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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Thinking like an Intelligence Officer

If you are interested in a career in the Intelligence Community (which includes agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National GeospatialAgency and many others!) then now is the time to start acting and thinking like the intelligence officer you wish to become.


Despite how movies and books portray us, intelligence officers within the CIA have few connections to flashy cars or machine guns. Martial arts abilities or spy tradecraft are notwhat the Agency looks for when it looks to recruit intelligence officers. The most important traits intelligence officers can bring to the Agency are integrity, candor, a strong work ethic and discretion. 

These traits are important because as intelligence officers, we’re entrusted with confidential information from around the world that can have a significant impact on nationalsecurity if the information isn’t kept secret. We help protect our nation from threats spanning from potential nuclear warfare to terrorism acts on US soil. Due to this, a sense ofintegrity, the willingness to be candid, ownership of a strong work ethic and the ability to keep information confidential are the top qualities of an intelligence officer.

What is integrity? It’s about your honesty, your moral values, and your personal character. We’re looking for individuals who are not involved with drugs, who don’t illegallydownload music or movies, people who are staying out of trouble and trying to do the right thing. As students you’re faced with choices every day that will test your integrity. Ifyou are interested in a career in intelligence, think about the choices you make and use your best judgment to make strategic and informed decisions.

Candor refers to being truthful, completely open and sincere. We want intelligence officers who will speak the truth and be honest regardless of the situation. Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”. Our officers are committed to an honest and candid workplace.

If you are the student who completes the extra credit assignment, goes the extra mile, meets deadlines, and does all this while maintaining a high GPA —  you’re the applicant we’re looking for. A strong work ethic is all about believing in working smart and working hard to achieve your goals. Agency officers are routinely asked to go the extra mile, andour officers respond without hesitation.

Officers who work at the CIA are cleared to the Top Secret level. The majority of the work you do won’t be information you can talk to your family and friends about. This is wherediscretion comes in. We are looking for intelligence officers who are able to keep information confidential, and ensure that confidential information is protected fromunauthorized sources.

Do you meet the qualifications listed above for an intelligence officer for the CIA? If yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, start working to improve the areas listed above. TheCIA is the nation’s first line of defense; we accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go...will you join us as we accomplish our mission?