Intelligence Fundamentals Professional Certification (IFPC)

The Intelligence Fundamentals Professional Certification (IFPC) was developed to accomplish the goal set forth by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD(I&S)) to professionalize the defense intelligence workforce.  The IFPC has established a common standard of the fundamental knowledge and skills expected of all who currently serve in and support, and those who hope to serve in and support, the Defense Intelligence Enterprise (DIE).  The IFPC is based on cross-cutting and enterprise-wide Defense Intelligence Fundamentals standards, which depict the core expectations of what all Defense Intelligence Professionals, regardless of Service/Agency, Function/Specialty and experience level, must know and be able to do to successfully execute and contribute to the execution of intelligence missions, functions, and activities at the fundamental level.  The IFPC will also serve to ensure incoming defense intelligence professionals meet knowledge standards.


To earn the IFPC, you must meet all eligibility requirements and pass the 90-question IFPC exam.  The certification lasts for three (3) years and may be renewed by retaking/passing the IFPC exam or achieving a higher-level certification from a program endorsed by the USD(I&S).

More information can be found in the IFPC Candidate Handbook.


 Standing the surface warfare coordinator watch in the combat information center (CIC) aboard the cruiser USS Cowpens.   


This certification is featured on the COOL sites for Army, Navy, Air ForceMarines, and Coast Guard. It is also on the Army IKN site (a CAC-enabled site).


About the IFPC


The genesis of the IFPC is based on the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General Report (No. DoDIG 2015-015), “Evaluation of DoD Intelligence Training and Education Programs for the Fundamental Competencies of the DoD Intelligence Workforce”. This report indicated the presence of critical skill gaps and a lack of knowledge and skill standards for entry-level/developmental intelligence professionals. To address these gaps and fulfill the recommendations of the report, a DIE Subject Matter Expert (SME) Working Group and the Governance Council (GC) collaborated to develop standards based on work and knowledge requirements common to the DIE components. Following a very successful pilot with volunteers from across the DIE, the IFPC Program Management Office (PMO) was formally established to manage the testing and conferral processes.
The IFPC was designed as a complementary certification to all other intelligence tradecraft certifications. It is not a replacement for those, but instead serves as a foundation upon which the other DIE certifications are built.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I prepare to sit for the exam? 
    Candidates are encouraged to review the eight (8) fundamental topic areas identified by DIE Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as being essential knowledge for personnel working in the DIE at the entry/developmental level. These eight (8) topic areas make up the Essential Body of Knowledge (EBK).  For more information, and links to the EBK, please click here.
  • How do I register and schedule my exam? 
    Candidates must register within the candidate management system.  Once all steps are complete, the individual will be automatically directed to Pearson VUE to schedule their exam.  For more information and links to these systems, please click here.
  • How soon will I be conferred and receive my certificate & digital badge? 
    Conferral occurs at the end of each month; therefore, it may take up to 6 weeks after testing for a candidate to receive conferral notification.  Once a conferral occurs, candidates will be able to download a printable certificate from the candidate management system.  Conferred candidates will also receive an email with information on how to access and use their digital badge.  Additional information can be found here.
  • How do I maintain my IFPC certification?
    The IFPC credential is conferred for a three (3) year period.  The certificant may renew their IFPC credential by re-taking the IFPC exam, or obtaining another USDI-conferred or recognized intelligence tradecraft certification.  Additional information can be found here.
  • I have other questions not answered here, whom should I contact? 
    Please direct any questions or concerns to the IFPC PMO via form (click here), email ( ), or phone (571.305.5268).  ​


*Effective October 1, 2023, academia is no longer eligible for the IFPC.*


The IFPC is available to individuals who 1) hold U.S. Citizenship, and 2) meet all the requirements of at least one of the following eligibility categories:

  • Government.  An individual must be a government civilian currently employed by the DoD (waivers requesting participation may be submitted to the PMO by personnel currently employed by a federal, state, tribal, or local government entity supporting DoD-recognized intelligence missions).
  • Military. An individual currently serving. An individual must be currently serving. This includes Active Duty, Reservists, National Guard Members, US Service Academies, and ROTC members.
  • Industry.  An individual must be employed by an organization eligible to pursue contracts with the U.S. Intelligence Community (i.e., organizations that hold a CAGE code) and hold a DoD affiliated email address. Note: This includes individuals currently working on contract with a Component of the DIE.