positions often advanced degrees are preferred.

Fields that may specifically carry significant weight when applying for a job as an Intelligence Officer include: international affairs, intelligence, national/homeland security, terrorism studies, international business, foreign cultural studies, economics and political science.

Naval Intelligence

The U.S. Navy’s intelligence is handled by the Office of Naval Intelligence.

In addition to being fully staffed by Navy personnel, ONI as it is commonly known, offers employment to civilians as well. Intelligence departments of the ONI include: Scientific & Technical Intelligence, Maritime Intelligence, Global Maritime Intelligence Integration & Maritime Domain Awareness, Maritime Intelligence Watch, Ship Tracking, Counter Piracy, Counter Proliferation & Trafficking, Foreign Naval Analysis, Fleet Intelligence Support and Intelligence IT.

The ONI has one of the most advanced military intelligence units and backgrounds in engineering, computer science and technology are valued.

Army Intelligence

The Army’s branch of military intelligence is known as The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. INSCOM, as the army’s intelligence branch is known, also manages a program known as the Military Intelligence Civilian Excepted Career Program (MICECP). MICEP is a worldwide civilian organization that conducts sensitive intelligence and counterintelligence operations.

The types of skills sought by MICEP include: Foreign Counterintelligence, Cyber Counterintelligence, Overt Human Intelligence Debriefing, Offensive Counterintelligence Operations, Counterintelligence Investigations, Collection, Analysis, and Production, Target Exploitation, Counterintelligence Force Protection Source Operations/Military Counterintelligence Collections, Liaison and Intelligence Support and Foreign Languages.

Being fluent in a foreign tongue is an actual requirement of being a civilian intelligence office with the Army. Because this job is often foreign-based and requires frequent travel, a background in foreign cultural studies or international business would be beneficial.

The human element of on-the-ground intelligence is used frequently in this department which might also make backgrounds in fields such as psychology, communications, interpersonal communications and sociology valuable.

Air Force Intelligence

The division of Air Force Intelligence is known as the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

The ISR primarily employs only Air Force personnel, but having a bachelor’s degree is a basic requirement of becoming an Intelligence Officer in the Air Force.


The choices are wide and varied when it comes to deciding which is the best degree for becoming a military intelligence officer.

Both the army personal path and civilian route provide many and separate opportunities. Above all, a degree in any field is valued over none. Some fields are specifically geared to work in intelligence, while others are more obscure, yet all can lead to the same place.

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