DEA Intelligence Research Specialist Careers

Using a vast arsenal of information systems, electronic surveillance, and human intelligence assets, the Drug Enforcement Administration identifies, analyzes and dismantles narcotics manufacturing and trafficking networks as well as illicit prescription drug distribution.  In the fight against illegal drug use, the DEA utilizes an army of highly qualified intelligence research specialists who collect information, analyze it and distribute it to field operatives, agency managers and drug policy makers.

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The role of the intelligence research specialist has grown in recent years as the United States has re-aligned its international operations with counter-terrorism efforts.  Intelligence officers now collect information about drug cultivation, transportation, processing, and distribution within a vast and integrated network of intelligence officers throughout the federal government.  The DEA recognizes that the proceeds from the illegal drug trade are often used to finance criminal and terrorist operations. For this reason, the DEA has adopted a pro-active strategy that utilizes intelligence to identify and uproot narcotics operations before they fully mature.

DEA Intelligence Research Specialist Job Description

Intelligence research specialist jobs with the DEA involve the following competencies:

  • Gather intelligence from documents, wiretaps, informants and other sources
  • Analyze a variety of intelligence reports for accuracy and reliability
  • Produce recommendations to agency directors and policy makers
  • Inform special agents about criminal activities
  • Present strategies to government leaders

How to Become a DEA Intelligence Research Specialist

Like all federal intelligence officers, DEA intelligence research specialists should have outstanding academic credentials. The Drug Enforcement Administration hires candidates with a master’s degree, LLB, or J.D. at the GS-9 pay level.  Candidates with a PhD. may enter the agency with a GS-11 pay rating, while those with considerable professional experience in intelligence related duties might enter at the GS-12 or GS-13 level.

Applicants should begin the process by finding a job posting on and following the link to the OPM, where they will be asked to complete a preliminary questionnaire. Applicants should have the following qualifications:

  • Possess U.S. citizenship
  • Ability to pass a drug test
  • Ability to pass a background check
  • Be between 21 and 37 years of age
  • Completed a four year degree program with a GPA of at least 2.95

Applicants will be required to pass a written test, structured interview and medical/psychological evaluation.  Candidates may also be required to pass a polygraph examination.

Upon hiring, DEA intelligence research specialists are required to complete the Basic Intelligence Research Specialist Training Course.  This nine week program is held aat the DEA Training Academy and includes courses within the areas of

  • Drug investigations
  • Programs
  • National and international policy
  • Strategic planning

The curriculum is designed to introduce new analysts to the computerized tools and analytical skills essential to performing at peak levels.  The courses will cover a broad array of subjects including the decision-making process regarding critical intelligence.

DEA Intelligence Research Specialist Salary

DEA intelligence research specialists may join the agency at the GS-9, GS-11, GS-12, or GS-13 levels depending upon academic credentials and employment history.  As of 2012, the salary ranges for these pay grades were as follows:

General Schedule Grade
Pay Range
General Schedule 9
General Schedule 11
General Schedule 12
General Schedule 13

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