Everybody Wants to be SI until it’s Time to do SI Sh!t

We used to have a saying in SOF, “don’t confuse enthusiasm with capability.”

Sure, laugh, but when I look at resumes from former IC and SOF folks, everybody mentions SI. We’ve even got careerfields in the military that think they’re going to take it on like a side gig. I’ll let you in on a secret, all that other stuff you spend all your time concentrating on is the side gig. SI is a full time job and it’s in demand. Add in EW and CYBER and it’s the whole mission.

That’s right, the Cold War is long over with the Soviets prancing around with Motorized Rifle Divisions. Maneuver around long enough and you would’ve just run into them, they were so big. A small ISR footprint could support huge task forces.

But for that past couple of decades it’s been about rooting out the enemy so you can choose how to deal with him. It might be a kinetic strike, a commando raid, or maybe something even more devious like making his fortune disappear from his bank accounts in the Caribbean or having a self driving delivery van run over his mother. Yes, we are smack dab in the age of intelligence, which has become the operation. Hence, so many “operators” wanting to say they did something else once they get out and are looking for jobs.

So, if you’re going to tell people you can do it, maybe you ought to learn a little about it.

Rohde & Schwarz have been in the comms receiver and direction finding business for 85 years. Why, just this fiscal year, they generated EUR 2.58 billion in revenue. They boast over 12,000 employees in 70 countries. Everyone looks to them. They know what they’re doing. So when they offer something titled, “Webinar: An Introduction to Direction Finding,” you take it. That is if you don’t want to sound like an idiot when you tell the chippy down at the pub who works for a TLA how you’re a one-man F3EAD cycle.

So go check out this intro to direction finding. And oh yeah, don’t let the EW and Cyber guys tell you that knowing the target language isn’t important. You can only do so much with externals.

14 Responses to “Everybody Wants to be SI until it’s Time to do SI Sh!t”

  1. shewantsthe.ISRD says:

    Brah. With near pear you’re not gonna get internals

  2. Bad lieutenant says:

    SI = Signal Intelligence, if there are any lurkers unfamiliar with the lingo.

    Always helps to explain all abbreviations in the text, even the obvious ones:-)

    • SSD says:

      That was the point. If you don’t know what SI is, you shouldn’t be telling people you do it.

    • SShink says:

      Not a lurker, but a non-military industry professional…I was wondering what SI meant until I read your post. Found the post interesting to read and read posts to potentially enhance products for our Military, but had no idea.

      • SSD says:

        It’s a layered thing and a dig on the poseurs. Yes, people pose as Intel Professionals. Or, over inflate their CV to try and get work they aren’t qualified for. It used to be everyone wanted to be 007, now it’s the awkward dude who sits in front of a receiver all day.

        Those in that business generally use SI. SI has a dual meaning and can refer to SIGINT or Special Intelligence. It’s kind of an insider thing you wouldn’t know if you didn’t actually do the thing. That’s why I used SI.

        The whole article was a big poke in the eye to folks looking for work. And I mean that in a couple of ways. The obvious, job hunter whose only connection to SI was that he read a report or saw the equipment, and the military community who has lost relevance and is confusing enthusiasm with capability.

        • James says:

          It’s endemic everywhere, DanningBluger or something, at least that’s what it said on this article I read . Hahaha ! Guess everyone is a little guilty of it with the amount of information available- just watch a youtube video right?

        • Steve says:

          At the National/strategic level, SIGINT is just one of many aspects of a broader SI effort.

        • utahgeoff says:

          “over inflate… to try and get work they aren’t qualified for”
          That sums up just about every person looking for a job these days. Honesty and integrity are in short supply these days.

    • Amer-Rican says:

      Signals Intel, Ground Electronics Warfare. Both sig and elec are plural because they’re not limited to any one type. 🙂

  3. Ed says:

    I thought SI was the abbreviation for Sports Illustrated! Lol 🙂

  4. jrexilius says:

    Damn good post! Language and protocol/application layers are important for context and effective exploitation. Another open source resource that may be helpful for people to passively scan is Fairly approachable and broad-but-related topics.

    • james says:

      Tons of info out there, and the upside is ” not knowing what can’t be done”, but also part of the problem mentioned above.- can jump right in and start turning dials without really understanding any of it. has a pretty good forum on its KerberosX4 SDR and some of the ways people use them for anyone interested in hobby level experimentation.

  5. Son T. Adams says:

    Excellent Post. For the past several years especially in the SOF community there has been a attitude of SI can be done by anyone. Its definitely a special field filled with special people.