Hawaii’s proximity to the Pacific Rim has long made it a vital site for U.S. intelligence efforts. The predecessor of the CIA—the OSS—worked with other federal agencies to monitor radio transmissions during WW II. Part of their wide-ranging efforts was to identify surreptitious communications with Japanese submarines.
The attack of Pearl Harbor showed how vulnerable the islands are to attack. These concerns continue to this day, and information from the CIA is used in developing National Intelligence Estimates presented to Congress about the threat of attacks on Hawaii from ballistic missiles such as those produced by North Korea.
Requirements for Joining the CIA National Clandestine Service in Hawaii
The CIA’s National Clandestine Service in Hawaii has two entry-level positions available for candidates interested in a career as a Core Collector: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) and the Clandestine Service Program (CST).
- Professional Trainee Program (PT)
A position designed for applicants between 21 and 25 years old who have a Bachelor’s degree. Candidates are not required to have prior work experience.
- Clandestine Service Program (CST)
A position designed for applicants between 26 and 35 years old who have a Bachelor’s degree, as well as applicable work and/or military experience.
Candidates must be fluent in a second language. It is also necessary for applicants to have previous residency in a foreign country or foreign travel experience and cross-cultural sensitivity.
Candidates are required to participate in two personal interviews, as well as have a medical and psychological exam, pass an extensive background check and take a polygraph test.
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Bachelor’s or Master’s degree
Preferred fields of study include:
- Chemical or biological engineering
- International Business or Relations
- Nuclear or Physical Science
- Quick thinking ability
- Superior writing and reading skills
- Ability to work independently or as part of a team
- A strong interest in international affairs
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Requirements for Becoming a CIA Agent in Hawaii
The CIA requires that those applying for jobs as special agents have a high degree of experience in performing criminal investigations. They require three years of experience in this area. Additional requirements include having a bachelor’s degree and not having used illegal drugs in the past year. Past drug use is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Applicants should possess management and communication skills to qualify to become special agents. They need to be able to work both in teams and individually and possess a high level of discretion and tact. Additional skills required include the ability to prioritize multiple projects and being able to interact effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds.
Specialized training in criminal investigations is required for those beginning their careers as special agents. The CIA prefers that applicants have already taken part in the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Recruits that do not have this training will have to go through the CITP program to be able to work as special agents for the CIA.
CITP training covers the wide breadth of skills required to effectively investigate crimes. Trainees take a number of academic and practical courses to learn these skills. They also take part in task force teams that investigate cases. This covers everything from conducting surveillance to obtaining warrants. Graduates of this program are well equipped to carry out their duties as special agents.
The CIA and Hawaii’s Cold War History
The deep ocean seabed around Hawaii proved to be a goldmine for U.S. intelligence efforts during the Cold War. CIA agents led the recovery efforts in 1970 to obtain a sunken Soviet submarine that contained three nuclear missiles. The Soviets had failed in their efforts to find it, but the U.S. was able to locate the sub and recovered part of it in an operation known as Project AZORIAN.
The CIA used a cover story of a ship called the Glomar that Howard Hughes ostensibly used for deep-sea mining. The submarine broke apart as it was being lifted to the surface, but the Glomar crew was able to recover part of it. Identifying and recovering a piece of this submarine was considered to be one of the greatest intelligence coups of that period.