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Ask Molly: Opportunities for Veterans

November 24, 2020


A banner stating, "Ask Molly, Your CIA source on the inside, #AskMollyHale," with a graphic of a woman in a grey hat and outfit.

Dear Molly,

After several years of service with the U.S. military, I’ve decided to make the transition back to civilian life. I’m still very interested in serving my country and am wondering if my military background would be useful in a career with CIA? What kind of opportunities are there?

~A Veteran with More to Give

Dear A Veteran with More to Give,

Let me start by extending a most heartfelt thank you for your years of dedicated service. Thank you for defending our country, for protecting our people, and for committing yourself to a safer, more just world. While your military career may be coming to an end, you’re right that there are opportunities to continue your service, and we are so glad that you’ve thought of CIA.

CIA has a long history of working alongside our partners in the U.S. military. In fact, our predecessor organization—the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—once employed almost 13,000 people, with a ratio of about three-quarters military, one-quarter civilian. World War I hero General William “Wild Bill” Donovan led the OSS. Since then, 15 of CIA’s Directors have been veterans of the U.S. military. So the story of CIA begins—and continues—alongside the U.S. military and its Veterans.

A portrait of William J Donovan looking off to the left.

Portrait of OSS Director General William Donovan

I’m sure you can see where this is going, but just to be clear: yes, your past experiences in the military can absolutely be an asset to CIA. Veterans who work here come with rich experiences and knowledge that can’t be taught. Their understanding of global affairs, paired with a strong sense of service and duty, mean that they are ready to hit the ground running on day one. They are disciplined and know firsthand what we mean when we say “service-above-self.”

As for the opportunities available to veterans at CIA, it should be clear that there is no one job that best suits former members of the military. CIA needs to hire for varied and diverse skillsets. We need graphic designers and IT professionals just as much as we need translators and paramilitary officers. We need logistics professionals and cartographers just as much as we need analysts and operations officers. If you think there is one pedigree that distinguishes the average CIA officer, think again.

Take some time to browse through the many career fields available to you on our careers page. You can also visit the military transition page to learn more about the process, as well as some of the leave and service credits available. You can apply for positions on the website nine to 12 months prior to completing your military obligation.

Your service to the country doesn’t have to end with your military career. Officers at CIA share a common commitment to mission, service and sacrifice. I have no doubt you’ll find kindred spirits in service, duty and commitment here at CIA.  Oh, and we have a strong, employee-led Veterans organization, so you can count on having cake on your service’s birthday!

Hope to see you soon,

~ Molly

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