Job Facts About Army Counterintelligence Agents (35L)

Military Spy Training

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In the military, knowing what the enemy is doing or planning to do saves American lives. This highly secretive world within the military and government risks their lives every day and work challenging hours to keep American safe from foreign adversaries. Preventing those who wish to do us harm from gaining information on our military and government operations is the primary mission of the MOS 35L. This world is the Intelligence Community and the military has agents working to counter enemy agents and other threats.

Army Counterintelligence Special Agents (CI) have the highest of security clearances and are therefore on the front lines of neutralizing foreign intelligence agent's abilities and since September 11, 2001 fighting terrorism and terrorist plots. This career requires mature, professional, and competent soldiers. MOS 35L will work alongside other military and law enforcement officials from a variety of agencies and branches of service, including the FBI, CIA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and foreign allies. If you are a 35L, you could be stationed in the U.S. or overseas.

Abilities of the MOS 35L

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Training for a counterintelligence agent requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, achieving the rank of at least E-4 (and 21 years of age), and 18 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction to Fort Huachuca AZ since 1971. When you graduate you are promoted to E-5. You will receive classroom training as well as time in the field learning your new craft.

Not only must you be a proven high performing soldier (E-4), you must be able to blend into environments and not look like you are in the military. You must also have skills in writing counterintelligence reports and plans. This is a major component of the job, so the ability to write accurate, incisive reports will be used to determine if you should be sent for CI training. You will be producing reports via computer systems and maintaining and updating databases, so computer skills are part of the job. Applicants must be inconspicuous. This includes your speech, which should not have a strong accent or speech impediment and knowing a foreign language is helpful.

You must also have a personality enabling you to engage with others and gain their trust, as well as working effectively as a member of an investigation team.

Basic Job Description for Army Counterintelligence Agent

The Counterintelligence Agent (35L) conducts counterintelligence surveys and investigations to assess and counter foreign threats. The 35L also will exploit and neutralize enemy, Foreign Intelligence Service, and terrorist threats to national security.

As a CI agent, gathering information from security investigations by processing evidence with a team of other military and law enforcement officials. As a CI agent, you will all types of investigations. From sabotage, terrorism, espionage, treason, to sedition you may have to use video and audio recording and photographic equipment and surveillance equipment to gather much of this information for your case.

A part of the job is detecting, neutralizing and exploiting counterintelligence targets. You may conduct low-level source operations.


  • ASVAB Score Required: ST score, of 101 or higher. 
  • Security Clearance: Top Secret. You must be a U.S citizen to qualify for this clearance and receive it prior to training.
  • Strength Requirement: moderately heavy
  • Physical Profile Requirement: 222111
  • Normal color vision required (waiver possible if the individual can distinguish between green, red and amber). Normal night vision is also needed.
  • Your immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) must also be U.S. citizens.Nor can you have any family members who live in enemy foreign countries. You and your spouse cannot have any business interests from such countries as well. Having been in the Peace Corps disqualifies you for 35L too.
  • No conviction by court-martial or a civil court for anything more serious than a minor traffic violation. No drug convictions or having possessed, transported or sold illegal drugs, including marijuana.
  • Foreign Language is a Plus: A score of 89 on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB), is desirable but is not required. Successful completion of a Defense Language Institute (DLI) course and/or attaining a minimum rating of 2/2 in a foreign language is also desirable.
  • Must be able to obtain military driver's permit to operate commercial and tactical vehicles up to 2 1/2 ton.

There is no civilian occupation that is directly equivalent to MOS 35L. However, the following civilian occupations make use of the skills developed through MOS 35L training and experience.

  • Law enforcement, including FBI and CIA analyst positions
  • Security Specialists
  • Business Operations Specialists
  • Database Administrators
  • Operations Research Analysts
  • Private Detectives and Investigators