National Clandestine Service - NCS Officers

NCS Officers

The NCS consists of six different types of officers :

Below are brief descriptions of these six types of officers. For a more detailed description, visit the CIA website.

1) Operations Officers:

Operations Officers (OOs) are focused full time on clandestinely spotting, assessing, developing, recruiting, and handling individuals with access to vital foreign intelligence on the full range of national security issues.

2) Collection Management Officers:

Core Collector-certified Collection Management Officers (CMOs) oversee and facilitate the collection, evaluation, classification, and dissemination of foreign intelligence developed from clandestine sources. CMOs play a critical role in ensuring that foreign intelligence collected by clandestine sources is relevant, timely, and addresses the highest foreign policy and national security needs of the nation.

3) Staff Operations Officers:

Based out of CIA Headquarters in Washington, DC, Staff Operations Officers (SOOs) plan, guide and support intelligence collection operations, counterintelligence activities and covert action programs.

4) Targeting Officers:

Officers in this career track will directly support and drive complex worldwide NCS operations to develop actionable intelligence against the highest priority threats to U.S. national security.

5) Paramilitary Operations Officers:

Qualified candidates can expect to focus on intelligence operations and activities for U.S. policymakers in hazardous and austere overseas environments.

The NCS' primary action arm is the Special Activities Division, which conducts direct action-like raids, ambushes, sabotage, assassinations, unconventional warfare (e.g. training and leading guerrillas), and deniable psychological operations, the latter also known as "covert influence." While special reconnaissance may be either a military or intelligence operation, these usually are executed by SAD officers in denied areas. Paramilitary operations officers are chosen mainly from the ranks of U.S. special operations forces. SAD operatives are the most specialized because they combine the best special operations and clandestine intelligence capabilities in one individual. They operate in any environment (sea, air, or ground), with limited to no support. They originate in the SAD's Special Operations Group (SOG), considered one of the most elite special operations units in the world. Paramilitary operations officers are the primary recipients of the coveted Distinguished Intelligence Cross and the Intelligence Star, the CIA's two highest medals for valor. Not surprisingly, the majority of those memorialized on the Wall of Honor at the CIA's headquarters were covert operatives.

6) NCS Language Officers

Performing a critical and dynamic function within the NCS, the Language Officer applies advanced foreign language skills, experience, and expertise to provide high-quality translation, interpretation, and language-related support for a variety of NCS clandestine operations.

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