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IntelDevilDog  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, January 27, 2009 12:31:49 AM(UTC)
IntelDevilDog

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Good Morning Everyone,

I have been reviewing this forum for quite sometime, and I see there are a lot of good advice and support going around, and I would like to start off by thanking everyone for their contributions.
I have some questions regarding the day to day operations of an Investigative Analyst in the ATF. I have applied to this position and I would like to see what I could possibly be getting myself into. I have reviewed the duties from the announcements, but I still have some questions. Before I get to the questions here is a brief summary of my background. Medically Retired Capt USMC, Intelligence Officer(6 years), 10 pt Preference, Masters Justice Administration, Bachelors Sociology.

1) Do individuals receive training prior to starting the job, or is it On-The-Job Training?

2) How much is this position related to the intelligence field? If it is related, is it all-source fusion, humint intensive, etc...

3) During one of the times that I had applied to this position, I was told I was over qualified, and that it was primarily an Office Assistant position where I would be making copies, and taking phone call messages for Special Agents. Is this true?

Any information is greatly appreciated, thank you for your time.

Semper Fi
IntelDevilDog
IntelDevilDog  
#2 Posted : Saturday, January 31, 2009 1:51:01 PM(UTC)
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Good Evening,
Are there any people out there familiar with this job that could shed some light to the questions in the previous post? I am very interested to see what the day to day operations could consist of. Thanks again for your time.

Semper Fi
IntelDevilDog
IntelDevilDog  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, February 04, 2009 5:12:29 AM(UTC)
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Bump, still looking for answers or remarks...
IntelDevilDog  
#4 Posted : Friday, February 06, 2009 1:25:21 AM(UTC)
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Ok last bump, anyone out there know about this position and what its day to day operations are like in regards to outside of what the announcement describes?

Pretty much I am looking the role an Investigative Analyst plays and how they interact with Special Agents and how much they are utilized.

Thanks for your time...

Semper Fi
IntelDevilDog
Centerman 37  
#5 Posted : Friday, February 06, 2009 2:08:16 AM(UTC)
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I have an anecdote that may be helpful, but it's not appropriate for here. If you like, you can email me at centerman37atyahoodotcom. I am not an investigative analyst but may shed some light on your question.
bmcguffie33  
#6 Posted : Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:43:34 AM(UTC)
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Hello IntelDevilDog,

I am an ATF Investigative Analyst, and I have a lengthy answer to your questions.

1) Do individuals receive training prior to starting the job, or is it On-The-Job Training?

There is no training prior to the job. You depend on other Investigative Analysts (IA), Intelligence Research Specialists (IRS), agents (SA), and your supervisor (either RAC or Group Supervisor) to show you the ropes. I already had nine years of law enforcement experience when I was hired, so that made my learning experience much easier. After I had been with ATF for 17 months, I was sent to a two-week training in Washington DC which had some useful components, but overall was inadequate to meet the training needs of an investigative analyst. Many IA’s do not attend this training, and it is rarely offered. If your supervisor determines that you should be an NCIC trainer, you will attend a one-week training every four years. You must re-certify every two years, but can do so via computer testing for the two-year period between trainings. You MAY receive training in PenLink, i2 Analysts’ Notebook, and various trainings put on by your local law enforcement agencies. You will have to be ASSERTIVE about attending any non-mandatory training. ATF is a small agency with a small training budget, and the agents’ and industry operations investigators’ (IOI) training needs are met first. IRS’s are part of the intelligence group, so their training expenses come out of a different budget.

2) How much is this position related to the intelligence field? If it is related, is it all-source fusion, humint intensive, etc...

If you work in a Field Office or a co-located group, you will not hear terms such as HUMINT, SIGINT, or MASINT. ATF is a law enforcement agency, and is not part of the IC, so we view intelligence differently. Your work will come from various sources. Often the agents will ask you to research a suspect’s background. Or, you can develop leads by reviewing the agents’ reports of investigation (ROI’s) and reports from state and local agencies. Sometimes the suspect’s identifiers are listed in the reports, and this makes your research very easy. At the minimum, you will obtain an NCIC criminal history, suspect photographs, certified conviction documents from state and federal courts, and records of stay from various correctional facilities across the U.S. Sometimes you will locate suspects’ and witnesses’ addresses or places of employment. You will perform telephone toll analysis and create timelines and charts for complex cases. Most of your research will relate to firearms violations, but you will also work on explosive and arson investigations. Alcohol and tobacco diversion cases are not as common, and are often region specific.

