MacDill’s Trusted Agent

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Danielle Quilla
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Just like in the movies where spies have a trusted team helping them successfully carry out a mission, members of the Air Force can trust the operations intelligence analysts to watch their backs.

These highly trained Airmen are responsible for constantly collecting and piecing together open-source and classified intelligence that will better prepare personnel for a mission or deployment.

"We brief crews about the threats, the physical and political climates, and the weapon systems that they could be exposed to in the country they are flying into," said Airman 1st Class Nicholas Huston, an operations intelligence analyst assigned to the 6th Operations Support Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

It is vital for Huston to be thorough in his research of the specific areas he is monitoring to ensure he does not overlook any critical information that could save the service members' lives.

"What they [recruiters] don't tell you is that you'll never see windows or your phone again," Huston said jokingly when asked about his work environment. "The work is stressful and could go from a six to an eight or nine easy."

Huston must be prepared to receive a new wave of information at any time, and be able to distinguish potential threats and changes that are significant to the mission.

Once Huston has pieced the incoming information together, he is able to create a briefing catered to the different crews and commanders, especially for those who are preparing for deployment.

"The most challenging part of my job is tailoring my research and presentations to best suit who I am briefing," he said. "There is always a baseline for what information I need to find and brief, but in order to engage my audience and ensure that the information is being conveyed well, I need to present it in a way that lets them know how the information directly affects their role in the overall mission."

To do this, Huston says he becomes familiar with the different experiences the members have encountered in order to turn the briefing into a conversation. This, in turn, helps the crews and commanders to have something to compare to the current conditions they will be facing.

After each of the briefings, the floor is opened to questions, which he considers to be the fun part.

"It makes me think on my feet," he explained. "I have all this pocket knowledge from my research that I am able to pull from to answer the questions."

It is a heavy responsibility for a 21-year-old to hold, but this Sacramento, California, native plans on making intelligence a career beyond the Air Force.

"My job is interesting, but what drives me is knowing I am playing a big part in the overall Air Force mission," expressed Huston.