January 27th, 2010 19:52 EST
CIA Clandestine Service Trainee Program: Do It!
Operations Officers serve on the front lines of the human intelligence collection business by clandestinely recruiting and handling sources of foreign intelligence. It takes special skills and professional discipline to establish strong human relationships that result in high-value intelligence from clandestine sources. An Operations Officer must be able to deal with fast-moving, ambiguous and unstructured situations. This requires physical and psychological health, energy, intuition and "street sense". Operations Officers serve the bulk of their time in overseas assignments.
Because Operations Officers have demanding responsibilities, it is essential that they be physically and psychologically healthy, energetic, and able to cope with stress. At times, meeting these needs of the service dictates that we work off-hours, late hours or some weekends. This way, a "normal" workweek, on a 24/7 schedule, can sometimes run between 60 and 80 hours. Pressure to balance these requirements requires an ability to establish priorities and focus on what is important and promising.
On the intellectual side, Operations Officers tend to be bright individuals with "people smarts" and "street sense." They have a strong capacity for analytical reasoning and conceptualizing, but tend not to be interested in ideas for their own sake. Their judgment in practical matters tends to be sound, and they have good insight into character, motivation and the potential of other people. Equally critical is their need for accurate assessment, because only one who is genuinely conscious of his or her own personality can establish the kind and depth of personal relationships needed for CIA Operational work.
Finally, success as an Operations Officer is impossible without flexibility, a sense of perspective and humor. If there is any profession in which "Murphy`s Law" can apply, it is certainly, that of Clandestine Operations where so many elements are unknown and uncontrolled.
Minimum requirements include a bachelor`s degree and an excellent academic record, with a strong interest in international affairs and solid interpersonal and communications skills. Foreign travel, foreign language proficiency, prior residency abroad, military experience, a background in Central Eurasian, East Asian and Middle Eastern languages, and degrees and experience in international economics and business, as well as in the physical sciences, are preferred. The 35-year maximum age requirement could be waived on a case-by-case basis.
Collection Management Officer
Collection Management Officers (CMO`s) manage the collection, evaluation, protection and dissemination of raw intelligence. They serve as the bridge between the consumers of intelligence--policymakers and Intelligence Community analysts--and the collectors--overseas operations officers who are handling sources of foreign intelligence. As such, the CMO straddles the middle ground between operations and analysis. They are substantive experts in their field and must know how National Clandestine Service operations are conducted and have a solid understanding of international issues and overseas operating environments.
The Field-based CMO works closely with the Operations Officer to ensure that meetings with sources are productive and result in foreign intelligence. The field-based CMO will draft questions and areas for follow-up and then work with the collector to draft reports that adequately protect the source and that also convey the information accurately and clearly. The CMO works closely with Embassy and overseas Intelligence Community colleagues and may also meet directly with sources of foreign intelligence. Field-based CMO`s work closely with their HQS-based CMO colleagues to make sure the best possible product is delivered to our customers. Field-Based CMO`s spend approximately 40 percent of their career overseas.
Successful CMO`s have excellent oral and written communications skills. CMO`s are skilled at time management and multitasking. They must be team players but also have the ability to work independently. CMO`s are logical thinkers, "news junkies," and enjoy being the go-to person in their area of expertise. They must be able to balance priorities, particularly when pulled in numerous directions. A successful CMO is also adept at handling ambiguous situations and working under minimal supervision.
Minimum requirements include a bachelor`s or master`s degree and an excellent academic record (minimum 3.0 GPA), with a strong interest in international affairs, solid interpersonal skills and the ability to write and brief clearly and accurately. Foreign travel, foreign language proficiency, prior residency abroad, military experience and a background in Central Eurasian, East Asian and Middle Eastern languages and cultures are preferred. A Master`s degree and/or other degrees of interest include international business, finance or relations, economics, physical science or nuclear, biological or chemical engineering. The 35-year maximum age requirement could be waived on a case-by-case basis.
All applicants must successfully complete a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview and an extensive background investigation. US citizenship is required for both applicant and spouse.
To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last twelve months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to twelve months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing.