DA analysts have a variety of assignment options available and can take on a range of different challenges as part of their growth and development. All new analysts spend four months in the Career Analyst Program (CAP), where they receive a grounding in analytic tradecraft and methods. Some also can expect to spend part of their first two years serving a tour in the 24/7 Operations Center, the Agency’s nerve center.
From there, analysts can consider a number of options to deepen their expertise as intelligence professionals—an overseas tour in an Embassy, an assignment on a different substantive area, or full-time language or academic training. Tailored developmental programs that combine academic study, travel, or in-depth research on a country or topic also are available on a competitive, limited basis. In addition, analysts may consider assignments that broaden their knowledge of the intelligence business, such as a tour in a different part of CIA or in another agency within the Intelligence Community.
As an individual becomes more skilled in analytic tradecraft and builds substantive depth, assignment options include working at a policy agency, such as State Department or the Department of Defense. Officers have many opportunities to stretch their skills in more corporate assignments, such as teaching at the Kent School, working as a President’s Daily Brief editor or serving as a briefer to senior policymakers. Broadening assignments elsewhere in CIA—such as a tour on the Inspector General’s staff or in the Office of Congressional Affairs—also are options for more seasoned analysts. In addition, senior officers can opt to serve as DA or D/CIA representatives in overseas postings or at military commands.
All analysts who choose a career in the Agency have the option of remaining in the analytical track or can choose a path that leads to management responsibilities. Both choices offer challenging opportunities and similar rewards in terms of advancement. There usually are aspects of most assignments that build skills for either track, and analysts can explore their interest and aptitude for management through training and assignment opportunities after their first few years in the organization.