So – how can you become an intelligence analyst today (even if you’ve got no experience)?The intelligence profession is expanding immensely, now incorporating ‘non-traditional’ roles and organisations. Today many government departments are leveraging intelligence analysts for their unique operational environments. Environmental, energy, and even education departments are using intelligence to cut through the noise and provide insight from information. We’re seeing the same enthusiasm for intelligence in the private sector also. Private companies, Defense contractors and OSINT businesses are demanding skilled and capable intelligence analysts! It’s now much easier to find experience, develop your skills and become an Intelligence professional than ever before… And so, this article will teach you the four steps to getting started in intelligence, even if you’ve got experience at all – Follow these four steps below to get started in intelligence today: Step 1. Identify Your Problem Step 2. Own Your Environment Step 3. Move the needle Step 4. Share your Intel
Step 1. Identify Your Problem. Define your Battlespace.Step 1 is all about determining your focus area. It involves choosing your battlespace. As a military intelligence analyst, you are posted to a different location and unit every 3-4 years. These re-deployments require you to refocus on a new problem or battlespace. As an intelligence analyst, you need to define the ‘problem set’ you’re going to own. There’s a range of different environments for you to operate in, each will have unique challenges and interesting elements. However, an Intelligence analyst cannot be everything to everyone. You cannot spread yourself too thin on the ground. The best intelligence comes from that which is highly targeted and highly focused. So, to become an intelligence analyst today, the first step is to define the problem you’re going to become a subject matter expert in. To do this ask yourself the following questions;
- What news reporting, blogs and current affairs am I most interested in?
- If I could learn the inner workings of an issue or problem – what would it be?
- If I had to brief the president (or insert key decision maker) on a topic or issue, what would it be?
This process will get you learning about intelligence, and developing the skills needed to become an intelligence professional.I get it, there’s many a rabbit to chase – but you need to learn the skills, so focus on developing them here. To become a skilled and professional intelligence analyst, you need to choose ONE problem set and crush it before jumping into the next. Not sure what problem you want to get involved in? here are some examples; Criminal Intelligence
- Money Laundering
- Kidnap for Ranson
- Counter Narcotics
- Prisons / Corrections
- Border Protection
- Organised Crime
- Explosive Ordinance (IEDs etc)
- Issue Motivated Groups & Extremists
- Identity Theft and Fraud
- Illegal Wildlife Poaching & Smuggling
- Islamic Extremism
- Religious Extremism
- Ideological Extremism
- Domestic Terrorism
- Terrorist Funding (Hawala etc)
- Corporate Espionage
- Counter Espionage
- Small Arms and Munitions
- Explosive Ordinance (IEDs)
- Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency
- Black Swan
- Geo-Politics and strategic awareness
- Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Energy (CBRNE)
- Child exploitation
- Illegal slavery
- Illegal labour
Step 2. Own Your EnvironmentQuestion: What makes an Intelligence Professional successful? Answer: They understand their operating environment better than anyone else and offer unique insights that shape decisions. Welcome to step 2, becoming subject matter experts. This step is all about owning your environment. Here our job is to understand and own our operational environment so we can make informed assessments and provide unique insights. To do this, you gotta get into it… You can’t fake this part. To truly own your environment, successful intelligence analysts need to read / research and learning EVERYTHING relevant to their specific problem. Let’s say you’ve chosen to Domestic Terrorism, and you’re researching the threat posed by sovereign citizens. To provide any real value, you’re going to need to dive in and understand the context, and all elements of the problem. Same for counter-narcotics, illegal immigration, Islamic extremism and industrial espionage – Each present unique operational environments you need to learn about. Fortunately, you don’t need to be in the industry to learn and research it. Remember, we’re becoming intelligence analysts today, and you can become a subject matter expert in a specific problem very quickly. So, owning your environment involves the following elements:
- Identifying current trends and issues,
- Defining the problem(s) that exist and what causes them,
- Understanding what has happened to this point,
- Identifying information and knowledge gaps
Step 3. Move the NeedleIntelligence analysts ‘move the needle‘ by making a valuable contribution to their operating environment. So, after learning the current trends and issues, you should have an understanding of what information is missing, and what needs further research. These knowledge gaps become your information requirements. Information requirements form the direction for intelligence collection. Let’s assume you’re interested in researching drug supply from Mexico across the border into the United States. In step two you researched the trends, issues and drivers for the problem and identified the historical context also – To move the needle, you need to identify what’s missing, what information is currently unknown… Mexico Drug Smuggling – Example:
- Is there a connection between drug supply and human trafficking from Mexico into the United States?
- Are drugs reportedly cheaper in one area of the United States than another? Why? Could this be linked to supply?
- Has the reported seizure rates of drugs from Mexico increased or decreased over the past 10 years? Does this indicate intervention is having a positive or negative effect on supply?
Step 4. Share Your IntelligenceOk, so you’re probably thinking – “I’ve done all this research, I’m pretty au fiat with sovereign citizens, or whatever the hell is going on in Venezuela, what can I do with all this…?” So this is where the fun begins – You’re now a subject matter expert, you’ve got insights to offer and intelligence to provide. You know need to share it with the world. Today, there’s more and more companies, organisations and non-profits desperate for unique insights and who can benefit for your intelligence. Now we just need to find them and get their attention. Social Media Do you even social? While it’s taken me a few years, I’ve recently got well into Twitter – perhaps it’s my short attention span or love of funny memes, but 140 characters seem to be enough for me to ‘say what I need to say and move on’. But there are tones of value on social media, which provides you with an opportunity to not only share your intel with the world but to reach out and connect with people and organisations who can benefit. I recommend:
- Create a Twitter account specifically for your chosen problem set. You could use your personal account, but I’d create a new one and then start finding those people in the same circles.
- Use hashtags, and keyword searches on Twitter and Facebook to find people have the conversations you can value add to (in fact you should have done this back in step 2).
- Reach out, comment, post and ask them to read and review your intelligence.
- Submit your work via email to businesses, firms, agencies and non-profits who could benefit from it and seek feedback.
- Identify and define your operational environment
- Research it thoroughly and become a subject matter expert.
- Move the needle by providing insights into a problem, and
- Share your intelligence with decision makers and people who can use it
From Information to Intelligence
- Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the Intelligence Cycle and the Foundations of Intelligence Analysis?
- Learn how to make Intelligence collection plans and write Intelligence Briefs?
- Understand Intelligence Collection methods including HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, GEOINT, and OSINT?
- Compile Strategic Analysis and deliver Oral Briefings?
- Apply your Intelligence training to different roles and environments including Law Enforcement, Military, Counter-terrorism?
- Develop your critical thinking and learnt to use various analytical methods?
- Understand the impact of Intelligence in multi-disciplinary roles?
- Then join us in our interactive Intelligence Training Course today.