How to Become a Targeting Analyst with the Central
Intelligence Agency

Targeting analysts within the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence are responsible for ensuring that all of the Intelligence Community’s technical capabilities are maximized and all resources are focused on taking down key figures within foreign organizations that pose a threat to U.S. interests.

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The concept of target analysis is to examine potential targets and determine their significance or importance. The information gleaned through this process is then used by policymakers and military officials when determining or prioritizing a plan of attack.

It is up to the target analyst to ensure that all of the available resources are properly utilized and employed to achieve the best outcome. In other words, targeting analysts bring together the areas of analysis and operations to ensure that the CIA’s resources are being utilized to their full potential.

CIA Targeting Analyst Job Description

These professional may focus on a specific region of the world or on a specific, functional topic, such as: narcotics trafficking, counterintelligence, weapons proliferation, terrorism, and cyber threats.

Just a few of the major responsibilities of targeting analysts include:

  • Evaluating the risks and benefits of planned actions or operations
  • Identifying opportunities to disrupt or dismantle illicit organizations and the individuals who control them
  • Producing any number of intelligence products for both short- and long-term goals
  • Providing analytic support to U.S. policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and military officials
  • Utilizing datasets, network analysis techniques and specialized tools to identify and analyze significant threats

Typical job duties of targeting analysts include: reviewing, evaluating, and integrating data from multiple sources; developing analytical reports, briefs, and studies. They must identify information or intelligence gaps and develop information collection requirements, tools and methodologies to fill those gaps.

Targeting analysts use a combination of CIA intelligence sources to identify their targets, including:

  • Signals intelligence
  • Imagery intelligence
  • Measurement and Signature Intelligence
  • Human-Source Intelligence
  • Open-Source Intelligence
    • Geospatial Intelligence
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Qualifications for a Career in Targeting Analysis

Individuals interested in achieving targeting analyst jobs with the CIA must be United States citizens and they must not have used illegal drugs within the past 12 months. Further, all candidates for CIA careers must successfully pass a medical examination, a psychological evaluation, a background investigation, and a polygraph examination.

Minimum education requirements for targeting analyst jobs with the CIA include a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the following:

  • International relations
  • Foreign area study
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction technologies
  • Proliferation
  • National security studies
  • Political science
  • International trade
  • Economics
  • Business
  • Computer science
  • Engineering
  • Finance

Individuals must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate program to be considered for a targeting analyst job with the CIA. Preferred candidates will have foreign language proficiency, a high GPA, relevant experience, and strong verbal and written skills.

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Further, candidates who have a high GPA in intelligence analysis, network analysis or stateless organizations are considered competitive candidates for targeting analyst jobs with the CIA.

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