The Intelligence collection analysts of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) target the CIA’s most difficult intelligence challenges and solve them in innovative ways as to “drive the flow of intelligence.” Through the collection of intelligence, they provide U.S. policymakers and analysts with the information needed to understand crises or national security threats.
Their work involves the collection of intelligence; therefore they focus their efforts on:
- Intelligence collection systems
- Intelligence collection capabilities
- Intelligence collection processes
- Intelligence collection policies
Intelligence collection analysts collaborate with a number of other analysts and collectors throughout the Intelligence Community, which allow them to identify any gaps in intelligence and develop strategies to close these gaps. These CIA professionals must produce written briefings that detail their findings to U.S. policymakers.
Intelligence collection analysts also seek to develop current collection systems and acquire new collection systems that represent the interests of the CIA. Intelligence collection analysts also partner and collaborate with other collection professionals in intelligence collection strategy forums and sensitive collection programs.
Understanding the Process of Intelligence Collection
Intelligence is said to be the fuel on which the Intelligence Community operates. And the first part of the intelligence process involves its collection. In fact, everything and everyone in the process depends on the collection of intelligence.
Intelligence collection analysts of the CIA are therefore responsible for ensuring the successful collection of all relevant intelligence, which is then used to produce the finished intelligence reports that are provided to U.S. policymakers when making crucial decisions.
Intelligence collection analysts may focus their efforts on any number of avenues when it comes to the acquisition of raw intelligence, including:
- Signals intelligence – Involves the interception of signals between people or machines
- Imagery intelligence – Involves obtaining information using radar and infrared sensors, lasers, and visual photograph, just to name a few
- Measurement and Signature Intelligence – Involves using scientific and technical intelligence information to locate and identify the special characteristics of specific targets; this may include nuclear, acoustics, seismic, optical, or materials sciences
- Human-Source Intelligence – Involves the collection of intelligence from human sources
- Open-Source Intelligence – Involves obtaining intelligence form publicly available information, such as television, newspapers, the Internet, or commercial databases, just to name a few
- Geospatial Intelligence – Involves imagery and mapping data gathered from commercial and government satellites, commercial databases, census information, or GPS
Requirements for CIA Intelligence Collection Analyst Careers
Only those individuals with the highest credentials are eligible to become intelligence collection analysts with the CIA. Specifically, applicants for careers in intelligence collection analysis must be United States citizens, and they must hold a bachelor or master’s degree (with a minimum 3.0 GPA) in a program related to the intelligence community, such as:
- Geography library science
- Remote sensing
- International studies
- National security
- Political science
The most competitive candidates for these CIA jobs will have higher GPAs, strong presentation skills, strong writing skills, experience in data collection, and a foreign language proficiency. Other requirements for intelligence collection analyst jobs with the CIA include:
- Excellent problem-solving skills
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Excellent briefing skills
- The ability to convey complex information in a clear and concise manner
- Well-versed in computers, including complex databases
Candidates for intelligence collection analyst careers with the CIA must also be able to complete the Agency’s rigorous pre-employment process, which includes successfully completing a medical and psychological examination, a polygraph exam, and a complete and thorough background investigation.