National Security Agency/NSA linguist


I'm a Korean Linguist in the AF and after this Osan tour I'm probably going to Ft Meade and finish up my 6yr term there. I heard that if you are getting out of the military, that is the perfect spot because you can do all sorts of networking and apply for a job at NSA.
I'm just wondering is does the NSA currently need Korean Linguists there? I'm a native speaker 4/4/2+ and by then i would have 6 yrs of military experience with an AA degree in Korean and probably another AA degree from the CCAF.
I wish I can finish a BA by then but that probably won't happen. However I have tons of volunteer/extracurricular bullets, awards, and different training.
I just wanted to... kind of measure how marketable I am.

Also can you tell me the average salary for a person like me (experience, education etc) and when should I apply for NSA? I don't want to end up not having a job by the time I seperate from the AF.

Lastly, if you were in a similar boat, would you recommend staying in for the big reenlistment bonus? (Just wondering if there's any body that regrets the decision goin from AF to NSA)

Thank You so much.

The NSA certainly does need Korean linguists. Your stint at Ft. Meade will be an opportunity to network toward maximizing your options. I am under the impression that the primary location for the Korean mission is NSA Hawaii. Not a bad gig there!

I've known plenty of linguists at the NSA that were former military. I've also known plenty that decided staying in the military was their best plan. I really can't tell you what is your personal best financial plan. Unless you have a Masters Degree or PhD, you probably won't make significantly more money as a civilian than you would as a serviceman, after you calculate in the other benefits. Also keep in mind that there is no actual civilian pension. There's a retirement savings plan with matching funds, but it's not a real pension.

You can be applying to the NSA as a civilian even before you separate. If you do decide to leave the service and become a civilian employee, get that ball rolling sooner rather than later. It's the government, and that means it will take quite a bit of time.

I saw people hired all over the grid. If you don't have a BA, but you have significant experience you will probably start somewhere in the 40K range as a civilian.

God bless you and thank you for your past and future service, wherever you decide that is best for you.

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Keith Massey


I can answer any questions on the topic within an unclassified framework. Classified information I know about the agency (as a former employee) I can not divulge.


I worked at the National Security Agency for four years, from 2002-2006, in the capacity of an Arabic linguist.

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2008 Intermediate Arabic for Dummies. ISBN 9780470373378. Wiley Publishing. 2008 "A Latin Etymology for Romanian DA = Yes" in Ianua. Revista Philologica Romanica. 2008 "Further Evidence for an "Italic" Substratum in Romanian," in Philologie im Netz 43/2008, pp. 11-16. 2007 "Vergilian Allusions In Newman’s “Kindly Light," in Newman Studies Journal, Vol. 4, Issue 2, Fall 2007. 2006 "A Second Look at Latin Secundus = 'Favorable'" in Pomoerium Online Journal, Vol. 5/2004-2006. 2002 "Letters and Mysterious Letters," contributor of article for Encyclopedia of the Qur'an (E.J. Brill Publishers). 1996 "Mystery Letters of the Quran," in Arabica (E.J. Brill Publishers) by Keith Massey. 1995 "Semitic Quadriliteral Animal Terms: An Explanation," in Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) by Keith Massey and Kevin Massey-Gillespie. 1993 "Dialogue of Creeds" in ISLAMOCHRISTIANA (Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies) by Keith Massey and Kevin Massey-Gillespie.

Education PhD 1998 University of Wisconsin-Madison Hebrew and Semitic Studies, Arabic Minor MA 1992 University of Wisconsin-Madison Hebrew and Semitic Studies MA 1990 Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN Old Testament BA 1987 University of Wisconsin-Madison Classics (Latin and Greek)

Awards and Honors
Previous Position Arabic Linguist (June 2002-July 2006) National Security Agency, Fort Meade, MD Achieved Professional Certification as Level 3 Voice Linguist and Level 3 Graphic Linguist, passing two of the four examinations with honors. Served at an overseas field site. Through the National Security Agency, has studied Iraqi Dialect and Egyptian Dialect and used each in an operational context.

Past/Present Clients
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