Intelligence Work Made Simple



1. I am an excellent pupil, I study well, I am fond of mathematics and I dream of becoming an intelligence officer. But I have problems with physical training, I weigh 85 kilograms, I can't fight and my classmates tease me as a “bookworm”. Could you kindly tell me, where I should go to study to make my dream come true?

First of all, persevere in following your dream, ignore caustic remarks and do not stop at anything. You can always get rid of extra weight, as well as master, if necessary, the techniques of self-defense and hand-to-hand fight. It is more important to get a good education, preferably in promising, high-tech spheres of activity, and to become a successful skilled specialist in the chosen profession. Only such a person can be interesting for intelligence.

Professionals in international law and international relations, jurisprudence, economics, political science, public administration, journalism, psychology, applied mathematics, cybernetics, computer technology, systems analysis, information security, etc. are in demand today.

2. What people are more needed by the Intelligence today: the James Bond type or “learning nerds” who know everything?

Cinematic images of intelligence officers are often far from reality. The same James Bond least of all reminds of a real spy. In fact, intelligence is not about adventures and chasing with shooting. First of all, it is a stressful and hard work that requires a lot of effort, endurance, will power, serious knowledge and great skill. After all, intelligence has many different areas of activity, which require both mobile active people and patient intellectual analysts, programmers, cryptanalysts, etc.

3. Is it true that once a person becomes a spy he is not allowed to start a family and communicate with relatives?

No, this is an exaggeration. In fact, all intelligence officers can have families and communicate with their relatives. At the same time, there are categories of employees who, taking into consideration the specifics and nature of their service, may not always (and not all their relatives) tell about where they work and what they do. These are usually officers who work undercover, or whose work involves agential, operational and technical and other activities, covert operations, and so on.

4. Is it true that there are special intelligence schools in Ukraine, which enlist pupis from the age of 15? And at what age can one begin to study to be an intelligence officer?

There are no such educational institutions in Ukraine. At the age of 15, you can become a student of a military lyceum, and after graduating you can enter higher military educational institutions, where there is a profile of training military intelligence officers.

5. According to a rumour, some intelligence officers undergo plastic surgery so that their schoolmates do not recognize them. Is it true?

The history of world intelligence knows a number of examples when to perform serious intelligence tasks they had to resort to plastic surgery to significantly change the appearance of the intelligence officer. But these are few cases. Modern masking and make-up technologies are most often used. They allow not only to change beyond recognition the appearance of a person, but also his/her walking and even voice.

6. Is it true that all intelligence officers are tested on a polygraph? If so, is it done with or without the consent of the person?

Each candidate for the intelligence service is informed that he, in case of enrollment, will become a carrier of secret information. Therefore, he must pass a special test. The person gives written consent to this. The test includes many different activities, including various tests and the use of a polygraph. This is done exclusively in the legal field of our state.

7. Is it true that intelligence officers are taught hypnosis and reading other people's thoughts?

In the real practice of training of intelligence officers, of course, such things are not taught. However, a modern intelligence officer must be familiar with human psychology and use this knowledge in work - when establishing contacts with a person who interests him, collecting intelligence, finding out, etc. There are many different ways of psychological influence on a person, some of which are used to train future intelligence officers. Often the skilful use of such methods by an intelligence officer makes the interlocutor think that he is reading his thoughts.

8. Do modern intelligence officers, like 100 years ago, still use dead drops in the passage of information, watching out for foot surveilance, or has the Internet already made adjustments to the use of such methods of work?

Many forms and methods of intelligence work have remained unchanged for decades. Over the years, they only improve and progress. Dead drops, as an old proven method of work, are still used today. Not everything can and needs to be transmitted over the Internet. Samples of obtained secret products and materials, data storage devices, items and technical means needed for intelligence work, and much more cannot be sent via the Internet. Of course, the Internet and the latest achievements in science and technology have made the work of intelligence officers much easier, but did not rid them of the need to skillfully and correctly use in their work dead-drop exchange, personal meetings with agents, and many other time tested methods.

9. What special capabilities are needed to become an intelligence officer?

During the selection, study and registration for the service, special attention is paid to the person's education, his previous jobs and what skills he has acquired. Besides, the level of intellectual development, psychological readiness for service in intelligence, speed of thinking, sociability, curiosity, experience in working with people, readiness for self-improvement and hard work are evaluated. Important are the knowledge of human nature, capability of coming to common terms with anybody, expressing one's thoughts clearly and understandably, beings able from a huge mass of information to quickly highlight the main points, to separate facts from conjecture, analyze events and more. Special attention is also paid to the degree of proficiency in foreign languages ​​or an inclination to study them.

10. Is it necessary to know a foreign language perfectly to be selected for intelligence school? Which language is preferable? Is it true that with knowledge of Chinese or some other Oriental language one is more likely to get into the Intelligence?

A good command of a foreign language is a must. Knowledge of Chinese or other Oriental languages ​​is not the main thing in the selection for the Intelligence. In case of necessity, personnel departments of the Service can find and hire a specialist with knowledge of a specific, even rare, language, who has sufficient practical experience and other necessary qualities.

Besides, nowadays young people with knowledge of several languages ​​are coming to the Intelligence. Later, during the preparation for work abroad, they improve their knowledge, undergo additional training, which includes country studies, diplomatic etiquette, and knowledge of the laws, history, customs of the host country.

11. I want to become an intelligence officer. What is better for this: to hold a black belt in karate or to develop some mental capabilities?

Both foreign and military intelligence need broad-minded people who have deep knowledge, monitor the situation in the world, are able to understand it, analyze and draw correct conclusions. Physical condition and classes in many sports are also important. They can be a good addition to business and will-power qualities. This will be especially needed for service in military intelligence and the so-called army special forces.

12. Which intelligence is more interesting to work in: military or foreign, and how do they differ?

To make a long story short and simple, military intelligence includes army intelligence of the Armed Forces (military intelligence units and subunits in forces) and military strategic intelligence (the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine). That is why its officers face different tasks: to obtain intelligence information about the enemy in the immediate location of military units; or to collect outside the state military-political, military-technical and other information about military threats to Ukraine.

The scope of activity of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is somewhat different and wider. It includes obtaining information of political, economic, scientific and technical nature in the interests of the state, participation in fighting international terrorism and organized crime, ensuring the safe functioning of Ukrainian institutions abroad, security of their employees and other our citizens, etc.

There are also intelligence officers in the State Border Guard Service. They operate at the border and obtain intelligence on those issues that relate to the protection of the state border of Ukraine.

The work is interesting everywhere. The main point is to decide for yourself in what your heart is, and where you can show your personal qualities and capabilities to the full.

13. What educational institutions train intelligence officers and how can one enter them?

Some higher military schools have faculties that train military intelligence officers. You can enter one after graduating from high school. At the Military Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine, military intelligence officers improve their knowledge and can take master's degree in “Military Management in International Relations”.

Personnel for the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine are trained by the Academy of the Foreign Intelligence of Ukraine. Candidates for training in it are chosen from among those who have higher education, already work in the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine and only on recommendations of the heads of units in which they serve. More detailed information can be found on the official websites of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine in the relevant sections.

14. Is there a special oath of intelligence officers of Ukraine?

Military servicemen of intelligence agencies take the Military Oath of Allegiance to the people of Ukraine - common to all the military. It contains the words of the oath “to defend the Ukrainian state, to stand steadfastly on the guard of its freedom and independence”. There is no special corporate oath. Civil servants who are appointed to various positions in intelligence units take the Oath of Civil Servants.