Role and Mission of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) is responsible for analyzing the intelligence obtained by the special agents of the CIA. Through the collection of information, which may be at times, incomplete or even contradictory, the DI provides organized and analyzed intelligence that is then used in making U.S. policy decisions.

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It is the duty of the DI analysts to provide intelligence analysis on a “full range of national security and foreign policy issues” to the President of the United States, senior U.S. policymakers, and select members of the U.S. government in a timely, accurate and objective manner.

The DI was established in 1952 in an effort to provide national policymakers with intelligence and analysis from a variety of sources, such as foreign media, agent reports, and satellite photography, just to name a few. From the height of the Cold War to today’s global war on terrorism, the DI has played an important role in the nation’s crises and confrontations.

The Offices of the Directorate of Intelligence

The Directorate of Intelligence is comprised of 13 offices, all of which are designed to support the intelligence analysis mission. The offices are broken down as follows:

  • Three offices focus on policy, collection, and staff support
  • Six offices examine broad transnational issues
  • Four offices focus on regional, political, and economic issues

Counterintelligence Center Analysis Group: Focused on the identification and analysis of foreign intelligence groups or individuals who are against American groups, individuals and interests

Office of Asian Pacific, Latin American, and African Analysis: Focused on researching and studying the newest developments regarding developments in Latin America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa

Information Operations Center Analysis Group: Focused on the evaluation of threats to U.S. computer systems, particularly those that are linked to critical infrastructures

Office of Collection Strategies and Analysis: Focuses on comprehensive DI intelligence analysis

CIA Crimes and Narcotics Center: Focused in the collection and analysis of international narcotics trafficking and organized crime

CIA Weapons, Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center: Focused on intelligence support regarding the threat of foreign weapons

Office of Corporate Resources: Focused on providing support to the directorate regarding any number of issues, including facilities management, human resources, budgets, and contracts, to name a few

Office of Russian and European Analysis: Provides intelligence support to countries of “crucial importance” to the U.S., whether as allies or adversaries

Office of Iraq Analysis: Focused on the analysis of intelligence related to Iraq

Office of Terrorism Analysis: Serves as the analytic component of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center

Office of Transnational Issues: Provides functional expertise that allow for the assessment of both existing and emerging threats to U.S. national security

Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis: Focused on providing comprehensive and analytic support to countries in Middle Eastern and North Africa, as well as India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

Office of Policy Support: Provides customized intelligence analysis to a number of recipients, including law enforcement, military, and foreign liaisons

The DI also provides support to the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis, which provides education for new analysts, and the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, which examines organizations that use “religious ideology in attempt to change the existing political, social, or economic order.”

The Analysts of the Directorate of Intelligence

The analysts of the DI are responsible for protecting national security interests by assessing international developments and threats and how they may impact U.S. policies. The analysis of intelligence on developments occurring overseas allows our nation’s senior policymakers to make the most informed decisions regarding national security and defense.

The role of DI analysts is to develop “meaningful and useable” intelligence analysis from a number of sources. As such, they are often said to put together the pieces of a puzzle as to form a complete picture.

DI analyst positions include:

All new DI analysts with the CIA spend four months completing the Career Analyst Program, which provides a solid framework in analytic tradecraft and methods. Many new DI analysts spend the first few years of their career working in the 24/7 Operations Center, which serves as the CIA’s nerve center.

Analysts often continue their training through full-time academic or foreign language training, through an overseas tour in an embassy, or on assignment in a different substantive area. The DI offers a number of tailored, developmental programs to DI analysts on a competitive, limited basis. In most cases, analysts in the DI choose either an academic track or a management-focused track.

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Some analysts may pursue their DI career through the agency’s undergraduate internships, graduate fellowships, and minority student programs, and the CIA awards a limited number of scholarships through the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program. Candidates for the Intelligence Scholars Program must be United States citizens and they must be focusing their college program on a critical subject area.

The Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis provides career-long training to DI analysts. This program consists of specialized training in intelligence analysis, as well as a curriculum focused on the values and traditions of the CIA. The School for Intelligence Analysis provides study in foreign language, regional studies, and a number of core substantive issues that allow DI analysts to stay current on swiftly changing global and technological issues.

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