Air Force Job 1N3X1: Cryptologic Language Analyst

An Air Force Cryptologic Linguist Has a Special Role in the USAF

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A land-based linguist in the Air Force serves an important role in the service, and those who are cryptologic language analysts are particularly vital. They must not only translate but also analyze messages that could offer important intelligence to the Air Force in combat situations.

Duties of a Cryptologic Linguist in the Air Froce

The biggest part of this job involves the translation of spoken or written material from one language to another, especially when from intelligence. People who work in this role operate—and manage the operation of—communications equipment such as radio receivers, recording equipment, typewriters, keyboards, and computer consoles. They monitor and record communications, adding appropriate comments to assist in transcription and analysis, and perform preventive maintenance on mission equipment.

Specifically, the Air Force outlines the following five duties associated with this job:

  1. Use foreign language skills to search for identify, and process other communications
  2. Operate voice and graphic communications equipment
  3. Transcribe, translate, and summarize intercepted voice and graphic communications
  4. Provide warning of adversarial intentions against U.S.
  5. Identify regional and cultural factors associated with activities of interest


If you're interested in this job, the most important skill you need to have is documented foreign language proficiency in a language designated by the Air Force. A score of at least 110 on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery is also necessary, and you'll need a score of at least 72 on the general (G) section of the Air Force Aptitude Qualification Area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests. 

In addition, you'll need to complete a designated cryptologic language analyst initial skills course, after the requisite seven and a half weeks of basic military training (boot camp) and Airmen's Week. 

Other qualifications:

  • No history of temporomandibular joint disorder or pain
  • Ability to type at a rate of 25 words per minute
  • Favorable completion and of a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)
  • Completion of seven and a half weeks of basic military training as well as Airmen’s Week
  • Must be between the ages of 17 and 39
  • Eligibility for a top secret security clearance, according to AFI 31-501, Personnel Security Program Management, and for sensitive compartmented information access
  • Must be a U.S. citizen

Must be familiar with:

  • Formats, terminology, and theory of traffic analysis.
  • Organization of designated military forces
  • Procedures for processing and distributing intelligence data
  • Methods for handling, distributing, and safeguarding military information


Training for cryptologic linguist occurs in two parts.

The first part is language training, conducted at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. The length of the training depends on the language being learned. Language training lasts between 47 and 63 weeks, depending on the difficulty level of the language.

Following language training, technical job training is conducted at Goodfellow AFB, Texas. Again, the length of the training depends on the language and can last between 10 and 22 weeks.


Any language has the potential to be important to the U.S. military, but a handful of languages are of particular interest to the Air Froce.

Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Persian Farsi, Hebrew, Spanish, Pasto, and Urdu are of top priority to the Air Force due to current U.S. interests around the globe.