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Intelligence Officer

OFFICER | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Intelligence Officers provide military intelligence support in operations, planning and decision-making. Their work has an impact on military and national security, and the political and public relations of the government.

The primary responsibilities of Intelligence Officers are to:

  • Recognize and analyze information which is likely to affect military operations, national policies and objectives
  • Command, direct and control an intelligence unit, section or team
  • Operate and manage information technology systems
  • Advise and plan employment of sophisticated intelligence collection and surveillance systems
  • Safeguard highly classified material

Work environment

Intelligence Officers usually work in an office environment but they can also participate in local, national and international operations, in various climates and conditions.

Career Overview

Transcript

I’m Captain Nicholas Weishaar, from Abbotsford, British Columbia. I’m an Intelligence Officer serving with the Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Narrator: The days of simply knowing who and where the enemy is and knowing how they fight, are over.  The job of an Intelligence Officer is to predict the future in an asymmetric world.

WEISHAAR: We provide commanders and other high-ranking officials, both in the government and in the military, with the information they need to know at that moment to make decisions that could affect people’s lives or the direction of an entire country.

Narrator: Intelligence Officers are responsible for ensuring that their commanders are well informed, because just knowing what’s going on, on the ground, in the air or on the seas is not enough.  They need to know and understand the operating environment – the weather, the terrain, the enemy, the people and the politics - as events are unfolding.

Intelligence Officers lead the teams that collect and provide leaders with that information from a variety of sources.  

WEISHAAR: Some of them are highly classified, but some of them are open-source, including news as well as social media.

Narrator: Collecting intelligence is both an art and a science. Intelligence Officers use computerized tools to help them and their teams go through massive amounts of information. They use technology to track electronic signatures and get very clear images taken from the sky.  After that, it’s up to each Intelligence Officer to use their instincts, their intuition, their training and tradecraft to evaluate the situation. And even when there are pieces missing from that puzzle, they need to be able to make the call, because incomplete information now is more useful than a complete picture after the fact.

WEISHAAR: The job we do is actually much more interesting than what you see on TV. We have a much wider breadth of responsibilities, we’ve got many more capabilities than you just see on TV and it allows us to actually have a deeper understanding of real issues, current events, and really society at large that you just won’t get anywhere else.

Narrator: On completion of their training, Intelligence Officers will likely be posted to a Canadian Armed Forces Base, working with the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Special Operations Forces.  

Wherever they go, Intelligence Officers, do a lot of writing, a lot of thinking and a lot of talking to people about what they know and what they think is going to happen. 

They spend a lot of their time on base, working behind a desk, supervising the information gatherers and molding their reports into a concise, readable form.  

Intelligence Officers will find themselves conveying information to a very senior audience early on in their career, so they have to become comfortable very quickly, communicating information effectively to officers of senior ranks, and being confident about the information they’re presenting.

WEISHAAR: The first word when you get out of intelligence training is credibility. You’re going to come out as a very green analytical mind and you’re going to actually have to earn the trust and the credibility that is required of any Intelligence Officer.

Narrator: As their careers progress, an Intelligence Officer could end up commanding an All Source Intelligence Centre or an intelligence collection unit, or be the Senior Canadian Liaison Officer at an embassy, or work as an Intelligence Advisor at a military command.

WEISHAAR: I personally don’t believe that there’s any job out there in the civilian world, or even in the Canadian Forces, that allows you the opportunity to effect change like being an Intelligence Officer. The amount of credibility that comes with being a competent Intelligence Officer is simply extraordinary.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Intelligence Analyst or Operator
  • Political Analyst
  • Information Management Specialist
  • Police and Security Investigator and Consultant

Training

After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 12 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Common Army phase

After basic training, you will go to the Infantry School at the Combat Training Centre in Gagetown, New Brunswick. You will build upon the leadership training you received in basic officer training in addition to learning the skills required of all Combat Arms Soldiers, including more advanced weapons-handling, field-craft, and section-level tactics.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Intelligence Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence in Kingston, Ontario. This course lasts approximately six months. Training includes intelligence skills and theory, strategic analysis, threat assessment and intelligence support. Emphasis is placed on leadership, administration, writing, oral briefing, and theory and application of intelligence operations. Intelligence Officers will learn to supervise and lead an intelligence section in tactical operations.

Intelligence Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Strategic Defence Intelligence Analyst
  • Advanced Intelligence Officer Course
  • Counter Intelligence
  • Interrogator
  • Source Handling
  • Imagery Analysis

There are different areas an Intelligence Officer can be employed into including for example, Human Intelligence, Counter Intelligence, Targeting Intelligence, among others.

Entry plans

If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Regular Officer Training Plan

Due to the requirement for CAF officer to obtain a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program in the Royal Military College System. Recruits will receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working in the CAF for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In rare instances, based on the needs of the CAF, candidates may be approved attend another Canadian University. A determination will be made on a case by case basis. If you are applying for this program, you must apply to the CAF and it is recommended to apply to other Canadian universities of your choice should you not be accepted for ROTP.

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at a Reserve Unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Intelligence Officers may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They provide military intelligence analysis support in operations, planning and decision-making. Their work has an impact on military and national security, and the political and public relations of the government. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve at CAF unit locations within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic officer training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Intelligence Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence in Kingston, Ontario for approximately six months to achieve their qualification.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.