Army MOS: 35N Signals Intelligence Analyst

These soldiers are the Army's ears, identifying and analyzing signals

U.S. Air Force members conduct an inspection of a weather sensor.
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Signals intelligence analysts are like the ears of the Army, listening for foreign communications and producing intelligence reports based on what they discover. This work can have a significant impact on strategy and tactical decisions. 

The military occupational specialty (MOS) for this job is 35N. Those seeking this job should be interested in working with radio equipment and enjoy the detective aspects of the job, which involves finding clues to help answer questions. Since the work can be repetitive, an ability to remain alert during slower periods also is helpful.

Soldiers in this MOS gather, sort, and intercept messages to identify valid intelligence and counterintelligence. They identify targets, maintain databases, work on camouflage and recovery of surveillance systems, and prepare both technical and tactical intelligence reports based on their findings. 

Training for MOS 35N 

The job training for a signals intelligence analyst requires ten weeks of basic combat training and 18 weeks of advanced individual training (AIT). They'll divide that training time between the classroom and the field.

Some of the skills signals intelligence analysts will learn in training include the basics of target identification and their operational patterns and how to analyze communications information using technical references.

This job is closely related to MOS 35P, cryptologic linguist, which also interprets signals with the goal of creating intelligence reports. But cryptologic linguists are expected to know a second language, which is not a requirement of MOS 35N.

Requirements for Signals Intelligence Analysts

In order to qualify for MOS 35N, soldiers will need an aptitude of at least 101 in the skilled technical (ST) area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.

Since their job will involve dealing with highly sensitive information, recruits for this job will need to be able to qualify for top-secret security clearance. This involves a lengthy background check that will look for past criminal activity or any financial irregularities. Past drug or alcohol abuse may be grounds for rejection from this MOS. And all soldiers in this job must have normal color vision. 

Other requirements for this job include U.S. citizenship. There's also a requirement that soldiers in this MOS and their spouses can't have immediate family living in a country where physical or mental coercion is known to be a common practice. Recruits and their spouses also can't have a commercial interest or other vested interest in such a country.

Former members of the Peace Corps are not eligible for this MOS. The government wants there to be no perception that Peace Corps volunteers are working for or could work for intelligence agencies. It's possible that if a foreign government suspected the Peace Corps personnel were military agents or spies that their humanitarian work could be impeded, or worse, the volunteers might be endangered.

Anyone who's ever been convicted by a court-martial or has a record of conviction by a civil court (other than minor traffic violations) is also ineligible to serve in the Army as a signals intelligence analyst. 

Similar Civilian Occupations to MOS 35N

This job can serve as preparation for post-military careers in government, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), or jobs in private communications organizations. And you'll be qualified for a variety of civilian jobs, including radio operator and interpreter.