The Role and Mission of the CIA Directorate of Support

The Directorate of Support (DS) within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ensures that all directorates of the CIA (the Directorate of Intelligence, the Directorate of Science and Technology, and the National Clandestine Service), the partners of the CIA across the Intelligence Community, and partnering government agencies are given the support needed to complete any intelligence mission.

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The DS offers both technical and non-technical support services and serves as the single point of coordination on all support matters. It is the job of the DS to:

  • Build and operate facilities, both domestically and overseas
  • Ensure the security and safety of people, data, and networks
  • Acquire and ship critical equipment
  • Hire, train and assign CIA employees
  • Oversee and manage the CIA’s financial services
  • Provide administrative support

The DS’s support disciplines have remained the same since its inception:

  • Acquisitions
  • Facilities
  • Finance
  • General support management
  • Logistics
  • Medical services
  • Personnel resources
  • Security


The Directorate of Support Team

The Directorate of Support serves as the behind-the-scenes arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. The employees of the DS provide the support necessary to ensure that the agency’s intelligence collectors and analysts are, according to the CIA, “focused, agile, integrated, and 100 percent reliable.”

In other words, the DS ensures that the officers and analysts of the CIA, whether working domestically or abroad, have everything they need to achieve mission success. The professionals of the DS work alongside mission colleagues from the Directorate of Intelligence, the Directorate of Science and Technology, and the National Clandestine Service to provide mission support.

DS officers are responsible for providing initial and ongoing support for each mission component and for ensuring that the broad spectrum of operational areas is up and running. DS officers must meet the challenge of performing their duties clandestinely and of always achieving the “first in, last out” support. Although DS officers are not a visible part of an intelligence mission, their work is nevertheless crucial for its success.

The Directorate of Support team must be able to handle the wide-reaching needs of any and all intelligence missions; therefore, the DS staff includes people with skills in everything from security and business systems to engineering, finance, and facilities management. In fact, this CIA agency component has no less than 100 distinct, occupational categories.

Some of the largest occupational groups within the DS include:

Security – Security officers within the DS are responsible for protecting the CIA’s workforce, information, operations, and facilities. Their work may occur domestically or overseas.

Facilities – Facilities officers ensure that the workplace for CIA employees is safe, secure, and functional.

Medical – The medical staff of the DS provides care to CIA employees and ensure that they are healthy, both mentally and physically. They are also called upon to oversee the CIA’s medical programs on a worldwide basis and ensure that employees are not subject to environmental hazards.

Finance – Finance officers are tasked with ensuring that the agency’s financial resources and resource management, such as employee compensation, budgets and auditing, are expertly handled.

Human Resources – Human resources and training officers are responsible for identifying qualified candidates, hiring them, and ensuring they complete all training program. They oversee employee compensation and benefits, develop plans and goals for the workforce, and support the needs of the CIA’s employees and their families.

Logistics – Logistic officers of the DS ensure that logistical support is managed on a daily basis. This may include the movement of people and equipment, the coordination of construction projects, or the execution of acquisitions.

The DS is divided into the following areas:

  • Security
  • Corporate Business
  • Medical Services
  • Personnel Resources
  • Global Services
  • Mission Integration


Careers with the Directorate of Support

Because of the sheer number of occupational groups within the DS, individuals from any number of backgrounds may be ideal for jobs within the DS.

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Support officers with the DS may work in any number of locations and in a number of positions. These professionals may choose to pursue an area of specialization or build their experience by coordinating support activities. It is common for support officers to rotate to new posts every few years, depending on their experience level and interests.

The DS also provides its employees with a number of training programs and opportunities, which may include internal courses and academic courses.

The Mahoney Center for Support Tradecraft and Leadership Development (MC), which serves as the DS’s career development hub, is designed to strengthen tradecraft skills for DS officers. As such, the MC develops and offers programs that support:

  • Leadership development
  • Career development
  • Diversity
  • Mentoring
  • Corporate training and development
  • Technical training and development

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