Counterterrorism Intelligence Field Guide

Overview

Counterterrorism intelligence is a specialty area within security. It involves gathering, producing, and evaluating information that political, military, and other government leaders can use in making decisions about the scope and immediacy of terrorism. As opposed to information gathered by other intelligence professionals, counterterrorism analysts examine and assess the leadership, motivations, plans and intentions of foreign terrorist groups and their sponsors (Michael T. Klare, Peace and World Security Studies).

Career Opportunities

There are many employment paths in counterterrorism intelligence and opportunities span across all sectors. Government agencies demand a wide range of diverse career positions. An intelligence officer or analyst conducts investigations, performs research, analyzes information, and prepares clear and concise reports on terrorist activities. But government agencies also employ scientists, engineers, technologists, translators/interpreters, technicians, information specialists, and financial and information technology specialists. Private and non-profit organizations employ a similar array of professionals in counterintelligence. Contractors and grantees from consulting firms and non-profit organizations typically have Junior and Senior-level analysts. A Junior-level analyst does work similar to that of an intelligence officer within the government. A Senior-level analyst— someone with substantial experience in intelligence—is likely to take on a leadership role by managing teams, editing information, and briefing key policymakers on specific aspects of terrorist activities.

Types of Jobs

  • Legal
  • Program management
  • Research
  • Translator
  • Consulting
  • Data analysis
  • Finance and accounting
  • Computer engineering

Qualifications + Skills

  • Foreign language proficiency
  • International experience
  • Strong communication skills
  • Research ability
  • Understanding of the Intelligence Cycle (collection, fusion, analysis and production, dissemination)
  • For U.S. Government jobs, U.S. citizenship is required

PRO TIP: Use Maxwell’s resources! INSCT has career resources, offers Certificates of Advanced Studies, and sponsors the Student Association on Terrorism and Security Analysis (SATSA) here at Maxwell.

Sample Employers

  • Anser Analytic Services, Inc.
  • Arnold and Porter, LLP
  • BAE Systems
  • Boeing
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Carnegie Council
  • Cato Institute
  • Center for a New American Security
  • Center for Immigration Studies
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Control Risks Group
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Federalist Society
  • Geneva Call
  • Global Rights
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Institute for Defense Analysis
  • International Center for Transnational Justice
  • International Crisis Group
  • Landesa
  • Lawyers Without Borders
  • LMI
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mercy Corps
  • National Security Archive
  • Northtop Grumman
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • Public International Law & Policy Group
  • The Brookings Institution
  • The Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies
  • Woodrow Wilson Center
  • ... And more!

Sample Maxwell Classes

  • U.S. Intelligence Community: Governance & Practice 1947-Present
  • U.S. Defense Strategy: Military Posture & Combat Operations 2001-Present
  • National Security Law
  • Information Security Policy
  • Central Challenges in National Security and Policy
  • Fundamentals of Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • Economic Dimensions of Global Power

Resources

  • INSCT at Syracuse University
  • IntelligenceCareers.com
  • ASIS International
  • CI Centre
  • International Institute for Counter-Terrorism
  • U.S. Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism

Related Career Guides

  • International and National Security
  • Foreign Service
  • Think Tanks
>> Download a printable, PDF version of the Counterterrorism Intelligence Career Field Guide.