3) During one of the times that I had applied to this position, I was told I was over qualified, and that it was primarily an Office Assistant position where I would be making copies, and taking phone call messages for Special Agents. Is this true?

It can be true, depending on the office environment and the supervisor. In the past, there was a GS 5 secretary position in every field office and group. (The difference between a field office and group is that a field office stands alone and is typically located in a small city, the supervisor is called a Resident Agent in Charge (RAC). In larger cities, several groups are co-located in one building, the supervisors are called Group Supervisors). With the advent of computers, fax machines, email, voicemail, and cell phones, the need for an administrative support position decreased, and during the mid ‘90’s the position was upgraded to an Investigation Assistant position (GS 1802). This position was a blend of administrative duties and investigative support duties. As technology advanced, the need for an administrative support position became non-existent, and in the early ‘00’s the position was upgraded to an Investigative Analyst position (GS 1801). Unfortunately, many SA’s, IOI’s, and supervisors only viewed the promotion as a “raise” and not a promotion to a new position. Also, some IA’s only wanted a “raise” and resisted performing their new duties. Unfortunately, this meant that those of us who relished our new duties, or were actually hired as 1802’s and 1801’s had a real fight on our hands. I came on as an 1802 and was promoted to an 1801 one year later. I am lucky to have a supervisor who supports my analysis work and does not require me to perform many administrative tasks, although I do keep the investigative files in order, maintain the GOV files and reconcile the monthly Mastercard statements. (Let’s face it, we all perform duties that are outside of our position description. I have seen my supervisor and agents mow and weed eat the area surrounding our explosives bunker.) I only copy and fax my own work. EVERYONE in our office answers the phone, and we forward calls to voicemail, unless there is an emergency, of course. I am very happy with my position, my coworkers and my supervisor. I may have a problem when my supervisor moves to another office, because the new RAC may be used to having an IA that serves as a secretary, instead of performing the duties that are outlined in the position description and listed as the critical elements of the yearly performance evaluation.

My advice to you would be to continue to apply for IA positions, and determine during the interview whether you will be performing analyst duties or secretarial duties. If the supervisor wants a secretary …RUN!!! There are plenty of offices where an IA is truly an analyst. I personally would like to see more ATF IA’s with your experience, as it will advance the position to what it is actually supposed to be.

You may also want to apply for ATF IRS positions. The ATF intel group welcomes military intelligence analysts.

Good luck to you in your job search!

P.S. I would also like to state here that I mean no disrespect to secretaries when I compare our positions. Many people underestimate what a secretary does. Having worked with some really great secretaries, I want to state that they have admirable skills, and most people could not perform such myriad duties with the grace and professionalism displayed by secretaries.
IntelDevilDog  
#7 Posted : Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:34:45 PM(UTC)
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Bookworm50,

Thank you very much for the informative reply. The information you provided is exactly what I was looking for.

Very Respectfully,
IntelDevilDog
thebonekracker  
#8 Posted : Sunday, March 22, 2009 3:52:37 AM(UTC)
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I recall when I first started applying for a law enforcement position (to include an ATF IA position) that I was offered three different positions with two different agencies. It took several months after putting in these applications before I started the position I accepted. Approximately 18 months AFTER initially applying with the ATF I received a phone call asking me if I was still interested in the position as they were getting ready to conduct interviews. I'm sorry, but I was a GS-9 at the time and would be a GS-12 in another 18 months. I wasn't looking to take a step back so declined the interview.

The ATF is definitely an agency I had my eye on and I felt I would enjoy working for as I had worked with several ATF agents when I had been Army EOD. I've heard nothing but good things from current and past ATF employees about this agency. I'm assuming that when I applied they must have posted openings just to bring in a pool of qualified applicants to fill future openings.

