If you are looking for an exciting, challenging, and super-important enlisted career in the Air Force, you may want to consider entering into the service as an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist.
Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialists play a key intelligence role in peacetime and in support of wartime combat operations.
Here are some of the main duties that are associated with this Air Force career field:
- Collect, analyze and produce intelligence information from a variety of different sources.
- Evaluate collected intelligence to determine its accuracy and then disseminate that information to appropriate levels of command
- Use computers to create large databases that hold pertinent information on enemy forces, equipment, locations, and capabilities
- Help prepare and maintain geospatial databases that include target materials, various imagery, and other intelligence products
- Be able to thoroughly prepare classified material for intelligence briefings, reports and displays that are given to aircrews and military commanders of all branches of the service.
Entering into this enlisted career field will place an airman into a highly-secure environment and they will be privy to classified information that few individuals will ever know.
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Air Force Operations Intelligence Requirements and Qualifications
In order to enter into this Air Force specialty, these conditions and requirements must be strictly met.
- High School Diploma
- GED with 15 college credits
- Minimum ASVAB Score of 64 in the administrative category
- Be between the ages of 17 and 39
- Must not have any noticeable speech disorders or other communication deficiencies
- Having background knowledge in such subjects as geography, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry is desirable but not required
- Be able to lift 40 lbs.
- Successful completion of 8.5 weeks of Air Force Basic Military Training held at Joint Base Lackland in San Antonio, TX (Not required of those with prior military experience or training)
- Completion of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) that leads to an Airman being able to receive a Top-Secret level security clearance
Once all of these conditions have been met an Airman will then proceed to their next duty assignment to commence technical training.
Training and Career Path to Become an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist
In order to assume a position in this Air Force Specialty many hours of study and on the job training are required.
They are as follows:
Air Force Technical Training Information
To become an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist one has to complete a very demanding technical training course of study.
This training takes place at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas which is located about 200 miles southwest of the Fort Worth area.
During this time the airman will be under the guidance of the 17th Training Wing (17TRW) that’s part of the Air Education and Training Command.
It’s a technical training course that is above average in length when compared to many other Air Force jobs.
The course itself takes just shy of 4 months to complete.
It’s not unusual for an enlisted member to participate in this course alongside members of other branches of the United States armed services
Approximately half of the way through technical training school an Airman will be made aware of their next duty station.
They will report to this next duty assignment once they have successfully completed all of the technical training course requirements.
Once an Airman completes technical training for this Air Force career field, they will also receive college credits toward a Community College of the Air Force degree in Intelligence Studies and Technology.
On the Job Training
After arriving at the next duty station, several weeks of on the job training will then commence.
This on the job training will usually consist of several weeks of close supervision by senior enlisted Operations Intelligence personnel.
Once this senior enlisted member is satisfied with the proficiency in Operations Intelligence that the airman has shown, they will then allow that airman to be integrated into their unit’s normal workforce.
How Much Are Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialists Paid?
As with all military jobs, there is a set pay scale that is based on both rank and time in service for an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist.
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Unless someone entering this career field has prior military experience, they will most likely be classified as Airman Basic (E-1), Airman (E-2) or Airman First Class (E-3) with less than two years of service to start with.
The higher enlisted ranks such as Airman (E-2) and Airman First Class (E-3) are given out based on someone having taken college courses or having work experience that is relevant to this career field.
A person’s recruiter will talk to them more about their starting pay grade.
The 2019 pay scale for enlisted Airmen with less than two years of prior military experience is as follows:
Airman Basic (E-1): $1,680.83/Month
Airman (E-2): $1,884.09/Month
Airman First Class (E-3): $1,982.27/Month
This is what’s considered to be take-home base pay.
The following set Air Force pay table includes the base pay for Airman Basic (E-1), Airman (E-2) and Airman First Class (E-3) pay ranks.
It’s a useful tool for those that want to see their earning potential as an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist or in any other Air Force enlisted specialty.
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2020 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|E-3||Airman First Class||A1C||$2,043|
|E-8||Senior Master Sergeant||SMSgt||$4,480|
|E-9||Chief Master Sergeant||CMSgt||$5,473|
|E-9||Command Chief Master Sergeant||CCM||$5,473|
|E-9||Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air Force||CMSAF||$5,473|
Miscellaneous Pay and Incentives
In addition to a person’s base pay, there are also other forms of pay and incentives that an airman may be eligible for.
These include such things as:
- Housing allowance for those that live off base (BAH)
- Subsistence allowance (Food – BAS)
- 100% paid healthcare
- Temporary duty pay which covers extra expenses incurred when on a temporary assignment to another duty station
- Cost of living incentive for being based in higher living cost areas
There are also other pay and incentives that are to be determined by an individual airman’s specific job situation.
Related Article – Basic Allowance For Housing (BAH) Calculator
What’s Life Like as an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist?
If someone enters into this career field they will lead a somewhat normal life.
The term somewhat normal is used because as an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist there is always the chance that one will get called in on a moment’s notice to produce an urgently required intelligence report or to support an item to be presented at a current intelligence briefing.
There is also a very good probability with this career field that a person will have to cover shifts on nights and weekends.
After all, the Air Force intelligence community has to always be prepared to assess and report on current threats in the world.
Other than these things or an occasional temporary duty assignment an Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist can lead a pretty normal life in peacetime.
It would be considered a decent Air Force specialty for those that are married and/or have children but not an ideal one because of the shift work and on-call duties involved.
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Normal life in this type of Air Force career includes:
- The opportunity to participate in based sponsored sports and recreation
- The ability to take advantage of reduced price on base shopping facilities
- Use of the gyms, sports courts, bowling, swimming and golf facilities that exist on many large Air Force Installations
- Weekly days off and 30-days leave with pay each year
Enlisted personnel may also be allowed to attend college courses in their off time in pursuit of a college degree.
Those who have served actively as Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialists generally have enjoyed their jobs and have had good things to say about their experiences.
They also have suggested there is a good chance that having experience in this career field can lead to gainful civilian employment.
Here are a few reviews from Indeed.com written by those who have spent time in the Air Force as an Operations Intelligence Specialist:
Air Force Operations Intelligence Civilian Career Opportunities
It may surprise one to learn that there are several job specialties in the civilian world that can use the services of a well-trained Air Force as an Operations Intelligence Specialist.
Here are a few examples of those civilian positions.
Closely Related Government Intelligence Jobs
Here are some government agencies that have positions that are very closely related to an Air Force Operations Intelligence career.
In all probability, an Air Force as an Operations Intelligence Specialist will even have coordinated efforts with a member of one of these government agencies at some point in time during their military career.
The biggest advantage one gets when going to work for a government agency after serving in the Air Force is their military time counts towards pay and retirement in most cases.
- Defense Intelligence Agency Washington, D.C.
- National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Springfield, Virginia
- Department of Homeland Security
These jobs go by what is known as a General Schedule (GS) pay scale.
Ex-Air Force Operations Intelligence personnel can expect a GS pay level that will pay them somewhere between $35,000 – $70,000 a year and comes with benefits too.
Civilian and Government Job Opportunities
Possessing a current Top Secret level security clearance is a valuable commodity to have when it comes to employment.
That and a little of the right know-how can land an ex-Air Force Operations Intelligence Specialist a good paying civilian job.
Here are some companies that are known to hire former Air Force personnel that possess a Top Secret Security Clearance:
- Boeing Aerospace Company Chicago, IL
- General Dynamics Corporation Falls Church, VA
- Raytheon Company Waltham, MA
- Rand McNally Chicago, IL
These types of jobs typically start out anywhere between $45,000 – $80,000 a year.