This blog will focus on the different components of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and internships for students interested in pursuing a career with the CIA. The audience for this blog are college students majoring in Criminal Justice or with an interest in law enforcement who are specifically interested in a career with the CIA. Many students overlook the agency, because the agency doesn’t deal with law enforcement but instead deals with policies and national security issues.
The CIA was created after President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act in 1947. As an intelligence agency, CIA helps in “collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information to government officials.” (CIA). The Director of the CIA is nominated by the President of U.S. and reports to the Director of National Intelligence. The CIA is organized into seven components and each component plays a vital role in the agency’s mission. The seven components are Directorate of Analysis, Directorate of Operations, Directorate of Science & Technology, Directorate of Support, Offices of the Director, Directorate of Digital Innovation, and Mission Centers.
Firstly, the Directorate of Analysis provides timely and accurate information to U.S. policymakers regarding national security and foreign policy issues. Analysis in the DA study different regions around the world and their work is based on their region of expertise. The office hires interns and graduate fellows and are interested in students majoring in economics, physical sciences, engineering, geography, international affairs, or political science.
Secondly, the Directorate of Operations plays a different role and is responsible for conducting secret operations around the world. In order to conduct operations, they collect Human Intelligence (HUMINT) from people overseas and foreign contacts who work within the government. The Directorate of Operations hires professionals and interns from wide variety of areas including scientists, engineers, economists, lawyers, historians, linguists etc.
Also, the Directorate of Science & Technology collects and analyzes intelligence related to technology or other technical fields. The professionals and interns that the office hires have background in computer programming, engineering,etc but not limited to these technical fields.
Furthermore, the Directorate of Support plays a very critical role in the agency and ensures that the other directorate offices have all the materials they need to successfully complete their tasks. Their support includes in tasks such as security, supply chains, financial services, and medical services. Although the Directorate of Support office does not hire interns, the professionals who work in the office include doctors, finance officers, logistics officers, human resources officers, and medical personnel. Employees specifically in the Directorate of Support occasionally go through training programs, professional, career, and leadership development programs due to the unique nature of their work.
The Directorate of Digital Innovation is a new directorate in the agency and keeps up with daily innovations and other critical concepts such as the cyber tradecraft and IT infrastructure. The directorate also provides information particularly related to cyber to CIA officers worldwide. In addition, the Offices of the Director includes the director of CIA and staff members that oversee issues such as human resources, public affairs, military and congressional affairs, legal issues, and protocol.
Finally, CIA has ten mission centers worldwide that provide the agency with operational, analytic, support, and technical elements and the agency uses information provided by the support centers to help solve national security issues. The six geographic regions of the mission centers are Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, Near East, South and Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. The four functional areas of mission centers include Counterintelligence, Counter terrorism, Global Issues, and Weapons and Counter proliferation.
Although the agency does not offer internship position in each directorate, getting a position in another directorate will get students a foot into the door of one of the key intelligence agency in U.S. The agency hires interns for summer, winter, spring, and fall employment and also has Co-Op programs for Undergraduate and Graduate students. For each internship, students have to apply nine months prior to the deadline to receive consideration. Students are assigned to the CIA headquarters in Washington D.C. and receive benefits similar to the employees. The agency also provides professional development opportunities for the interns to help them be more successful in future. Although I did provide brief description of the seven directorates, students interested in an internship with the agency should look into the agency’s website for more detailed info. Students should also look at a Forbes article whcih explains the agency’s recruitment and provides possible interview questions.