I'm not sure if things are different now, but I just want you to be aware that it could be a lengthy process, so don't apply for one position and then sit back waiting for the call.

Best of luck!
InIt2WinIt  
#9 Posted : Thursday, August 30, 2012 1:07:10 PM(UTC)
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I noticed there is another Investigative Analyst Position GS-09 up on USAJOBS.....If you are in the Analytical Field or want to be in the Analytical Field, DO NOT APPLY FOR THIS ANNOUNCEMENT WITH ATF!!!!!  I worked with ATF as an Investigative Analyst and you will only be treated like a CLERK/SECRETARY.  You will not get any Analyst training to help you propel your career as an Analyst.  You won't learn what is promised in the job announcement....RUN, RUN as fast as you can away from ATF.  The Analysts that are currently there, are nothing more than glorified Secretaries.  STOP!  Don't apply for this position if you want to grow.  Trust me....it's a career killer.
You were warned if you do apply for this position, you can only blame yourself if you want more out of a job and get LESS.  Management gives you no respect and Analyst are thought of in high regard elsewhere but not in ATF.  They say "other duties as assigned"  after you are hired but it does not read on the job announcement.  that "other duties as assigned" is all your clerical duties and NO Analytical duties......GOOD LUCK!

InIt2WinIt2012-08-30 21:13:15
LostInTheMatrix  
#10 Posted : Monday, September 17, 2012 4:00:37 AM(UTC)
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I totally agree.
 
I was an ATF Division Investigative Assistant for 6 years, and was promoted to an Intelligence Research Specialist.  I held that position for another 6 years.  During these times, SACs and Supervisors rotated through.  Each boss re-invented my job position.  Some respected the intelligence concept.  Others, could not spell the word. 
 
If you hire on with a long term career in mind, this job could be satisfactory at times.  If you get a bad boss, hold your breath for a while, and another one will come trotting through.  They rotate frequently, either on their way up, on their way down, or on their way out to retire.
 
It is like the presidency, some years you get a Republican, and other years you get a Democrat.  You have to weather them all.  I worked over 15 years for ATF.  In my life, ATF provided me with the best supervisor I have ever worked for; and the worst despicable supervisor that walked the earth.Censored
 
Don't get too comfortable if you get the job, things will change.Stern Smile
 
 
Jim1348  
#11 Posted : Thursday, January 03, 2013 12:27:13 PM(UTC)
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Earlier today I saw a posting for this, but when I checked later in the day I couldn't find it. Is that unusual to have a posting and for it to be removed? Jim13482013-01-03 20:32:35
phillyva  
#12 Posted : Thursday, January 03, 2013 12:35:09 PM(UTC)
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Thanks: 4 times
Was thanked: 5 time(s) in 4 post(s)
They cancelled that posting I applied this morning and got a email that it was cancelled. They said they are reposting in the email. Just keep checking usa jobs.

Jim1348  
#13 Posted : Thursday, January 03, 2013 9:44:45 PM(UTC)
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Thank you for the information.
InIt2WinIt  
#14 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2013 1:44:22 AM(UTC)
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Warning! If u are an Analyst already and function as an analyst.....DO NOT APPLY FOR THIS POSITION WITH ATF! You will only be used as a secretary, making files, getting the mail, answering the phone from the reception area and filing misc items. You will hardly ever be utilized as an Analyst. Your career as a respected analyst will be over! Best of luck to whoever decides to get into this position or agency. This is an agency with lots of issues.
bchrist05  
#15 Posted : Monday, January 07, 2013 10:58:47 PM(UTC)
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I applied to this position last night, and it is kind of a step down for me; however, I do not have a TS, so that is why I am considering the position.   I also applied to the intelligence research specialist last week, but I don't think I answered the questions on the questionnaire the right way, but who knows...
InIt2WinIt  
#16 Posted : Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:41:29 AM(UTC)
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Ok, don't be upset with anyone but yourself if you get the Analyst position. You were warned! I know times are hard and working anywhere is priority. Good luck to you.
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