We recognise that it can be difficult to find out about life in the Intelligence Corps. After all, much of the work we do is classified and rarely will our personnel appear in public or in recruitment campaigns.
We're trying to change this for the better and have launched some new initiatives in 2020. You can now find out more about the Intelligence Corps:
- Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In. Keep an eye out for posts about life in the Corps or DM us with any questions you have.
- Attend one of our 'Ask an Analyst' webinars, currently being held weekly. Follow our social media pages for the details.
- Read the FAQs below. If we haven't answered your question, please email or DM us and we'll get back to you.
What is the process for joining the Intelligence Corps?
The process for joining the Intelligence Corps is much the same as joining any other Corps or Regiment in the British Army, with the addition of our specialist selection. You will first apply online and then attend your Soldier Selection as everybody else does. If you receive a suitable grade, you will be offered the chance to attend our specialist selection to test your suitability for intelligence duties. If you are successful here, then you will be offered a date to start your basic training and subsequent intelligence trade training.
What happens at Intelligence Corps Selection?
Over three days you will take part in a number of academic, team, and briefing tasks. English and numeracy will be tested at approximately GCSE pass standard. You will also be interviewed. Once you are booked onto a Selection, a detailed itinerary will be provided prior to your attendance. Selection is by no means impossible - indeed the pass rate is typically at least 50-60%.
How can I prepare for Intelligence Corps selection?
None of the academic tests conducted during your selection exceed GCSE pass standard, so we would recommend BBC Bitesize or a similar resource to refresh yourself on basic English and Maths. Keep up to date on current affairs - not just domestic news but global issues affecting UK national security. Practice your public briefing, potentially in front of family and friends. We would also recommend carefully considering why you want to join the Intelligence Corps and research us as widely as you can. We recognise that public information is limited, and we don't expect you to know everything about the Corps. Remember throughout that this is a job interview.
What qualifications do I need to join?
Our minimum requirement is 5 GCSE passes (4/C or above) including English and Maths. This is in place to maximise your chances of passing your intelligence analysis trade training first time. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.
I’m under 18, can I join?
You can apply, but you will not be able to attend Intelligence Corps selection until you have turned 18. We would recommend taking the time to learn more about the Intelligence Corps and prepare yourself for Selection as much as you can. Unfortunately this means that we are not able to recruit directly from AFC Harrogate.
What is the gender ratio like in the Intelligence Corps? Can women do every job?
Absolutely, women can do any job in the Intelligence Corps. We’re proud to have one of the highest ratios of women to men within the Army. Historically all of our roles have been open to women – pioneered by those Intelligence Corps cap-badged women who joined the SOE and the thousands who worked at Bletchley Park. As an intelligence organisation, cognitive diversity is critical to our work. That means recruiting and supporting as broad a variety of people as possible, regardless of gender, race, or religion.
If I fail Selection, do I still have to join the Army?
The vast majority of those who fail our Selection continue to join the Army and absolutely thrive – indeed we’ll talk you through other roles in the Army that you may be better suited to than intelligence. That all said, there is no obligation to continue your Army application if you fail our Selection. Your Candidate Support Manager is best placed to help and can assist in finding another role within the Army that best suits you. If you have any doubts, we are available throughout the Selection to discuss the whole process.
Should I apply to become an officer or soldier?
This is the question we most commonly hear and there is no easy answer. You will always be more 'hands on' in intelligence analysis as a soldier than as an officer, where you will spend approximately half of your time on more general management tasks. Ultimately, we would recommend considering whether your prime motivation for joining the Army is to conduct intelligence analysis or leadership and management straight out of training.
We are always on hand to discuss this difficult question, and can put you in touch with a range of officers and soldiers to help inform your decision.
What is Developed Vetting and do I need this to join the Corps?
Developed Vetting is a security clearance that all personnel wishing to be employed by the Intelligence Corps must achieve. Some roles within the Corps will require additional security clearances. The purpose of security vetting is to provide an assurance of the loyalty, reliability, and trustworthiness of an individual. HQ INT CORPS is not the vetting authority, nor can it influence the vetting process, but we will seek guidance on individual cases as required and provide information to candidates wherever possible.
What is day to day life like as an Officer in the Intelligence Corps?
Although there is no 'set day' due to the huge variety of intelligence roles on offer, you will typically be leading a small team tasked with a wide range of challenging intelligence problems. Your team could be attached to 16 Air Assault Brigade Headquarters helping them prepare for a high-readiness deployment, or providing niche and discrete real-time intelligence support to an ongoing military operation.
Regardless of where you are, your work will be split roughly 50/50 between soldier management and intelligence command. Soldier management is the cornerstone of officership - it means administratively leading your soldiers with thorough report writing, compassionate welfare care, discipline, mentoring, and career management. The other half of your day will be spent leading the team's intelligence analysis - often working out how to break complex problems down or liaising with other organisations. Ultimately you are responsible for the quality of the intelligence reporting that your team produces - potentially informing life or death decisions. It's high pressure, but huge reward and impact.
What unique opportunities can I expect as an Intelligence Corps Officer?
Our officers frequently work in a Brigade or Division HQ straight out of training, whereas in other Regiments those jobs tend to be filled by senior Captains. It is common for Intelligence Corps junior officers to be expected to provide intelligence briefs to senior officers straight out of training. This means a lot of pressure from an early stage, but the reward of having an impact and influence typically unheard of for your rank. You can also expect to work with international and inter-agency partners at a more junior rank, potentially representing UK Army Intelligence as a Lieutenant in a room otherwise full of Majors and Colonels.
