Dream job... CIA agent

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by usna2016, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. usna2016

    usna2016 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, so yesterday I watched one of my favorite films The Bourne Identity.
    I was checking out the CIA website, and the requirements for the clandestine service aren't impossible to meet.

    So I was thinking, graduate from Navy(learn as many languages as I can while I'm at it), do my time in the Marines and than try out for Langley.

    What you guys think?
     
  2. DMeix

    DMeix Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think you should re-evaluate your career decisions. One of the big things they (should) impress upon candidates is that if you're only joining to use the service as a springboard for some other job, you're in it for the wrong reasons. While a lot of people do go five-and-dive, the Academy is really looking for the people who intend to stay in for the long haul.

    I'm sure it looks great on resumes to have come from one of the academies, but if being in the CIA really is your 'dream job,' there are plenty of other paths for getting there. Don't inconvenience those around you, and don't make life miserable for yourself if there's something else you'd rather be doing.
     
  3. usna2016

    usna2016 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    It isnt my dream job, but It would definitely be a cool one. I mean, I'd be happy with anything. Subs, Surface, Flying, Marines anything would be amazing. I'm just wondering if that would be a plausible option.
     
  4. packermatt7

    packermatt7 USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    1
    Body of Lies is also a good movie.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,795
    Likes Received:
    930
    My cousin is very very high up (basically a 4 star gen equivalent, and so high that his actual title is classified). It took him many yrs of applying to get into the CIA. You will need to get at least a masters before entering. My cousin had a masters, ph.d and law degree before he was accepted. It took him 8 yrs to finally be accepted. Your military background will help, especially since you will have a security clearance.

    I also do agree, the acknowledgement of doing a five and dive before you enter does grate on many people, since many applicants want to do 20, and then they don't get accepted, but the person who states I intend to do my time and leave does, it is upsetting to them. People do the 5 and dive alot, but there is a difference of knowing that is your intention at BCT and 9 yrs later after BCT, you decide you have had enough
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,338
    Likes Received:
    1,803
    "The Agencies" actively recruit junior officers departing active duty: college education, security clearances, active lifestyle, concept of duty, fitness for goverment service -- exactly what they are looking for. I've known several Navy and Marine O-3's go to the FBI, CIA, Foreign Service, Homeland Security, etc. A career as a military officer is a solid foundation for civilian careers in both government and business.

    The military manpower system is designed to accommodate shedding people along the way, SA's included. Over 1000 will come in on I-Day, and peel-offs begin that summer and continue for various reasons until graduation. Once on active duty, most will complete their service obligation. A certain percentage are expected to move on to other things after year 5 or whatever the particular obligated service point is, depending on warfare specialty. The winnowing continues at every promotion juncture; the number of officers at every grade level is controlled by law. Manpower modeling analysis underlies all the staffing and promotion decisions in the services, determining everything from intake numbers at commissioning points to promotion numbers each year.

    That said, since USNA and the subsequent obligation will take up almost the next 10 years of your life, your primary focus should be on serving in the Navy or Marine Corps with commitment and desire. Be open to all the ways your military career could unfold, including a long and rewarding career in uniform. Retiring after 20-26 years of active duty, you are not teetering on the edge of the grave just yet and can go on to another career as a civilian. At the point after your initial obligation where you evaluate staying or going, junior officers have a range of employment opportunities.

    It's good to have mid and long-range goals, but don't look so far ahead you don't clearly see the path most immediately in front of you. Dmeix' post is on point.

    Lastly, the mission of the Naval Academy. "To develop Midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to graduate leaders who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government." The focus is on producing leaders of the highest caliber who have the potential for a career in the naval service, but the window is open for continuing that leadership out of uniform.

    Just MHO... always good to have dreams and look ahead while being firmly rooted in the present.
     
  7. Bombtrack

    Bombtrack Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    2
    I doubt you'll be able to do the 5 years and just try for CIA since they say you must be at least 35 (waivers available) so I'd shoot for serving 10+ years in Marines as a proficient officer, then start applying. I think it would be pretty awesome working for the CIA, except I'd hate to go through polygraph testing. It just feels like a huge violation of my constitutional rights.
     
  8. 2012Cadet

    2012Cadet Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've heard of that guy (Billy Waugh) who served in SF and retired and went to the CIA and worked there at a late age(70s+)...how plausible is it to join CIA after retire full career in Army (i.e.30+ years if I started at 22 so I would be 52 at time) and do this (I would like to be a paramilitary officer or case officer, but could do less physically demanding jobs like intel or R&D)?
     
  9. LongGreyLine Hopeful

    LongGreyLine Hopeful Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    0

    Not entirely. While it may be difficult; it is certainly not out of the question. From the looks of it (on their/ the CIA's website) it states, "The 35-year maximum age requirement could be waived on a case-by-case basis."; it looks as if it is the exact opposite. If I'm reading this correctly they're stating that someone over the age of 35 will most likely require a waiver to be selected for hire. So what it looks like to me is that while the more gold stars to your resume i.e. (Masters, PhD, law degree, etc.) which would allow for quicker promotions/better assignments; you might look appealing as well if you have say retirement at O-3 if you decide to leave, an appropriate bachelors degree, and whatever add ons,accomplishments,school completions, and tour completions you may have.

    Now, as for you attending a service academy and the possibility of a five and fly. I would have to agree with both Pima and Capt MJ.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I suggest after graduating from the academy, that you try and get a military job in something similar to the OSI or CID. Also; major in criminal justice, poly-sci, etc... Languages are also good. Then, you can build up a resume doing work that is similar to what you are applying for.
     
