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Published:June 10th, 2007 09:44 EST
The CIA Needs Scientists, Engineers & Technology

The CIA Needs Scientists, Engineers & Technology

By SOP newswire

The Central Intelligence Agency is defining the leading edge of science, engineering and technology. Now, more than ever, it is essential for us to stay ahead of fast-paced global technology developments in order to fulfill the Agency`s foreign intelligence mission. This places us in the unique position of leading an industry populated primarily with public-sector companies.

Maintaining our leadership across a broad range of scientific and technical disciplines requires us not only to apply existing science and technology, but to develop and implement breakthrough technologies that may never see the commercial marketplace.

Technology Before Its Time

US Intelligence history effectively began when the country was still 13 colonies. The establishment of the CIA, just 55 years ago, marked an important milestone in that history, with the marriage of intelligence gathering and technology. The CIA`s legacy of creating and using engineering and scientific innovations grew as the Agency embraced a global scope and found itself facing formidable opponents during the Cold War.

Today, the Agency`s mission demands intelligence gathering and processing that exceed commercially available technologies or have no prudent application in private industry.

The Cutting Edge

Our work is specific to the task at hand, goal-oriented and highly focused. Success might be measured in just one mission. In contrast, commercial technology often seeks broad applications for consumers and determines research and development based on estimated profitability.

Although the CIA Museum is a tribute to "spy" gadgets and brilliant plots, much of our mission today requires a different kind of technology. Surveillance, communications, computers and other information technology now play a vital role, as much for analysis as for intelligence gathering. A recent CIA breakthrough in computer-assisted change detection was originally developed for use in reviewing reconnaissance imagery. Its most significant finding to date, however, has been another application - in medicine - comparing mammogram images to more accurately detect early signs of breast cancer.

Part of our challenge is how we can share what we`ve done with industry peers and academia in the interest of advancing science. Often we simply cannot declassify our work and protect national security. But we can advise others based on our knowledge and contribute to industry initiatives through papers, presentations, forums and organizational leadership.


Drawing Top Resources

To continue our legacy, the CIA recruits aggressively, attracting and retaining the top minds in science and engineering. These positions are unique career challenges that break out of the commercial, product-driven mindset. Scientific and engineering expertise and potential are applied in a team-oriented environment, combined with other technical disciplines as well as artists, craftspeople, model makers and even linguists.

Looking Ahead

The CIA is actively involved in many industry organizations including:

  • Society of Women Engineers

  • Asian Diversity Conference

  • Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference

  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society

  • National Society of Black Engineers

  • Advancing Minorities` Interests in Engineering Conference

  • Minorities in Science and Technology

  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

We also make special efforts to help develop tomorrow`s top minds. Academic programs, internships and student career opportunities allow us to share our expertise and influence young thinkers who may someday distinguish themselves for the country. For more than a dozen years, our involvement has included sending representatives to serve as judges in regional high school science fairs. It`s an opportunity to identify talent early as well as to educate students about science careers with the Agency. Student winners are invited to visit our headquarters and participate in problem-solving competitions, providing an appreciation for the intelligence process.