Intelligence Analysis is one of the most exciting jobs in the world! But…it can also be boring. Allow me to explain..
Let’s be real. Intelligence is not all lock-picking and high-speed car chases through the streets of Madrid.
This week I’ve been pondering some common misconceptions about the world of intelligence analysis.
So here are some straight truths for budding new Intelligence analysts.
Truth 1 – You need a burning desire to make things better
If you just want to get into intelligence to impress a girl, or because you’re a masochistic idiot who desires to develop a thousand yard stare, GTFO.
Truth 2 – You need a network
In the last James Bond movie, our hero spends the majority of the movie as a rogue agent jet-setting alone from place to place.
In actual fact, you need to know you can count on people, you cannot be a loner.
How do you build your network? Give value to others, give – don’t just take! I find it helps to know what other people are working on and actively share relevant information I find.
Truth 3 – Intelligence Analysts are not ‘born geniuses’
Good intelligence professionals take time each day to sit, read and learn about their craft. They ask good questions and find out what they don’t know.
Truth 4 – You don’t always need to be right
Intelligence is about making the best guess based on the information you have at hand.
If information changes or you get it wrong – brush it off, update your hypothesis and get on with your job.
Being scared to make a call because you’re worried you’ll get it wrong will make you an ineffective analyst. Plain and simple.
Truth 5 – Intelligence. No credit but all the blame
We’ve all heard of Intelligence failures before – but when was the last time you heard of intelligence wins?
Intelligence analysts are sometimes second fiddle to operational staff who often get the credit for a job well done.
I know plenty of analysts who’ve done the heavy lifting in criminal investigations but fail to get the praise.
Guess what? It comes with the territory! Be proud of your own achievements and share your wins with the team.
Truth 6 – Opportunities Abound
When I was in the Army full-time Intelligence staff were always the first to deploy, and often in so many different roles.
If you’re interested in travel, seeing interesting parts of the world, or deploying overseas, intelligence is likely to be your golden ticket.