  11. justawife

    justawife Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    My spouse now works for the DNI, has lots of contact with folks who are current and ex-CIA. Went to a christmas party that was a Marine officer married to a agent. (yes they met on the job) Most of the people I have met that are working for the CIA were ex-military, they were adding their military time to their agency time toward federal retirement.

    These guys were mainly analyst, they did have skills, but were desk jockeys. They too leave to become beltway bandits (making 100K plus). Their skills are used through industry, ex-agents are rarely unemployed. They don't tell people that they work for the CIA.

    I have toured the CIA, my son. He won a science fair award, the prize was a tour of the place. They spoke to the high schoolers about becoming CIA employees, they made it sound like a long processes 14 months. They really want science majors.

    One the boys on the golf team with my son did not go to college, he really had academic issues, but had done votech stuff in HS. Right after HS he applied to work there as worker bee. Something along the lines as working in the print shop....19 months and three polys later he was hired.
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,747
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    I think Bourne Identity isn't the most accurate depiction of the CIA.....and a old CIA friend I had would agree with that.

    NSA....FBI......just understand with all of those jobs, there is some cubicle time, all that nasty, boring paper work. Unfortunately you can't jump from building to building breaking bad guy necks all the time.

    Prior service does get a boost when applying for federal positions.
     
  13. blackbelt19906

    blackbelt19906 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my opinion its not really a five and dive if you still stay with the government but thats just my opinion... But if you wanted to stay in the Marines as a career I would suggest you look into the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) it is kinda like the military version of the CIA. If you do decide to go with the CIA I would suggest you try and know at least 3 languages (and one has got to be a Middle Eastern language)... best of luck to w.e u choose to do

    Go Army, Beat Navy!!!!!!!!!
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,747
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    It's 5 and dive for that organization your leaving. True, you're still serving the same country, but whatever branch you were serving in is no longer getting a return on their investment.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,795
    Likes Received:
    930
    Currently Bullet and I know a pilot for the CIA...yes, the CIA has their own planes too! He did 20 yrs in the AF and decided to fly with the CIA instead of being a bus driver in the sky! So the 35 yr old max could be waived. This guy was at least 43 when they hired him last yr. Another frind is in the process of applying as a pilot for them.

    Due to our family connection, the one I wrote about earlier, had Bullet place in his paperwork when he was retiring for a job. It was never Bullet's cup of tea so he never pushed it any further, however, Bullet was 44 when they approached him to join their team. Also as JustaWife stated the pay is not as competitive upon entering as it is to be a beltway bandit.

    The true beauty about the CIA is you can retire after 30 yrs, with 75% of your pay, and if you are high up enough you can go into consulting and make the big bucks. My cousin will be retiring at 58, with 75% of his pay (he is the equivalent of a 4 star, so his retirement pay is close to 10K a month). He has consulting jobs already lined up. He will work approximately 8 days a month and make $40K. His fee is $5K a day. Not bad! Just realize that is not for everybody, he is highly demanded, especially these days. In the family we have no idea what he does, but the jewelry my cousin has gives us a big clue on where his fortay is...she has cartuche necklace, cartuche bracelet and an enamel prayer ball pendent. Want to guess where he goes on TDY?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  16. Bombtrack

    Bombtrack Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    2
    You're right, I misread that.
     
  17. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,499
    Likes Received:
    447
    First of all, I don't believe any of the SAs has a major in "criminal justice."

    Second, in the military, you do what you're assigned to do; it's hard to "build a resume" doing CIA-type work other than if you go Intel and that's not an option directly out of USNA at least unless you're NPQ; may be an option from the other SAs.

    Third, most people working for the CIA are not operatives; rather they are analysts that sit in offices reading reports and writing reports.

    Fourth and finally, I had a colleague who was accepted to the CIA DOO (the ones who do the field work). Recognize that your first assignment will likely be a 3rd world country. In his case, he was recently married and wanted a family -- and didn't want them to have to live in the backwater. So he turned it down.

    If the CIA is your goal, there are other -- and probably easier -- ways to get there other than going to a SA. As the others have said, you attend a SA to serve in the military; using it as a stepping stone is a very painful way to spend 9+ years of your life.
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    4,963
    Likes Received:
    872
    I agree that there are a lot of ways to get to the CIA if that is your goal. But if you want to get into the clandestine type jobs, it would help your resume to have international/inter-agency type jobs as part of your resume if you can. If you want to work as an analyst or support, then try and get a job/degree in those areas. And as far as a different route because go to an SA "SHOULD" be more about serving your country; I consider the CIA, FBI, HS, etc... as being part of the "Same Team". So I find it totally acceptable to use the academy as a stepping stone to the CIA. And I don't see it as a 9+ years as a painful means. Mainly, because 4 of those years is still college, no matter how you look at it. The difference is instead of being 23 years old out of college and applying to the CIA or whatever; you'll be 28 years old with work experience behind you, as well as a security clearance and travel. But again; I see the CIA as part of the same team, so I think moving from a military career to the CIA to be a lateral and logical transition.
     
  19. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,295
    Likes Received:
    129
    USAFA does have a law/legal studies major.
     
  20. wannabe2013

    wannabe2013 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't think you could do paramilitary at 52 and its not really a cake-walk being allowed to do 30 years in the military. They kick you out if you don't get promoted and 30 years would put you up in the 3- 4-star range (i.e. VERY competitive). However, you can retire after 20 years with half-pay and you would only be 43-ish and in the O-5 O-6 range.
     

Share This Page