SOF to Intel

goon175

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,803
Location
Jedi Center of Excellence
SSMP
SOF Mentor
One of the reasons I came to this site is because of its vast resources in the intelligence field, As I am planning on going that route (35M/35L). I have read every thread that pertained to what I am planning to do, specifically how a support MOS gets to SOF, How the SF ODA's view there support guys, how the MOS itself is. I am not planning on going back to Regiment as an intel guy, so my research efforts have been focused on how SF support works.

- I am assuming that because of my SOF background, it would not be too much of a stretch of the imagination to assume I could get assigned to a Group right off the bat. Is that a good assumption?

- From reading on here, I have a good understanding of how SF support personnel are used/viewed. Coming from another SOF unit, and the experience that come with that, would I be viewed/used differently in my new support role? If so, how?

Thanks in advance, any and all advice is welcome.
 

goon175

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,803
Location
Jedi Center of Excellence
SSMP
SOF Mentor
Well, I have done the TSE bit on two deployments, focusing mostly on the SIGINT portion of the job, and I did enjoy it. I just don't think I could see myself doing SIGINT for a career. As for the other linguist jobs, I don't mind learning another language, I've dabbled with Arabic and Pashtu in the past, but again I don't see myself doing that for a career. I don't mind learning a foreign language to use as a tool, but not strictly as my sole job. I have worked with 35M's in the past, I admire there work, and have seen the direct impact they have on the target set. It also translates well for getting work outside of the military (according to my research atleast). The 35L job interests me, I have never worked with one before, but based on my research it couples well with what a 35M does. The 35L job also, from what I've read, translates very well to civilian employment. I think overall, I know I would still be having a direct impact on mission success doing one of those two MOS's, and that's what I want. Taking a support job was the compromise I made with my wife for staying in the Army, which is why I did not stay in Regiment, and am not going to SFAS or any other selection. It will be a wierd transition for me, and alot of my peers question my logic, but for me, as long as I am still having an impact on the continued fight in the GWOT, I will be happy. It seems to me, 35M/35L offer the most in that direction.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,416
Location
CONUS
What rank are you? Generally speaking, the higher in rank you are the fewer slots there are on the MTOE.

If you meet the MOS and grade requirements, there should be nothing stopping you from landing a job at Group. Despite the best efforts of many, there is still no screening process so all you would most likely have to do is call your branch manager and request assignment. Good luck.
 

goon175

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,803
Location
Jedi Center of Excellence
SSMP
SOF Mentor
I am currently a SSG. I definately will be making the necessary phone calls to branch, etc. I'm just hoping it won't come down to "Well, we have spots at 10th group and 4th ID, but 4th ID is deploying and needs a (insert MOS) SSG, so you are going there"
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,416
Location
CONUS
Unfortunately, that's exactly the way it works. 10th Group or 10th Mountain, makes no difference to Branch because they're both equal in terms of assignment priorities. The good news is, SF is so big now and your MOS and pay grade are in such demand that it's likely they can fit you in somewhere. I cannot emphasize the importance of maintaining contact with your branch manager before your post-reclass orders come out. You might luck out and have a branch manager with experience in an SF unit. I remember a time when the 98G and 98C branch managers were both ex-5th Group.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,416
Location
CONUS
Some other services call them "detailers," they're the ones that manage assignments at the Department of the Army level.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,416
Location
CONUS
You can definitely use your prior SOF experience to your advantage, but it will only come into play when you get your branch manager on the line. SF has ceded responsibility for recruiting enablers to their respective branch managers, who only see MOS/grade/billet.

Until and unless SF gets serious about the enabler side of the house, you're going to continue to have a huge disparity in relative effectiveness between the operators and the enablers. Elite operator vs. "needs of the Army" enabler. Hm... no wonder so many of the "good" enablers end up jumping ship and moving on to other SOF units.
 

Brill

SOF Support
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Messages
4,896
Location
221B Baker St
Well, I have done the TSE bit on two deployments, focusing mostly on the SIGINT portion of the job, and I did enjoy it. I just don't think I could see myself doing SIGINT for a career. As for the other linguist jobs, I don't mind learning another language, I've dabbled with Arabic and Pashtu in the past, but again I don't see myself doing that for a career. I don't mind learning a foreign language to use as a tool, but not strictly as my sole job. I have worked with 35M's in the past, I admire there work, and have seen the direct impact they have on the target set. It also translates well for getting work outside of the military (according to my research atleast). The 35L job interests me, I have never worked with one before, but based on my research it couples well with what a 35M does. The 35L job also, from what I've read, translates very well to civilian employment. I think overall, I know I would still be having a direct impact on mission success doing one of those two MOS's, and that's what I want. Taking a support job was the compromise I made with my wife for staying in the Army, which is why I did not stay in Regiment, and am not going to SFAS or any other selection. It will be a wierd transition for me, and alot of my peers question my logic, but for me, as long as I am still having an impact on the continued fight in the GWOT, I will be happy. It seems to me, 35M/35L offer the most in that direction.

