United States military salaries are based on an individual's rank. There are essentially four basic ranks in the military, which include: enlisted personnel, non-commissioned officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers. Non-commissioned officers rise from the ranks of the enlisted personnel, whereas commissioned officers are senior officers, who are similar to executive senior management of a corporation. The ranking system provides a chain of command in which the lowest ranking personnel are the enlisted, followed by non-commissioned officers, warrant officers and then commissioned officers, who have a rank from lieutenant through general.
U.S. Air Force Intelligence Officer Job Description
According to the United States Air Force, an intelligence officer's job is to support combat operations by protecting U.S. information and gathering data from external threats. The officer then analyzes the data to develop a threat assessment and to advise on tactical strategies based on risks associated with engaging in a particular action plan. An intelligence officer also assists in completing missions by evaluating an "adversary's remaining capability, vulnerability and tactics to prepare for retargeting."
Entering Officer Candidate School
In order to be considered for a position as an Air Force intelligence officer, you need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. With a four-year college degree in hand, you need to take the Air Force officer qualifying test and upon passage, apply for officer training school. OTS consists of basic officer training, which is 12 weeks long, or commissioned officer training, which is a five-week course. To be considered for the COT program an advanced degree is required, such as a legal or medical degree. Upon acceptance you apply for a "non-rated" position in intelligence.
The Ranking System and Salaries
The officer ranking system begins with a second lieutenant , first lieutenant, captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier general, major general, lieutenant general and general of the Air Force. The beginning salary of a second lieutenant with two or less years experience is $33,396 per year. However, a major with two years or less military experience earns $50,664 annually, whereas a major with 10 years of service earns $75,792 per annum. Besides rank, the years of service is the second factor in determining pay. Therefore, enlisted personnel that obtain college degrees and then become officers are recognized for the number of years of enlisted service as well in determining salary.
Intelligence Career Opportunities
Intelligence can be an exciting career path that provides skill sets that can transfer from the military to the non-military government sector such as the Central Intelligence Agency. Intelligence training also transfers to the private sector in areas of corporate intelligence and consulting. For example, a CIA political or intelligence collection analyst, with military intelligence background, will earn from $49,861 to $97,333 annually, depending on their years of military service.