Cryptologic digital network analysts in the Marine Corps are tasked with analyzing and collecting digital network signals for intelligence purposes. It's up to them to measure, evaluate and classify such signals, as well as provide support for traditional signals intelligence (SIGINT) gathering.
The Marine Corps considers this a necessary military occupational specialty (NMOS), meaning it is not entry level. A Marine interested in this job must hold another MOS, usually in the signals intelligence field before he or she can be appointed to this job.
The Marines categorize this job as MOS 2611. It's open to Marines between the ranks of master gunnery sergeant and lance corporal.
Duties of Marine Cryptologic Digital Network Analysts
Solving puzzles and interpreting hidden codes are a major part of this job. These Marines spend their time trying to find hidden messages within digital signals, be they voice or computer-generated. Consider that the word "cryptology" comes from the Greek "cryptos" meaning "secret."
This job requires a lot of patience and focus since you'll end up listening to a lot of noise before you find any signals. Needless to say, if you can't stay on task for a long period of time, this may not be the job for you.
In addition to having a keen ear for messages and a lot of patience for listening to hours of signals, cryptologic digital network analysts need to be well-versed in computer hardware and software programs including network operating systems.
The duties and tasks for MOS 2611 increase at the rank of staff sergeant and above to include digital network analysis product reporting, information operations planning support, and supervisory tasks and functions.
Qualifying for MOS 2611
Marines in this job need a score of 100 or higher on the general technical (GT) segment of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests
They'll need to complete the Basic Digital Network Analysis (BDNA) course, the Marine Corps Cryptologic Computer Administration Program (MCCAP), or complete the Marine Corps Digital Network Operations Program (MCDNOP).
Since Marines in this job handle highly sensitive information which could pose a grave threat to national security if it were revealed, they need a top secret security clearance from the Department of Defense. This process involves an investigation of past employers, associates, criminal record, finances and any past drug use, going back ten years.
To receive this clearance, applicants need to pass a polygraph exam verifying the contents of the investigation and other information to determine trustworthiness and truthfulness.
This job also requires a single scope background investigation and eligibility for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). This job is restricted to U.S. citizens.
Requalifying for Top Secret Clearance
Since this isn't an entry-level position and requires a previous MOS to qualify, Marines appointed to MOS 2611 should already have top secret security clearances on file. However, if more than five years have gone by, another background investigation will be conducted to requalify the Marine before they can assume the role of cryptologic digital network analyst.