The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a relatively new organization. In 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act, establishing the CIA. The CIA collects and analyzes intelligence and conducts covert operations at the behest of the President of the United States. The CIA's primary law enforcement and intelligence mission is to collect information about foreign governments, foreign individuals, and foreign corporation, and to provide credible information and advice to U.S. public policymakers. The CIA conducts covert both paramilitary actions and covert operations, and exerts a substantial amount of foreign political influence via its Special Activities Division. In 2004, both the structure of CIA and as responsibilities changed dramatically. Before December 2004, the CIA was the main intelligence collecting and analyzing organization for the US government; it oversaw and coordinated not only its own activities but the also those of nearly the entire US Intelligence Community (IC). The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act which was passed in late 2004 established the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which in turn took over a substantial amount of the US government and US Intelligence Community intellegence responsibilities. The DNI now manages the IC and consequently the entire intelligence cycle. The functions that moved from the CIA to the DNI include the preparation of estimates of the consolidated opinion of the 16 IC agencies as well as the preparation of briefings that are given to the President of the United States.
The CIA does not create foreign policy. It simply gathers intelligence for the President and the National Security Agency to develop policies. The CIA monitors the locations of nuclear and chemical weapons, terrorists, and drug cartels. In sum, the CIA gathers information about foreign countries to provide the US the ability to create sound domestic and foreign policy designed to protect the interests of the Unite States.
The CIA's factbook states their duties are to:
CIA Clandestine Services Agents
The CIA's Clandestine Service is considered the to be the domestic and international agency at the front-line of intelligence gathering on critical international developments, from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction to highly sensative political and military issues. As such, CIA missions frequently require clandestine service agents to live and work overseas for extended periods fo time, making a true career (and life) commitment to the Agency. Working as a CIA officer (a.k.a. "agent") in the clandestine services division is much more than just a typical job – it's a unique way of life that will challenge your personal intelligence, self-reliance and responsibility in ways that no other career will. The CIA's Clandestine Service Officers have very diverse backgrounds and life experiences, language capabilities, professional and educational histories, and other unique and qualifying attributes and characteristics that allow them to meet mission critical objectives.
Within the clandestine services arm of the CIA there are a number of career positions that fortunate candidates can choose from. These include the following:
CIA Special Agents, a.k.a. CIA Special Investigators, conduct high profile and extremely sensative inquiries into possible violations of U.S. laws, rules, and regulations; gross waste of funds; mismanagement; abuse of authority; or substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety within the CIA. Special Agents work independently and as members or leaders of investigative teams. Foreign travel opportunities as well as international assignments for CIA agents are very common. Position duties are similar to the Special Agent 1811 job series but the position does not come with the entire range of federal law enforcement authorities (nor pay and retirement benefits) found in the 1811 job series.
In addition to becoming an Agent in the clandestine services or CIA inspector general the CIA offers a myriad of career opportunities. To explore a complete selection of career opportunities with the CIA you can visit https://www.cia.gov/careers/index.html.
The Agency will evaluate a person's life experience and job related expertise when applying. Intelligence analysts, overseas officers, and other non-clerical employees must possess a bachelor's degree while a post graduate degree is preferred. Any specilized job related training will is advantageous.