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Am I on the Right Track to be a Military Analyst?


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Hello,

My desire is to be a military analyst for the Intelligence Community. I have a B.A. in political science and plan to pursue my Masters part-time, while working, in order to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency or CIA.

I have narrowed down my degree to an M.A. Military Studies concentration in Joint Warfare from American Public University. The program is the closest thing to a war college that offers classes to civilians. I also plan to set up a job primarily through internships at government agencies.

All of this has been decided after talking to multiple IC recruiters. Combined with endless staring at the bullet points of what a CIA Military Analyst must be competent in. I was told to try security studies by a recruiter, but that is just too academic for me. I would rather figure out tactics, strategy, and the operational art to the nth degree, especially given my extensive readings and research in military history.

My question to the community is: For those who pursued a job in intelligence, am I on the right track? I just want to be sure before spending a year taking classes before I get to a summer internship.

Edited by S. A. Yeadon
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Yeah I know, that was my first question too and my first instinct. However, I checked them out with the reviews left at multiple sites to see that their military science program is decent. The curriculum taught is unlike any other program I can find in except for Georgetown's SSP concentration in military operations. It teaches you how to actually analyze military forces and conduct military operations with classes on future warfare and things like naval warfare.

I have checked out many security studies programs and can find none that teach something akin to warfighting except for Georgetown and APU. Of course, any of the U.S. Military war college curricula will do far better than the APU program, and that is a a complaint I see of those in the military at review sites. However, I'm not a Major looking to get ahead, I'm just some dude wanting to get an entry level analytical position. For what I want to do: military analysis, this seems my best bet since Georgetown is just too expensive and the government cares far more about my internships and base skills than my degree or school.

Edited by S. A. Yeadon
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Please don't take this as advice (I don't even know what warfighting is), but my general sense from my own career is that the mere fact of an institution teaching something doesn't indicate that the qualification will be respected by people in that field. Anyway, I always thought that the way you get into intelligence is by joining the army. but what do I know.

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13 minutes ago, ExponentialDecay said:

Please don't take this as advice (I don't even know what warfighting is), but my general sense from my own career is that the mere fact of an institution teaching something doesn't indicate that the qualification will be respected by people in that field.

That is one of the reasons I came here to check if my idea is sound.

I can't join the military due to disabilities, so that option is out the window. Otherwise I would be tempted.

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9 minutes ago, S. A. Yeadon said:

That is one of the reasons I came here to check if my idea is sound.

I can't join the military due to disabilities, so that option is out the window. Otherwise I would be tempted.

Can you check with someone who verifiably has a job as a military analyst in real life? Most people here are applicants or not in your field (not your field specifically - any field). I was in the OP you posted previously and the guy with 15 years military experience seems to have unequivocally told you that getting a degree in security from anywhere that isn't a war college won't make you more qualified to be a military analyst.

I think this forum is great for researching programs and how to handle applying, getting moral support and occasionally education-specific advice, but I wouldn't ask for career advice on here. I don't know who anyone is on here, but I suspect that few people here have enough experience to develop worthwhile insight - but there are a lot of well-meaning folks who talk a lot of total bullshit.

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I’ve been a military analyst for eight years, and can only think of one civilian who didn’t get his start in the military. It’s possible, but just know that the deck will be stacked against you when trying to break into the field. You’ll be applying for positions against people with veterans preference and/or an already active security clearance. I would definitely think twice before paying for that masters degree. Those programs are used by military members to check the box for their masters degree, and aren’t highly respected in the community as a result of that. I’m sure you already know all this... sorry for not being more helpful!

 

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In my experience, it's extremely hard to get into that without prior military experience, for a variety of reasons. I've yet to meet anyone who managed it without prior military experience, but I'm not going to say it's impossible. If you really want to go for it anyway, I would advise to at least go for a more reputable program that's at least more competitive for other positions in the very likely scenario the military analyst thing does not work out.

Edited by ZebraFinch
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I haven't looked at foreign schools, mainly because I can't afford to leave the country, even to Canada.

I am mulling all of the advice over.

My new plan is to do one year of the Masters part time and do an internship that summer. A DIA recruiter told me that 97% of those that do an internship with them are offered a job after graduation. So, this plan still seems like a good idea. I think I would be willing to stomach spending that much money on the chance at a dream job.

Edited by S. A. Yeadon
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