Intelligence world unclassified

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman David Bernal Del Agua
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
"When somebody asks what we do, I say 'Have you seen the James Bond movies? Well, it's nothing like that,'" said 1st Lt. Carmella Burruss, 22nd Operations Support Squadron officer in charge of intelligence operations.

The intelligence community might spend most of their time gathering information behind closed doors, but they are on the front lines of knowledge.

The 22nd OSS intelligence shop has two main functions here. The first is to support aircraft and aircrews.

"We're here as threat analysts to keep the KC-135 Stratotankers safe," said Burruss. "It's our number one goal to understand the environment our airplanes are flying in and see how we can help the mission planners mitigate threats to the aircraft."

The second function of the intelligence community here is to provide the 'ground truth' to the decision makers.

"Intel is a semi-permeable membrane, which means we provide a lot of information in one direction, and we receive commands in another direction," said Burruss. "We're not here to make decisions. We're here to act in an advisory position to the commander. We pride ourselves in being arbiters of the truth. Our job is not to tell people what they want to hear, but to say the uncomfortable ground truth, regardless of what it is."

While analysts provide the 'ground truth' to the decision makers, they are not focused on only one area. Like the tanker they support, they are involved all around the world.

"What makes an Air Mobility Command intel job attractive is its worldwide capability," said Burruss. "It is difficult, but it is very rewarding. In the end, we really stand out because of our ability to talk about all the different subjects instead of being so focused on one location or specialty."

Other members of the shop also prefer the AMC intelligence community because of the opportunities it allows to those in the command.
"I like the fact that we are like tankers, and we are embedded everywhere," said Airman 1st Class Emmanuel Nava, 22nd OSS operations intelligence analyst in the training element. "We have a lot more knowledge on other countries and threats, as well as having some training on what everyone else does as well."

Intelligence analysts can also work with different agencies within the Air Force, like security forces and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, as well as outside agencies like the National Security Agency and the CIA.

"Our analysts are known as all-source analysts or operations intel analysts," said Burruss. "This means they are designed to be jack of all trades. They are the best type of support to an airframe, especially to the KC-135. They are individuals who can look at the big picture and understand the knowledge that needs to be pushed out to the decision makers."

A close knit community behind closed doors, full of secrets but ready to distribute them to those who need them to make decisions. Their job might not be exactly like what Agent 007 does, but it is necessary to accomplish the mission.