Since the days of the Cold War, our nation’s top intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been collecting and analyzing information that may affect our nation’s safety and security. And, although the Cold War may be over now, foreign espionage certainly isn’t. FBI officials recently named Huntsville as a major target for foreign nationals working to obtain classified information.
Alabama is also home to a number of military and aerospace centers. CIA agents and their federal partners are tasked with protecting our nation’s critical assets and the technological secrets housed in these facilities. News of foreign espionage and spying in Alabama came after a recent press conference that alerted authorities to “suspicious access to potential secrets” at two NASA centers in other parts of the country. Although the FBI or CIA won’t confirm spy activity at either NASA or Army installations, or at the Redstone Arsenal, the FBI did say that the agency has a “dedicated agent” in the area who works with classified defense contractors and fellow government agencies.
How to Become a CIA Core Collector in Alabama
Alabama candidates interested in a Core Collector career with the National Clandestine Service with the CIA can apply for a position in one of two entry-level programs matched to their qualifications: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) and the Clandestine Service Program (CST).
- PT Program
Applicants falling in the 21 to 25 year old range who have at least a Bachelor’s degree and no previous work experience are encouraged to apply.
- CST Program
Applicants between 26 and 35 years old who have a Bachelor’s degree and previous work or military experience are encouraged to apply.
All applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree, or higher, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Applicants with degrees in biological or chemical engineering, economics, finance, global business relations, nuclear or physical science are preferred.
To be considered, applicants need previous history in international residency, knowledge of foreign countries and a proficiency in specific foreign languages. Candidates fluent in Russian, Somali, Turkish, Arabic, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Pashto, Chinese, Dari Persian, and Urdu are given special consideration.
Qualified candidates are required to undergo two interviews to begin the employment process.
Applicants must also pass an extensive background check, as well as agree to a medical examination, polygraph and psychological evaluation.
Any illegal drug use in the previous 12 months automatically disqualifies a candidate from consideration.
Become a Special Agent with the CIA
Minimum Requirements for Employment – Individuals who want to learn how to become a CIA special agent/ investigator will be called upon to conduct sensitive and high-profile inquiries into a number of issues involving foreign affairs and intelligence. These highly skilled professionals are investigative agents who may work independently or in an investigative team.
CIA agents must be United States citizens, and they must be residing in the United States, the agency does not accept any information or engage in communications with individuals outside of the United States for security reasons.
Candidates must possess, at a minimum:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Three years of criminal investigative experience that is focused on complex matters
The CIA does not require specific bachelor’s degree majors; however, they highly recommend that applicants have a history of superior academic excellence. In fact, applicants without a minimum GPA of 3.0 are generally not considered as potential candidates for CIA agent jobs. Some of the most common areas of study for individuals interested in becoming a CIA agent in Alabama include:
- Criminal justice
- Forensic psychology
- Homeland Security
However, the CIA also looks for individuals with diverse and varied backgrounds; therefore, individuals with college degrees in engineering, technology, science, foreign language, or administration are often sought out by this federal agency.
The Employment Process – Applying for a job as a CIA agent in Alabama requires the completion of an online application. Applicants are required to provide the agency with information regarding their background, their expertise, their work history, and their education. Individuals may also provide the CIA with information regarding any:
- Certifications or licenses
- Foreign area knowledge
- Military experience
- Foreign languages (and their proficiency level)
The CIA also requires candidates for CIA agent jobs in Alabama to complete a personnel evaluation form (PEF), which is used for obtaining more information about the candidate through a security clearance, background investigation, polygraph, military issues, and employment issues. Any criminal convictions, violations of the law, drug use and activity, and delinquent federal debt may be uncovered during this process.
The Training Process – Training to become a CIA agent in Alabama is both rigorous and extensive. Before beginning the CIA training process, candidates must complete the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Completing the CITP is a condition of employment with the CIA.
Alabama’s Relevance to the Central Intelligence Agency
Alabama’s export-based economy is near-record setting, with $19.3 billion worth of goods shipped to other countries in 2013 alone. Frequent and significant exports to foreign countries is always a monitored activity, and CIA agents are often called upon to conduct inquiries into violations of laws, rules and regulations, as well as mismanagement and gross waste of funds.
Alabama’s exports of transportation equipment and parts accounted for the biggest share of Alabama exports, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce, with this market accounting for $8.3 of the total in 2013, an 8.6 percent increase from the previous year. The Alabama Department of Commerce also reported that exports of Alabama-produced motor vehicles increased 113 percent from 2009 to 2011, making this state third in the nation for car production, just behind Michigan and South Carolina.
State auto exports now include Russia, Peru, Colombia, Chile, China, and Panama, just to name a few. In fact, in 2013, vehicles and parts exported from Alabama factories were sent to more than 100 countries.