Careers & Internships


Paramilitary Operations Officer/Specialized Skills Officer

Work Schedule: Full Time
Salary: $62,556 – $103,639
Location: Washington, DC metropolitan area

The Directorate of Operations (DO) is a cadre of action- and results-oriented professionals who accept significant, demanding responsibilities and accountability for results. Paramilitary Operations Officers (PMOO) and Specialized Skills Officers (SSO) are distinct occupations in the DO, but together they play a unique role and provide unique capabilities in support of conventional and unconventional operations overseas.

Most DO officers, including PMOOs and SSOs, are hired at an entry level and train as they are expected to work--as one team. All DO officers begin their careers spending one to two years learning the foundations of clandestine operational tradecraft via classroom training, practical exercise, and on-the-job experience. PMOOs and SSOs must successfully complete foundational training as a DO Operations Officer.

In addition, PMOOs are required to successfully complete specialized training to prepare them for service in hazardous and austere environments overseas. SSOs transition into a career focused on operating and maintaining infrastructure necessary to facilitate and support missions conducted under CIA-unique authorities. SSOs serve primarily at CIA Headquarters, but have frequent opportunities for temporary duty travel and/or assignments abroad.

Minimum requirements include:

  • US citizenship at the time of application (dual national US citizens are eligible)
  • A four-year college/university degree from an accredited institution (applicants within one year of earning a four-year degree will be considered)
  • Ability to work both autonomously and as part of a team
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing work and training requirements
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to make decisions to meet existing conditions and mission requirements rather than relying on preset assumptions and goals

Competitive Paramilitary Operations Officer applicants have:

  • Military special operations or combat arms experience (ground, air or maritime)
  • Served in combat leadership positions
  • Willingness to serve in hazardous and austere environments overseas (previous foreign travel and foreign language is valued, but not required)

Competitive Specialized Skills Officer applicants have expertise or experience in:

  • Social communications, media, marketing, technology development, business, finance or legal
  • Military aviation and military/merchant maritime industries, military psychological operations, and/or information operations
  • Counterintelligence

Ready to Apply?

The hiring process for DO positions can take 12 months or longer to complete. All applicants must successfully complete a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview, and a comprehensive background investigation. To be considered suitable for CIA employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last twelve months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to twelve months ago is carefully evaluated during medical and security processing.

Applicants hired for DO positions join CIA with Contract Employee status. As a Contract Employee you will receive federal employee benefits, such as annual and sick leave, life and disability insurance, and healthcare insurance in the same manner as a Staff Employee in accordance with US Government regulations. Click here to view the full text of the contract agreement, including the terms for conversion from Contract Employee to Career Employee status (Paragraph 12).

The initial period of employment with the CIA for Contract Employees will be limited to the specified number of years. The CIA is not obligated to convert employees in this status from contract to staff either during the term of this contract or following the expiration of this contract.

The following items must be attached to your on-line application (PDF format only):

    • Unofficial transcripts for all degrees
    • Cover letter: please describe your knowledge, skills, abilities, and aspirations not evident from your resume, that make you a good candidate for the Directorate of Operations (1 page)
    • Qualifications Supplement -- in a separate PDF attachment address the following questions:
      • Why does a career in public service appeal to you (1 paragraph)
      • Why do you wish to work for the Directorate of Operations (1 paragraph)
      • Other than the Directorate of Operations, what other career options are of interest to you (1 paragraph)
      • Describe one thing from your academic, military, or professional background that has prepared you for success in the Directorate of Operations (1 paragraph)
      • Complete this thought: "I do my best work when..." (1 paragraph)
      • Describe a time when you did not succeed, professionally or academically, and what you learned from that experience (2 paragraphs)


All applicants must successfully complete a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview and an extensive background investigation. US citizenship is required.

To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last twelve months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to twelve months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing.

Important Notice: Friends, family, individuals, or organizations may be interested to learn that you are seeking employment with the CIA. Their interest, however, may not be benign or in your best interest. Once you reveal your interest you lose control of that information. We ask all applicants to exercise discretion and good judgment in disclosing your interest in a position with the CIA. You will receive further guidance on this topic as you proceed through your CIA employment processing.

To Apply:

If you are ready to apply, save this position (Directorate of Operations Paramilitary Operations Officer/Specialized Skills Officer) in the job cart. You can add up to four (4) positions. Job cart selections will only be retained during this site visit, so be sure to click “Apply Now” before closing the browser window. After clicking “Apply Now” you will be taken to the application account creation page. The positions will appear in the cart once you have created an account. DO NOT submit multiple applications; this will only slow the review of your application and delay processing. Please read the Application Instructions carefully before you begin the online application process.

Application Instructions

An equal opportunity employer and a drug-free work force.

Posted: May 12, 2009 11:45 AM
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2017 10:36 AM

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