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Specialized Skills Officer

There are currently no openings for this position.
Please check back periodically as our hiring needs change.

At a Glance

  • Full time

  • Washington, DC metro area

  • Starting salary: $62,000 - $89,000* *Higher starting salary possible depending on experience level.

  • US citizenship required (dual national US citizens are eligible)

As a Specialized Skills Officer (SSO) for the CIA, you will join a cadre of results oriented professionals who accept significant responsibilities and embrace accountability for results. SSOs conduct and/or directly support CIA operations by leveraging technical skills in either specialized military fields and/or experience in media, communications, marketing, advertising, issue advocacy, crisis management, or technology development. These skills and experiences often include aviation, maritime, psychological operations, civil affairs and information operations. SSOs are a distinct occupation in the Directorate of Operations (DO) and play a unique role in support of intelligence operations for US policymakers, support to Covert Action programs at the direction of President of the United States, and facilitate CIA’s Covert Action infrastructure.

All DO officers are hired at an entry level and train as they are expected to work - as one team. 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. You must successfully complete this required foundational training.

SSOs serve primarily at CIA Headquarters, but there are frequent opportunities for temporary duty travel and/or assignments overseas.

This position requires a 5-year Contract Term Agreement. Learn more about the Contract Term Agreement.

Offices of the CIA – Directorate of Operations

The Directorate of Operations (DO) strengthens national security and foreign policy objectives through the clandestine collection of human intelligence (HUMINT), and by conducting covert action as directed by the President. Learn more about the Directorate of Operations.

See our work in action:

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Life at CIA

In addition to a comprehensive benefits package, the CIA offers exciting career opportunities and a dynamic environment. We're on the forefront of world-altering events – as they happen. So working here isn't just a job, it's a mindset and a lifestyle.

US citizenship required (dual-national US citizens eligible). All positions require relocation to the Washington, DC metro area.

Minimum Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (applicants within one year of earning a four year degree will be considered); there is no preferred major or program of study (degrees from foreign academic institutions are accepted, but you are responsible for obtaining and providing CIA with a credential evaluation from an accredited firm confirming that the foreign degree is the equivalent of a BA/BS and/or MA/MS degree conferred by a US college or university)
  • GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4-point scale is preferred
  • Personal integrity
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Action and results oriented
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team and independently
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and commitment to the mission of the CIA and the Directorate of Operations
Desired Qualifications:

Competitive Specialized Skills Officer applicants have knowledge and/or experience in any one of the following categories:

  • Social media, marketing, advertising, public relations, issue advocacy, crisis communication, or technology development
  • Business, finance, or legal fields
  • Military psychological operations and/or civil affairs
  • Merchant Marine/Commercial Maritime industries and/or military nautical experience
  • Commercial and/or military diving and underwater experience
  • Military aviation career fields such as:
    • Pilot (fixed wing, rotary wing, manned/unmanned)
    • Navigator
    • Flight engineer
    • Crew chief/mechanic
    • Maintenance
    • Avionics technician
    • Mission sensor operator
    • Forward air controller
    • Para-rescue
    • Special tactics squadron
    • Aviation foreign internal defense
  • Counterintelligence
All applicants must successfully complete:
  • A thorough medical and psychological exam
  • A polygraph interview
  • A comprehensive background investigation

To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing.

If you are ready to apply, add this position to your 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.

Important application instructions for this position:

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

  • 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)

At the time of application, DO applicants select specific DO occupational specialties (i.e. Collection Management Officer, Staff Operations Officer, Operations Officer,Targeting Officer). Competitive applicants will continue to be asked to identify their DO occupational specialty preference(s) at various stages in the hiring process. It is not unusual for applicants to adjust their preference as they progress and learn more about the expectations and requirements of each occupational specialty.

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.

watch video Watch the Application Process videos on a separate page.

An equal opportunity employer and a drug-free workforce.


Posted: May 30, 2019 04:03 PM
Last Updated: May 30, 2019 04:03 PM

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