Job Facts About Army Cryptologic Linguist (35P)

Foreign Language Fluency Is Just One of the Requirements

Afghan interpreter with the U.S. Army's 4th squadron 2d Cavalry Regiment helps to question a villager
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The primary role of a cryptologic linguist MOS 35P in the U.S. Army is to identify foreign language communications using signals equipment. Clearly, this job would be especially important in a combat situation in a foreign country, where being able to understand communications in other languages would be crucial. But it involves a lot more than just translating and communicating in foreign languages.

This is an entry-level, enlisted job. Duties performed by Soldiers in this MOS (military occupational specialty) include Identifying foreign communications from an assigned geographic area and categorizing signals by activity type; analyzing foreign communication for information to support mission reporting requirements; recognizing changes in transmission modes and tipping the appropriate analytical or intercept authority; providing translation expertise to analysts; operating systems as needed to support signals Intelligence tasking, reporting and coordination; and providing gists, transcriptions, or translations of foreign communications.


Job training for a cryptologic analyst requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and three to 52 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and in the field.

Training for an Army cryptologic analysts job takes place at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) at the Presidio of Monterey in Monterey, California, and lasts between six and 18 months. The DLIFLC is run by the Army but is a joint-service school, meaning it's the primary foreign language training facility for the entire Department of Defense. Recruits who already speak a needed foreign language and are fluent in it may be allowed to skip the DLIFLC training course. 

The DLIFLC training is followed by advanced individual training. 


In order to qualify for a job as a cryptologic analyst, recruits must score a 91 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test (ASVAB) in the Skilled Techincal (ST) area. The Army also evaluates recruits  on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB), to determine how well a native English speaker will be able to learn a new language. The DLAB score indicates the level of difficulty for language training. A DLAB qualifying score of 100 or above is required for this job. 

Security Clearance: Top Secret

Strength Requirement: Heavy

Physical Profile Requirement: 222221

In addition, cryptologic analysts in the Army must have normal color vision, be U.S. citizens and have a qualifying score on the English Comprehension Level Test. Anyone who has served in the U.S. Peace Corps is not qualified. Recruits must have good voice quality and be able to speak English and an additional language fluently and idiomatically, without accent or impediment. It's not enough just to be able to speak the language, in other words.

Recruits can't have a record of conviction by court-martial, and must have no record of conviction by a civil court for any offense other than minor traffic violations.

Similar Civilian Occupations to cryptologic analysts would be interpreters and translators, radio operators, database administrators, computer operators, business operations specialists, and training and development specialists.