Among the many career options available in the US Armed Forces and other government agencies, the military analyst has become increasingly important, especially as national security and defense efforts have made intelligence a central aspect of U.S. military strategy and operations. As innovations in technology continue to transform the way military information and data are gathered and processed, the need for qualified and experienced military analysts is expected to grow.
The Military Analyst in the US Military
Military analysts fill a vital role in the US military, as they are embedded in all major aspects of military strategy and defense. They support commanders with valuable evaluations of the strategic intentions, capabilities and actions of foreign national security organizations, as well as terrorist and insurgency groups. This analysis enables leaders to better assess the tactical proficiency of foreign weapons systems and the performance capabilities of global forces with which they could come into contact. As intelligence collection and analysis rely increasingly on advanced technology, the military analyst’s role has become even more crucial to the military and the United States’ defense efforts. For instance, information made available from unmanned aerial and terrestrial vehicles gathering signal and image intelligence necessitates knowledgeable analysts for synthesizing and disseminating data.
Other Roles of the Military Analyst
In addition to holding positions in military strategy and defense, military analysts have opportunities to employ their expertise outside of the military. Government agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and policymakers benefit from military analysts who provide information and insight into political-military issues, civil relations, budgeting analysis and the formulation of policies. Other ways government leaders utilize the intelligence capabilities of military analysts are in regional security efforts, diplomacy, arms control and nonproliferation regime relations, and peacekeeping operations. Outside of these roles, military analysts can be hired by private consulting agencies and news organizations for their expertise and experience in intelligence and analytics related to national security, government policy and other issues.
Education and Requirements
Military analysts must have adequate education and complete Basic Training in order to face the challenges they encounter in this career path. The foundation for a successful career as a military analyst begins with a deep interest in military history and an understanding of military forces and strategy. While the position requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in military history, international relations, political science or security studies can help candidates develop a deep understanding of military operational strategies and concepts that are beneficial for a career as a military analyst. For example, a Master of Arts in Military History degree helps to build a comprehensive knowledge of global military history, while also providing political, geographical and economic context for military operations and achievements. One of the most significant benefits that a Masters of Arts in Military History brings to a military analyst’s career is the opportunity to learn strategic perspectives from accomplished military theoreticians and tacticians.
Skills and Responsibilities
While the main duty of a military analyst involves collecting information from domestic or foreign sources, a wide range of detail-oriented skills is required for a career in this technology-driven field. Critical thinking and problem-solving are essential for identifying threats and prioritizing and providing sensitive information to decision makers. Given their role, communication skills are requisite, especially because the work of a military analyst includes complex details and statistical information that must be relayed clearly and effectively to individuals across multiple departments, including colleagues in the military and intelligence communities and civilians in government and other leadership positions. Additionally, since much of their role entails a working knowledge of video and audio surveillance equipment, global tracking devices, and computer-assisted communications equipment, military analysts need an in-depth understanding of computer systems as well as current equipment and data collection methods. For military analysts in supervisory positions, they have an added responsibility of overseeing the analysis and synthesis of information and working closely with restricted and sensitive materials.
Job Growth and Opportunities
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities in all branches of the US Armed Forces is expected to grow for qualified individuals through 2024. As current professionals within the military advance in rank or leave active service, many positions need to be filled. More specifically, job opportunities for operations research analysts, who include military analysts and other analysts employed by government agencies, are projected to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024.
Salary and Benefits
Military analysts serving in the military can earn desirable salaries and benefit packages based on rank and time in service. Officers may also gain additional pay that is associated with certain job assignments and qualifications. The average salary of military analysts in the US Armed Forces is $52,856 for enlisted soldiers and $83,319 for officers. Additional benefits of the position include educational benefits as part of the Montgomery GI Bill, medical care at military hospitals or the US Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and guaranteed home loans. Similar careers in government agencies also come with competitive salaries and benefits. For example, the average full-time CIA military analyst salary ranges from $53,088 to $78,703, with higher salaries depending on experience levels. Analysts working as consultants can charge high rates for their experience and knowledge in the field.
As globalization continues to enable the spread of information and technology more rapidly, military analysts are needed in the US Armed Forces and government agencies to help facilitate the gathering and analysis of critical data for ensuring the safety of US intelligence. The military analyst is an integral asset for maintaining national security and the career opportunities for qualified individuals will continue to grow.
Established in 1819, Norwich University is a nationally recognized institution of higher education, the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and the first private military college in the United States. Through its online programs, Norwich delivers relevant and applicable curricula that allow its students to make a positive impact on their places of work and their communities.
Norwich University’s Master of Arts in Military History program takes an unbiased and global approach towards exploring military thought, theory and engagement throughout recorded history. The unique curriculum of the online Master of Arts in Military History program was developed by the distinguished faculty of Norwich University and guided by the goals outlined by the American Historical Association. This highly regarded program is designed to help build your proficiency as a historian and places our world’s military achievements and conflicts in chronological, geographical, political and economic context.
Army Intelligence: Focus Areas for Science and Technology, The Association of the United States Army
Operations Research Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Military Careers, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Military Analyst, GoArmy.com
Careers & Internships, Central Intelligence Agency
How to Become a Military Analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency
Compensation Estimator, Today’s Military
Intelligence Analysts, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand, New York Times