What is a Foreign Intelligence Analyst?

What is a foreign intelligence analyst? With new reports out about intelligence agencies using American universities to secretly recruit students to the service, it is an incredibly important question, according to Town and Country Magazine. Below is a short overview of this position and what potential candidates can expect from it.


A foreign intelligence analyst is an individual employed by their government to collect and analyze information from a variety of sources that focus on foreign affairs. These analysts are trained to research information, sort it into usable categories, conduct analysis on a particular target, and relay any key data to officials within the government. Analysts often speak more than two languages, are critical thinkers and problem solvers, and have no problem organizing data for further inspection by their superiors. It is considered one of the best jobs in foreign intelligence because analysts do not work in the field and therefore have a lower personal physical risk than agents working in the field.


The duties of a foreign analyst vary from agency to agency, but there are similarities. Analysts focus on understanding, categorizing, and distributing information they receive from the field in the form of summary reports. They may also analyze trends, including economic, humanitarian and unrest factors, in order to clarify which regions are at risk for war. Additionally, they may be involved in tracking international organized crime syndicates, human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, and the black market. Finally, they are sometimes involved in developing new ways to approach analysis and research.

Career Requirements

In the United States, the educational requirements for this field require at least a bachelor’s degree in international or foreign affairs, political science, intelligence studies, or national security. The degree must come from an accredited university and students are also advised that having a minor or specialty in Middle Eastern or Eastern European languages will raise their prospects. In addition, prior experience in cryptology, intelligence gathering, military or foreign service, are required. Prospective candidates will undergo stringent physical and mental checkups as well as submit to a background criminal and financial check. After a series of interviews, candidates who are chosen will begin their training in this field.


Foreign intelligence analysts generally work for the government; in the United States, these analysts work in the intelligence community, including the FBI and the CIA. Professionals can also find work through the Pentagon and the State Department, each which require these analysts in order to conduct diplomacy and counterterrorism projects overseas. Because foreign intelligence is a concern of countries, it is very rare for an individual to begin their career in this field outside of the government first. After successfully completing a career in government service, foreign intelligence agents can work for private security companies, law firms, or in law enforcement; it is also common for these professionals to become educators at the agency they work for in order to teach new agents and analysts how to carry out the duties of this profession.

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Analysts who train in the collection and assessment of foreign information are among the most devoted government servants in the country. They take their job very seriously and understand their role in keeping their country safe from harm. If an individual wishes to become a foreign intelligence analyst, understanding what the job is and what it entails is a great place to start.