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Intelligence Officer

OFFICER | Full Time, Part Time

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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


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.


And I am Major Raphaël Guay, from Chicoutimi, Québec, an Intelligence Officer currently serving at the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence here in Kingston, Ontario.


WEISHAAR: The days of simply knowing who the enemy is, how many battalions they have, and knowing how they fight are over.  As Intelligence Officers, our job is to predict the future in an asymmetric world, where enemies have the potential to surprise us – and hurt us – every day. 


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.


GUAY: So, intelligence doesn’t grow in trees, you have to fight for it, you have to hunt for information. As an Intelligence Officer, you lead a team who work at hunting those pieces of the puzzle, bringing them back for you to assemble them and make sense of it.


WEISHAAR: It’s our responsibility to make sure that our commanders are well informed, because just knowing what’s going on, on the ground, in the air or on the seas is not enough.  We need to know and understand the operating environment – the weather, the terrain, the enemy, the people and the politics.


GUAY: Essentially, the work of Intelligence Officers is, in its simplest expression, making puzzles. The first part is getting the pieces together. So for that, you rely on various teams, whether it is troops on the ground or satellite imagery, electronic collection, informants…


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


GUAY: The difficult portion is that there will always be missing pieces of the puzzle but you have to make the call regardless. And incomplete information now is more useful than a complete picture after the fact.


GUAY: Intelligence is both an art and a science. So the science behind it is how we manage information, how we use computerized tools to help us go through a massive amount of information, how we can leverage technology to track electronic signatures and get very clear images taken from the sky.  This is the science aspect of it. The art piece is how you will use your own instincts, your own intuition, use the strength from your training into evaluating what are the missing pieces in that puzzle.



WEISHAAR: From incidents at home, to natural disasters, to terror-inspired online activities, to emerging crisis situations in developing nations, Canada’s military and political leaders need to know what’s happening, as it’s happening.


GUAY: As soon as you’re overseas, intelligence is what drives all of our actions on the ground – we call it intelligence-led operations or intelligence-driven operations – and that’s where you see that when it matters most, when it’s for real, everyone pays attention to what you have to say and they entirely rely on the intelligence assessment to drive our own actions. And that is very rewarding work.


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.



GUAY: After completing your basic military training, the specialized training to become an Intelligence Officer begins at the Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence in Kingston, Ontario. 




WEISHAAR: When you leave Kingston, you’ll likely be posted to a Canadian Armed Forces Base, working with the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Special Operations Forces. 


WEISHAAR: Wherever you go as an Intelligence Officer, you’ll do a lot of writing, a lot of thinking and a lot of talking to people about what you know and what you think is going to happen.


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.


WEISHAAR: You 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.




GUAY: What I really like about the Canadian Forces is that it provided me with more opportunities to move with my family and serve my country in Canada at different locations and also around the world.


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


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.