Is That Really Necessary?

In the Fall of 2019, Douglas sat down with students from Stanford University to discuss career opportunities at the Central Intelligence Agency. The students asked Doug to share his opinions on the top five skills necessary for the Case Officer (Operations Officer) career track. Doug shared his insights based upon his personal experiences — while the following is how the CIA describes Doug’s position on their website

“As an Operations Officer for the CIA, you will focus on clandestinely spotting, assessing, developing, recruiting, and handling non-US citizens with access to foreign intelligence vital to US foreign policy and national security decision makers. You will be expected to build relationships based on rapport and trust using sound judgment, integrity, and the ability to assess character and motivation. Operation Officers spend most of their careers serving in multi-year assignments in a variety of overseas locations.

As such, all Operation Officers must be able to be medically cleared for world wide deployment. All Operations Officers address a highly diverse and dynamic set of intelligence requirements on country- and region-specific issues, as well as transnational issues such as counterterrorism, counter proliferation, and cyber. All Directorate of Operations (DO) officers are hired at an entry level and train as they are expected to work – as one team.

Operations Officers begin their careers spending one to two years learning the foundations of clandestine operational tradecraft via classroom training, practical exercises, and on-the-job experience gained through a series of interim assignments. Following successful completion of the foundational training, each DO officer will transition into advanced training activity to prepare them to serve effectively in their respective career occupational specialty.”