The CIA is divided into four teams, commonly referred to as directorates. When we’re assigned a major task, we break it down into small pieces. Each team works on a certain piece according to their area(s) of expertise. When the work is complete, the teams put together a big picture for analysis. It’s a proven way to work, taking advantage of the many diverse skills of our people.
Our four teams are:
- National Clandestine Service (NCS)
- Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T)
- Directorate of Intelligence (DI)
- Directorate of Support (DS)
The first two teams collect intelligence. The third analyzes the intelligence and writes finished papers about it. The fourth team provides support to ensure the whole process operates smoothly.
The NCS is probably the best known of these teams. NCS employees are often called spies; some NCS personnel go “undercover” abroad to collect foreign intelligence. They recruit “agents,” who help gather human intelligence (or, as we say, HUMINT).
These intelligence officers work to discover secrets that could affect US security. They operate secretly, and by themselves, to complete their missions. The work these brave intelligence officers do every day is not really like what you see in the movies, but there can be some challenging situations.
The DS&T is responsible for gathering intelligence covertly through electronic and satellite photography. This directorate also collects intelligence from radio and TV broadcasts, magazines, and newspapers – what we call open sources.
NCS and DS&T employees turn over all the information they gather to their teammates in the DI. These DI analysts interpret the intelligence and produce written reports, which are distributed to policymakers.
DS employees support their teammates in the other directorates by providing a diverse range of support. These critical support officers provide safety, supply necessary tools and training, hire new employees, help ensure employees’ health, and sustain and operate complicated communications equipment, among other jobs.
Together, our employees in these four talented teams make up the CIA. As you can see by some of the brief descriptions above, you can understand why it’s hard to generalize about our employees and all their skills and areas of expertise.