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A message from one of our CLSAS Annual Conference Sponsors

Have you considered a career that uses your critical language expertise as well as your program management skills?  Did you know that CIA’s Directorate of Operations hires Staff Operations Officers to help protect our Nation by identifying potential issues before they become problems? These officers proactively seek out, evaluate, and develop mitigating strategies for stumbling blocks to our operations all over the world?  CIA’s success relies on the professional and educational diversity of its officers and our Staff Operations Officers are critical to the success of foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, cyber, and covert action operations. 


Testimonial A from a Staff Operations Officer (SOO):  I always enjoyed studying foreign languages, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to improve my language skills and deepen my cultural expertise with the support of the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). Following CLS, as an undergraduate I worked part time at CIA through the DO Internship program. This internship affirmed my goal to serve my country in the national security realm and, based on my experience learning how to drive operations and apply creative problem solving to mitigate risks, I decided to become a Staff Operations Officer (SOO) following graduation. As a SOO I have executed and advocated for CIA operations during fast-breaking situations where my language ability allowed CIA to quickly respond to emergent situations. I highly encourage those with an interest in languages and national security to apply to the SOO position. – Christopher, CIA Staff Operations Officer


Testimonial B from another SOO: My language skills have afforded me several unique opportunities as a Staff Operations Officer in the Directorate of Operations: 


While posted overseas, my team learned that a cyber target was struggling financially. Because we knew this type of target was prohibited from meeting U.S. personnel, we knew our approach required a native-speaker that had some knowledge of IT/cyber to get a chance at a connection. Given my IT degree, I was the only person in the office that could successfully speak about technical cyber terms in the native language. During the initial meeting, my language skills proved successful in piquing the interest of the target in having follow-on discussions.  Being able to utilize my language skills in this way led to an enduring relationship and the collection of sensitive information that we had not had access to for years.


In a separate instance, and based on my recorded third language test scores, I assisted an operation against a hard target in another country. I conducted an initial approach and held subsequent meetings leveraging my language skills and was successful in assessing whether the target would agree to provide confidential information to the US Government.


While assigned as the project manager (PM) for a separate hard target program, I assisted in the investigation of a money laundering scheme involving several adversarial intelligence officers.  I was able to leverage my language skills to serve as part of an interview team to collect additional information from suspects and contribute to the USG's overall investigation of this network. – Kelly, CIA Staff Operations Officer


If you are looking for an opportunity to have real impact in a professional organization that prioritizes enrichment of its officers and promotes a work-life balance, please visit for more information.

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