How often should I expect to deploy as an Officer?
You can typically expect to deploy for a six month period approximately every two years, although this will vary. In between, expect to spend a lot of your time either on smaller deployments or large scale exercises. It isn't uncommon for newly commissioned officers to spend 50% of their first couple of years deployed in some capacity.
What is the balance of intelligence work vs command?
Intelligence Corps officers are fortunate to get opportunities to command at all levels. Expect to be commanding soldiers for the majority of your jobs. Your team will always do the majority of the analytical work, but it is your decision as to how involved you get. We expect all of our officers to be highly competent analysts in their own right.
How large are the teams I will lead?
The Intelligence Corps equivalent of an Infantry Platoon is an Intelligence Section. Our Second Lieutenants start their careers as 'Section Commanders' and can typically expect to lead a team of eight soldiers. This does vary depending on the role - some of our teams are smaller and some are platoon sized.
Can I specialise in a certain type of intelligence work as an Officer?
Typically our officers are generalists and change roles every two years, but there are occasionally opportunities to spend back-to-back jobs focused on the same intelligence specialism. Whatever the job, expect to be challenged by a demanding commander and a set of highly motivated and intelligent soldiers.
How do the Intelligence Corps select Officers?
Every term at Sandhurst, we host Officer Cadets for a two-day Selection event. We assess communication (verbal and writing), leadership, intellectual potential, teamwork, and motivation for joining the Corps. The pass rate here is approximately 50%. Those who pass our Selection are then invited to the Regimental Selection Board (RSB) held in the Intermediate Term, where candidates are interviewed by a panel of senior officers. Those who are successful at RSB are then offered a commission in the Intelligence Corps, pending successful completion of their course at Sandhurst.
How many Officers do you recruit a year?
Typically we recruit 24 officers a year, split into eight per term. Numbers will vary slightly each year, as dictated by forecasted personnel requirements.
If I join another Regiment, can I transfer?
The process is fiercely competitive, but we do accept a number of transferee officers into the Intelligence Corps every year. If successful, officers typically then go on to complete the Officer Military Intelligence Course held at our home in Chicksands, Bedfordshire, before posting into their first job.
What is the difference between OPMI and OPTI?
OPTIs are technical intelligence specialists - with a focus on either Signals Intelligence, Cyber Intelligence, and/or a language. Their work is nearly always in real-time support of live operations, either from home or abroad. OPMIs have more varied specialisms and career paths with the option of changing focus every few years. For example, in one post you could be attached to an Infantry Battlegroup providing intimate combat intelligence; in another you could specialise in Imagery or Counter Intelligence.
Will I get the opportunity to specialise in a certain type of intelligence work?
Typically, all of our soldiers have the opportunity to apply for intelligence roles within intelligence specialisms such as Operational Intelligence (OPINT), Imagery (IMINT), Human (HUMINT), Signals (SIGINT), Open-Source (OSINT), Material and Personnel Exploitation (MPE), and Counter-Intelligence (CI). Although soldiers post every three years, it is fairly common for people to choose to spend much of their careers in one of these specialisms, particularly if there is an operational requirement and a long qualifying course (e.g. Imagery Intelligence).
How much time is spent in an office vs in the field?
It very much depends on which job you're in - for instance expect to spend much more time in the field if you are working in support of an Infantry Battlegroup than if you are an Open Source analyst. That said, much of our work requires access to classified intelligence that can only be received via IT. Even in the field, expect to spend much of your time in an Operations Room around a map table, radios, and laptops.
How often can I expect to deploy?
The Intelligence Corps is one of the most heavily deployed and operationally committed parts of the British Army. On average, expect to deploy for a six month tour every two years. In between, it is likely that you will spend further time away on either smaller deployments or large-scale exercises. This does vary from job to job, with some roles non-deployable. Bear in mind that in the Intelligence Corps it is common to be working from a desk but providing real-time intelligence support to an ongoing operation. In the Corps you don't need to be deployed to be making a difference to UK National Security.
Will I get the opportunity to study a language?
Typically only our OPTI analysts load onto long language courses. For OPTIs now joining: you are likely to load onto a language course if you request one, but this may not be immediately after completion of training. Increasingly, there are exciting OPTI roles available that do not require learning a language.
Can I complete P Company or the All Arms Commando Course?
We have a Company attached to 16 Air Assault Brigade and a Section attached to 3 Commando Brigade. Soldiers and officers within those units typically do get the opportunity to attempt an arduous course.
Will I get to work with other intelligence branches - civilian and military?
The Intelligence Corps are very much a part of the UK and international Five Eyes Intelligence Community. Expect to have the opportunity to work closely with a wide range of UK and international partners throughout your career.
Will I get a say in where I am posted to?
We are a small family Corps and do our utmost to post everyone into roles that suit their personal life and ambitions. You will always apply for specific jobs and the Corps will always take into account your preferences. That said, posting does depend on what jobs are available; what jobs need to be filled; and who has the appropriate skills and experiences for a particular role. As in any organisation, that occasionally means that people are disappointed with the roles they are assigned.
Can I transfer into the Intelligence Corps from another Regiment?
Yes, absolutely. Transferees add a huge amount of value to the Intelligence Corps, particularly when they bring experiences and skills from another Regiment that are typically rare in the Corps. All transferee requests must first go through your chain of command. If approved, transferee candidates sit a specialist transferee selection held at Chicksands, Bedfordshire. If successful, you will be given a start date for your Phase Two training. We accept transferees into both OPMI and OPTI employment groups.