Man, you have SOT-A flowing in your veins. Pretty good payback givin' Momma a year in Cali while you hit the books with her AT HOME every night, followed by a couple of months in Texas before you arrive at Group.

I can tell you there was a heck of alot more going on behind the scenes to provide you & your brothers with targets. One of the best exchanges I had was during a briefing with one of your BN leaders in '08: I was going into detail why the target was important, the effects of kill/capture, blah, blah, blah and one of the guys said "Dude, I don't really care about that, just give me a 10 digit and we'll do the rest." Easy enough!
 

goon175

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,803
Location
Jedi Center of Excellence
SSMP
SOF Mentor
"Dude, I don't really care about that, just give me a 10 digit and we'll do the rest."

And that is why I loved being a Ranger. I think most will agree, DA is the sexiest part of being in any special operations unit.

I would really like to thank you guys for the input on this. I have had very limited exposure to SOT-A's in the past, only worked with them a handful of occasions, and honestly never looked into it. After researching it the past few days, I think you are probably right, that would be a good route for me to go. I see that they primarily use 35N/P for them, I would probably look into doing 35P. Lindy, if it's cool with you I'm gonna hit you up with a PM asking some more specifics, this has really piqued my interest.
 

roadtrippin

Unverified
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
5
Apologies to bumping an old thread, but seems like the OP was in the same situation as I am in right now.

goon175, is there any update on your progress? If it still matters, I got a hold of branch and they told me they could cut orders to wherever I volunteered for (as long as my foreign language is relevant to the area).
 

goon175

Ranger
Verified SOF
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,803
Location
Jedi Center of Excellence
SSMP
SOF Mentor
I am still planning on re-classing to 35P and volunteering for a SOT-A, hopefully at Carson. My re-enlistment window doesn't open up until April, so as of right now I am waiting until it is close enough to take the DLAB and get the process going. Glad to hear that it sounds like branch is easy to get along with as far as assignments go. Out of curiosity, what MOS are you switching from?
 

roadtrippin

Unverified
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
5
From the emails I'm receiving, they are greatly undermanned right now. I am re-classing from 11B. Same here, if all goes well, I'll also volunteer for SOT-A.
 

Brill

SOF Support
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Messages
4,896
Location
221B Baker St
From the emails I'm receiving, they are greatly undermanned right now. I am re-classing from 11B. Same here, if all goes well, I'll also volunteer for SOT-A.

Why do you think that is? Why would ANYONE want to put themselves in a situation where they have to be twice as proficient in order to be considered only half as good? :-"

In my opinion, having worked within the community since '89, it's hard to find a guy who 1) wants to do intel work and 2) is a PT stud. Why be outside in the elements, tired and hungry, when you could be in a nice office with A/C and a dough nut on your desk? If you can hang with the Team guys, why not go to SFAS, the Q, and get the long tab?

Oh and then mention the retention problem: experience + clearance + foreign language skills = decent money on the outside (although the civilian leadership leaves a lot to be desired! They don't like f-bombs in the office.)

One doesn't simply volunteer to join a SOT-A: you have to go through the pipeline (score well on the DLAB, get a favorable SSBI, do well at DLI & GAFB, then volunteer). There are folks at DLI looking for PT studs and good mature soldiers ("...my courtesy towards superior officers, my neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example...") that can make things happen when they find the right guys.

Check out mispace.army.mil and there's a PPT on MI SOF recruiting and there are POCs in the briefing. Also be aware that SOT-As are a very small community: only 12 per BN. Word gets around who the shitbags are.

Don't get me wrong: I really enjoy the work and love the people! I also get a kick out of the combat power of all that crap in my ruck. "Hey, did you bring the cord for..." :-x
 

roadtrippin

Unverified
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
5
If I wouldn't reclass, I would be involuntarily reclassed to the MOS in the near future, so I just decided to volunteer for it right now and jump ahead of the others, in terms of promotions and such. Main reason for being on that Army hit list, I assume, is because I am receiving pay for a 3/3 on a foreign language.

Now with the "why not go SF?" I was on the process of getting my medicals approved for my SF selection packet, until I found out about reclassing to 35P. I read about it, talked to the intel guys and seemed relevant to my interest. Also noting that I would not have to extend/reenlist to reclass, as apposed to going SF route.

And I'll be sure to bust balls when I go down to GAFB, just like that my young, motivated self when going through RIP. Quite excited to go to AIT, oddly. If that's not enough to get accepted to SOT-A, so be it. Hell, if I enjoy the job, I'll re-enlist and apply then or what not.

Hope this answers to some of your questions.

Also, that site mispace.army.mil . Seems like it does not exist according to my browser. Is there an alternative? Would really like to check it out.
 
Top