In a world that increasingly relies on intelligence to counter threats from both within and beyond our shores, the role of air intelligence analyst (AIA) is a critical one.

Operating behind a screen of necessary secrecy, AIAs are working hard to keep our people and our operations safe.  

One such AIA (signals), Corporal Alisha Edwards, is currently deployed to the Air Task Group on Operation Accordion in the Middle East region. 

Corporal Edwards' job is essential for the Air Task Group, albeit sensitive in terms of information and capability.

"I work in the specialist field of electronic warfare, which involves processing electronic emissions and radar signals into tactically advantageous intelligence," Corporal Edwards said.

"Intelligence support can include providing knowledge of the enemy and the area of operations so that commanders can make the most appropriate decision at the most appropriate time, in order to achieve and prosecute their missions. 

"This involves using a range of sources, a significant amount of information and being determined and driven to find the needle in the haystack in terms of what is important to the commander for mission success."

Deployed to Australia's main operating base in the Middle East, Corporal Edwards has embraced being overseas. 

"This is my first deployment to the Middle East, which itself presents so many other factors and situations which are entirely new from anything else I have experienced," she said.

"Adjusting to a new time zone, extreme heat and being away from my family has also been an adjustment as well.

"At the end of the day, though, whether it's from a deployed perspective or from just working in the ADF generally, it is the people and the value each person has to bring to the team dynamic."

Having worked in the ADF for more than six years now, Corporal Edwards said she had been initially drawn to the role when looking for a new challenge. 

"It was a complete industry change from any job I had previously. I wasn’t fulfilled in the professional role I had at that time, from a personal perspective," she said.

"I wanted to work with an organisation that aligned with my personal values and I wanted to give back to my community. I was after something different, wanting to move away from a typical day job. I knew I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people with drive and enthusiasm.  

"If you are open to working with upcoming and emerging technologies in a maturing and evolving industry, a role like this would be ideal.  

"I would recommend this field to anyone who is solution-orientated, driven, flexible, adaptable and enjoys problem-solving and thinking outside the box."

Operation Accordion is the ADF's overarching support mission to Operations Highroad, Okra, Manitou and other activities in the Middle East region. Operation Accordion also enables contingency planning and enhancement of regional relationships in the MER.