Working for the Central Intelligence Agency is an exciting and rewarding prospect but it is also a very demanding one. Within the CIA there exist a number of divisions that constitute the sum of the CIA’s individual parts. One of these divisions is the National Clandestine Service, or NCS. The NCS Language Officer is an essential and dynamic component of the Service and involves offering language related support to the Service team in particular and to the overall Agency in general.
The NCS Language Officer is essentially a high-profile and analytical foreign language interpreter. This person is responsible for utilizing advanced foreign language capabilities and experience in translation and interpretation in order to provide support to various CIA operations. Additionally, the Language Officer works closely with field agents and other NCS officers and provides them with insight into the culture and customs of a particular region. This insight helps field agents to more efficiently perform reconnaissance and intelligence gathering duties.
There are myriad international travel opportunities inherent to the job of a Language Officer in the NCS as well as tremendous potential for career growth. The minimum requirements for appointment to this position are fairly rigid. They include:
- Fluency at or near the native level in a foreign language is a must. Rarely do the language requirements involve the typical Spanish, German, French, or Italian. More often the position calls for fluency in Eastern and Middle Eastern languages such as Arabic, Korean, Russian, Pashto, Somali, or Persian, to name a few.
- A minimum of a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree in a field like international studies as well as a sincere and passionate interest in international affairs.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills and personal and professional commitment to the Agency and to the missions to which the Officer is assigned are also required.