Skip to main content

Aim Hire: The Hallmarks of Intelligence

If you’re considering a career in intelligence, this month’s Aim Hire, “The Hallmarks of Intelligence: The critical roles civilians play in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence for the U.S. Air Force” is for you.

  • Kathy Dalesandre, Deputy Commander, 480th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group, Fort Gordon, Georgia
  • Mike Cosmo, Joint Military and Political Planner and Knowledge Management Specialist, Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Sara Schmidt, Intelligence Analyst, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio

And, like every good intelligence briefing, we’ve boiled down the pertinent information from November’s live webinar into an annotated summary of its most salient points:

(7:30) Kathy describes her transition from active duty to reserves to civilian service with AFCS and the many advantages working for AFCS has afforded her as an intelligence professional, like getting to travel the world.

(8:56) Kathy describes the Air Force-wide initiative of “Career Broadening” and how it provides both civilian and active-duty Airmen with the opportunity to take on diverse leadership roles they might not otherwise have experienced.

(10:13) Mike describes the United States Air Force Civilian Developmental Education and Senior Leadership Program (CSLP), where AFCS employees are groomed during the three-year program for senior leadership positions.

(12:07) Sarah details how the Air Force’s Palace Acquire Intern Program (PAQ) played an instrumental role in her landing in her current position as an Intelligence Analyst and how it’s a great way to get your foot in the door to an otherwise tough community to break into.

(15:10) Sarah explains why AFCS internship programs have inherent advantages over similar programs in the private sector.

(16:57) Kathy shares why she has chosen to make a career in the Air Force as a civilian following her years in active duty and the reserves.

(18:41) From the life-long friendships to the importance and rewards of the mission to having the opportunity to try new things in foreign lands, Mike tells why he chose to stay with the Air Force as a civilian employee over other opportunities in the private sector.

(20:43) Host Bob Hall does a deep dive into some of the intangibles that make an AFCS career so rewarding. Spoiler alert: The generous benefits are only a tip of the iceberg.

(22:37) Kathy and Mike describe the hiring process and how it compares to their previous enlistment processes and offer some tips on how to ensure your qualifications stand out in a competitive hiring environment.

(28:25) From adaptability and attention to detail to problem-solving and finding creative workarounds to obstacles, the panelists share the traits they’ve observed that make good intel analysts.

(32:49) The panelists describe their most rewarding moments as civilian intel professionals for the Air Force.

(37:42) Sara shares the excitement of getting to field test a project she and her team had been working on for more than a year and witness firsthand how it contributed to the day-to-day mission success of our Airmen.

(41:38) All three panelists address the possibility of entering the intelligence community from another career field within AFCS and add tips on how to go about it.

(46:36) Finally, Sara fields a question on what it takes to be a PAQ Intern and the educational background AFCS is looking for.