The Work of a Nation

Components of the CIA

The CIA is separated into four basic components. These components work together to carry out the intelligence cycle—the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information to top U.S.Government officials.


DS provides the full range of integrated support services to the CIA. We build and operate facilities all over the world; we ensure secure and reliable communications over multiple networks; we run a supply chain that acquires and ships a huge range of critical, clandestine equipment to even the most remote corners of the globe; we secure our buildings, our people, our data and our networks; we help hire, train, and assign CIA officers for every job in the CIA; we provide medical services for our employees as well as for intelligence operations; and we manage the financial and contracting businesses within CIA. Our role is to ensure that our operations officers, our analysts, and our scientists are safe, secure, healthy, and fully able to carry on the CIA’s mission worldwide. Within DS, we have deep expertise and broad management skill…but our strength is our tradecraft—built through our years of experience, our passion for this work, and our unwavering commitment to CIA’s mission.



DI analyzes all sources of information to produce timely, accurate, and relevant intelligence that helps the President and others charged with protecting America and advancing U.S. interests make informed decisions. DI analysts use substantive expertise and a variety of sources and methods, including reports from spies, satellite photography, open source information, and sophisticated sensors, to overcome fragmentary reporting and our adversaries’ efforts to deceive and deny information. In addition, the DI employs structured analytic approaches to ensure DI analysis is rigorous, clear, free from bias, and explicit about information gaps that could change our analytic judgments. The work is demanding—some liken analysis to putting together a puzzle with many pieces missing from the box and pieces from other sets mixed in—but the mission of protecting America demands nothing less.

The DI’s flagship product is a daily electronic publication, the CIA World Intelligence Review (WIRe). Produced exclusively by the CIA, the WIRe is provided to senior policy and security officials to update readers on current developments and to identify trends and developments overseas that have the potential to affect U.S. interests. The analysis in this publication is always classified, reflecting the methods the U.S. used to acquire the information and the sensitivity of the topics. More than just a classified newspaper, the WIRe anticipates developments and makes projections about the future.

The DI also is the largest contributor to the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), an Intelligence Community daily product under the direction of the Director of National Intelligence. The PDB is tailored to address the key national security issues and concerns of interest to the President. Unlike the more broadly disseminated WIRe, the PDB is given only to the President, Vice President, and to those Cabinet-level officials the President designates as recipients.

In addition to writing for the WIRe and PDB, DI analysts frequently draft responses to individual policymakers’ specific questions, brief them on key policy issues, and support U.S. military operations. Analysts also share their findings through other classified publications such as webzines and blogs, and by their assignment outside CIA headquarters. Contrary to the traditional image of a desk-bound Washington-based analyst, DI officers serve around the world.

Perhaps less well known, the DI also publishes unclassified reference aids that are available to the public. The annual World Factbook is a comprehensive compendium of profiles on more than 260 countries and other entities that includes information on geographic, political, demographic, economic, and military issues. Chiefs of State and Cabinet Ministers of Foreign Governments is a directory of foreign government officials. To view these and other unclassified publications available to the public, please visit the Library section on the CIA web site at

Charlie Robot Fish
Charlie the robot fish.



DS&T accesses, collects, and exploits information to facilitate the execution of the Agency’s mission by applying innovative, scientific, engineering, and technical solutions to the most critical intelligence problems. The DS&T incorporates over 50 different disciplines ranging from computer programmers and engineers to scientists and analysts. The DS&T partners with many other organizations in the Intelligence Community using best practices to foster creative thinking and working level coordination. The DS&T continually seeks to push the boundaries of the state-of-the-art, infusing cutting-edge technologies with effective targeting and tradecraft.



NCS has responsibility for the collection and coordination of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence, primarily human source intelligence (HUMINT), as well as for the coordination of foreign intelligence liaison relationships. The NCS is the front-line source of clandestine intelligence on critical international developments ranging from terrorism and weapons proliferation to military and political issues. The NCS supports our country’s security and foreign policy interests by conducting and coordinating clandestine activities to collect information that is not obtainable through other means. The NCS engages in counterintelligence activities by protecting classified U.S. activities and institutions from penetration by hostile foreign organizations and individuals. Special activities as authorized by the President are carried out in support of U.S. policy goals.

In capacity as the National HUMINT manager, the D/CIA serves as the national authority for the coordination, de-confliction, and evaluation of clandestine HUMINT operations across the Intelligence Community, consistent with existing laws, executive orders, and interagency agreements and overall guidance of the DNI. The National Clandestine Service at CIA incorporated the former Directorate of Operations and is led by the Director of the National Clandestine Service (D/NCS) to whom the D/CIA delegates his day-to-day National HUMINT Manager responsibilities. The D/NCS sets policy and standards for highly diverse but interdependent human source and human-enabled activities. These include development and enforcement of common standards for training, tradecraft, and other HUMINT-related activities. The D/NCS also leads the coordination of tasking, budget resources, personnel policies, and information sharing, as appropriate. The NCS continues to enhance the Intelli-gence Community’s clandestine HUMINT capabilities and ensures a truly national clandestine HUMINT capability.

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Historical Document
Posted: Sep 10, 2009 10:23 AM
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2013 01:14 PM