Air Force Signals Intelligence Analysts monitor electromagnetic emissions for foreign communications and activity. They interpret the information they gather to produce strategic intelligence reports for commanders.
Electromagnetic transmissions can include such things as radio waves, microwaves, infrared light, and visible light. It's up to these airmen to monitor these sources and determine what and how important any foreign communications may be. This is especially crucial in hostile environments, particularly in combat situations. The Air Force categorizes this important job as Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) 1N2X1.
The Duties of Air Force Signals Intelligence Analysts
These airmen use a wide range of complex analysis hardware and software to process signals, including receivers, demodulators, printers, spectrum analyzers, and other associated computer equipment. They also used advanced computer software programs to manipulate and extract intelligence data from electromagnetic emissions.
While studying and analyzing electromagnetic emissions, these airmen use graphic reproductions to determine the internal characteristics of signals and to discern communications structures and usage. It's highly technical work that requires extensive training and skill.
Perhaps the most important part of the job is extracting electromagnetic emissions in real-time and recorded media, which might otherwise go undiscovered, and interpreting these emissions for commanding officers and others who will use them to make strategic decisions.
Specialty Qualifications for AFSC 1N2X1
In addition to typing at least 25 words per minute, airmen interested in this job should be able to transcribe international Morse code at a rate of 20 groups per minute. Here are some of the knowledge and skills airmen should have or will have by the end of their technical school training, in order to perform this job successfully:
- The role and purpose of cryptologic support operations provided to commanders,
- Service cryptologic elements, and national agencies; communications networks, radio wave propagation; modulation theory and techniques;
- Radio communications procedures;
- Basic signals analysis and identification;
- Functions and operations of electronic equipment
- Directives for handling, distributing and protecting defense information
- Cryptologic systems operations;
- Morse or non-Morse communications equipment and techniques;
- Mission management responsibilities and related cryptologic activities.
Qualifying for 1N2X1 Signals Intelligence Analyst
Airmen in this job must be U.S. citizens. To be eligible, you'll need a composite score of 53 in the general (G) on the Air Force Qualification Area of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests.
Since airmen in this job handle highly sensitive information and communications, they're required to obtain top-secret security clearance from the Department of Defense. This involves an extensive background check of criminal history and finances, and a history of drug use or alcohol abuse may be disqualifying.
Training for AFSC 1N2X1
Following basic training and Airmen's Week, candidates for this job will complete the basic signals intelligence production course as part of their technical school training at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. This training lasts between 74 and 84 days.