A military analyst is a person who has been trained to gather information about military powers, analyze that information, and formulate useful analysis that can be used in making policy decisions, preparing for war, presenting legal cases to the international court, or ensuring national security. Military analysts can work for think tanks, national governments, news organizations, and private consulting firms, doing everything from conducting top-secret intelligence analysis to providing expert opinions on current military issues.
Military analysts are capable of collaborating with both foreign and domestic militaries. They look at every aspect of military capability, including the military budget, training, weapons systems, and doctrine and policies. Many military analysts examine the role of various militaries in peacekeeping operations, as well as the ways in which nations use their militaries, in addition to offensive and defensive capabilities. Some countries, for example, use their armed forces to engage in saber rattling and intimidation, while others prefer to maintain a defensive military with a more public-service-oriented mission that includes responding to natural disasters and other events.
When working for a security agency, a military analyst may have access to highly classified materials that can be used to gather a wealth of information about a foreign power, ranging from satellite data to information smuggled out of the country espionage agents. As a result, such analysts’ reports are typically classified, with access limited to high-ranking agents and the head of state. These military analysts may also prepare more general material that can be released to the public.
Military analysts can make policy recommendations, educate the public about military issues, and provide news organizations with information that can help them prepare reports. Because of their appearances on news shows, some analysts become well-known public figures, with high-profile analysts earning higher salaries than those who work in the background. Government military analysts, like many other government employees, are vital to national security, but their pay is typically lower than that of a private-sector military analyst.
Military analysts typically have a bachelor’s degree at the very least. During their educations, they study topics such as military history, foreign languages, foreign relations, political policy, and economics so that they can apply this knowledge to their analysis of military issues. A military analyst will typically specialize in a specific area, such as nuclear capabilities, the Chinese military, or the history of peacekeeping operations. Military analyst training programs are used some governments to help people prepare for work as analysts.