Intelligence Careers in the U.S. Marine Corps Explained

Marine Corps Intelligence is an element of the United States Intelligence Community. The Director of Intelligence supervises the Intelligence Department of HQMC and is responsible for policy, plans, programming, budgets, and staff supervision of Intelligence and supporting activities within the U.S. Marine Corps as well as supervising the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA). The Department supports the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) in his role as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), represents the service in Joint and Intelligence Community matters, and exercises supervision over the MCIA.

The MCIA, located at Hochmuth Hall (see Bruno Hochmuth ), provides tailored intelligence and services to the Marine Corps, other services, and the Intelligence Community based on expeditionary mission profiles in littoral areas. It supports the development of service doctrine, force structure, training and education, and acquisition. The Swain Annex of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) complex is named for LCpl James E. Swain, USMC, who posthumously received the National Intelligence Medal for Valor for his service as a Marine Corps intelligence analyst during the battle of Fallujah in Iraq.

Marine Corps Intelligence Schools

Occupational intelligence job duties

Depending on a servicemans particular role within the intelligence occupational field (OccFld), they may have to perform a variety of duties. There are a few subspecialties within the intelligence OccFld, including analysis, counterintelligence (CI), image interpretation and geographic intelligence. Each of these roles handles highly sensitive or classified information in differing capacities. Here are a few of the job duties a serviceman working in the intelligence OccFld may perform on a day-to-day basis:

What is Marine Corps intelligence?

In the U.S. Marine Corps, a branch of the U.S. military, the intelligence occupational field (OccFld) refers to those military occupational specialties (MOS) in which servicemen work with sensitive or classified information. Through a variety of roles, Marines who work in intelligence work toward the mission of providing commanders a seamless delivery and integration of sensitive information. Depending on their specific role, Marines who work in the intelligence OccFld may be responsible for gathering, processing or disseminating classified information. Here is a brief breakdown of the Marine Corps Intelligence communitys structure:

The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA)

Servicemen who work in the Intelligence OccFld are managed through the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), a field activity headquarters of the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of the U.S. Intelligence community. The MCIA is tasked with determining which missions the Corps needs to accomplish, in addition to what personnel should be trained and involved in a given mission.

The U.S. military established the intelligence MOS as a method of improving the Marines overall tactical intelligence and to extend more early career opportunities for Marines to transition into command or officer positions. The MCIA works alongside the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Office of Coast Guard Intelligence to maximize their efficiency in providing intelligence services to the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise (MCISR-E) and Marine Corps Counterintelligence (CI)

The Marine Corps Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise (MCISR-E) and Marine Corps Counterintelligence (CI) are both pillars of the Marine Corps intelligence community. MCISR-E is a combat-oriented intelligence branch which supports crucial decision-making processes by providing tailored intelligence to on-the-ground servicemen in a timely, relevant and predictive manner.

Comparatively, the Marine Corps CI is a broader, more prevention-oriented intelligence branch which serves to uncover and prevent potential acts of terrorism, sabotage, treason, assassination, sedition, espionage and more. They may also investigate particular cases dealing with friendly or ally personnel who are Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA), intending to locate and/or exonerate them.

Marine Corps intelligence career fields

Most Marines enter the intelligence OccFld through one of two roles—intelligence specialist (MOS 0231) or geographic intelligence specialist (MOS 0261). From here, they may transition into more specialized roles. The Marines Intelligence OccFld presents opportunities for enlistees to perform vital responsibilities in handling sensitive information. As they gain increased training and experience, enlistees may transition into intelligence officer career fields. With this in mind, here are a few of the intelligence career fields available to Marines:

Counterintelligence and human intelligence specialist (MOS 0211)

Marines involved with the counterintelligence and human intelligence specialty handle sensitive information related to terrorism, sabotage, espionage, treason and other enemy actions. They gather the information necessary to guide a combat situation.

Technical surveillance countermeasures specialist (MOS 0212)

Marines who serve under the technical surveillance countermeasure specialty work with information related to foreign intelligence and terrorist organizations. The goal of their work is to identify and later neutralize potential threats to U.S. intelligence operations.

Intelligence specialist (MOS 0231)

Those Marines who work under the general intelligence specialty are responsible for collecting, recording, analyzing, processing and disseminating information used in a variety of military capacities. In addition, depending on a servicemans rank, those in this specialty may supervise other intelligence sections or serve in command.

Imagery analysis specialist (MOS 0241)

Marines involved with the imagery analysis specialty employ specific photogrammetric technical competencies to facilitate the drafting of actionable target acquisition intelligence. They make maps or models that help plan reconnaissance missions, and they may also update military databases to ensure accuracy.

Geographic intelligence specialist (MOS 0261)

Marines who serve under the geographic intelligence specialty use specialized electronic and satellite positioning tools to collect, analyze and process data related to geophysics. They may be tasked with revising military maps and targets using such data as a reference.

Intelligence chief

Intelligence chiefs work under a variety of primary military occupational specialties, including MOS 0211, MOS 0231, MOS 0241 or MOS 0261. They oversee the operations involved with each intelligence section and receive top-secret security clearance to perform their roles.


Does Marine Intelligence see combat?

USMC gives their intel officers a shot at recon (since they have the intel experience and have gone through the officer infantry course). But recon is just that, reconnaissance. It’s not their mission to actively engage the enemy. Long story short, officers of any kind rarely see action.

How much does a Marine intelligence officer make?

The typical US Marine Corps Intelligence Officer salary is $103,854 per year. Intelligence Officer salaries at US Marine Corps can range from $60,134 – $166,696 per year.

What do 0211 Marines do?

The Marine Corps Intelligence Community is a unique group of Marines who work closely with other intelligence assets in the field. As a Human Intelligence Specialist, you can also be tasked to engage in counterintelligence to identify and de-escalate the threat of hostile combatants and intelligence organizations.

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