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DCS Case Officers are highly motivated individuals with diverse education and professional backgrounds who leverage their defense experience into a rewarding career supporting the military and defending our nation. These officers must possess the highest possible ethical standards, strong interpersonal skills, foreign language capabilities, and an affinity for diverse cultures.
Highly qualified candidates have extensive overseas experience, significant positive contact with foreign cultures, strong foreign language skills (preferably in critical languages), a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, the ability to think critically, and the ability to deal effectively with individuals at all levels—often in rapidly changing situations.
Do you have what it takes to become a DCS Case Officer? Do you
- Naturally develop strong human relationships and empathize with others?
- Have a strong desire to live overseas and immerse yourself in foreign cultures?
- Have the personal integrity and moral compass to serve the nation in challenging ethical environments?
- Communicate clearly both verbally and in writing?
- Enjoy complex challenges and thrive working in stressful environments?
- Want to serve alongside the military and USG partners?
- Want to make a significant contribution to national security?
- Have the strength to serve and excel without getting public recognition?
Candidates must be U.S. citizens in order to be considered for employment. Language abilities, overseas experience and military service with an honorable discharge are highly desired. To be considered suitable for federal employment, an applicant must not have recently used illegal drugs; any use will be carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing. In addition, certain criminal activities would be a disqualifier.
- DIA/DCS General FAQs
- General Agency Requirements
- Application Process
- Life as a Case Officer with DCS
What is the difference between DIA and CIA?
Both the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are U.S. Government agencies tasked with collecting, analyzing and disseminating intelligence. The primary difference lies in each organization's customer base. While CIA focuses on providing national security intelligence, DIA's primary mission as a combat support agency is to support the warfighter. DIA is a major producer and manager of foreign military intelligence to warfighters, defense policymakers and planners in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community in support of U.S. military planning, operations and weapons systems acquisition.
What types of education and/or special skills does DIA/DCS look for in prospective candidates?
Highly skilled candidates possess solid interpersonal, organizational and communication skills including the ability to write effectively in English. Highly desired factors include foreign area knowledge, foreign travel, prior overseas employment, military experience, and overseas residency and socio-cultural experience. Competitive candidates will have fluency in one or more foreign languages and the ability to work and thrive in highly stressful situations. The ability to "think on one's feet," either individually or as part of a team, are critical to a Case Officer's success.
DIA/DCS is actively recruiting candidates with academic backgrounds in international relations, governance, economics, international business, finance, physical science, computer science or nuclear, biological or chemical engineering.
What languages will make me competitive for a job with DIA/DCS?
DIA/DCS is actively recruiting candidates who speak one or more foreign languages; however, the following languages are highly desired: Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Dari, Hindi, Turkish, Tajik, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency?
Yes, you must be a citizen of the United States when you apply to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Furthermore, in order to receive an appointment within DIA/DCS, your spouse must also be a U.S. citizen. Please note that DIA does not assist individuals in applying for U.S. citizenship.
If I don't have a degree, will experience count?
Having an undergraduate degree is not mandatory but is highly recommended. Military service and life experience are taken into consideration. However, for positions in clandestine collection and analysis, competitive candidates usually possess a college degree, preferably an advanced degree, and relevant overseas experience.
Do I have to have an active security clearance to apply?
No. Applicants do not need to have a security clearance to apply. As a condition of hire with DIA/DCS, perspective personnel must undergo a special security background investigation. This process will be initiated when candidates successfully advance in the application process.
Do I have to speak a foreign language?
Proficiency in a foreign language is not required; however, it is highly desired.
What if I used drugs or still use drugs? Will this disqualify me from employment?
To be considered for employment with DIA/DCS, candidates must not have used illegal drugs within the past 12 months. During the security screening, applicants' drug use history will be carefully evaluated. Drug abuse is one of the common reasons applicants are denied a security clearance.
Does DIA recognize former military service (Veterans' Preference)?
Yes. Applicants claiming veterans' preference must clearly identify their claim on the application and resume and submit supporting documentation. Applicants claiming 5-Point Preference must submit a copy of their DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty or other documentation that supports their claim. Applicants claiming 10-Point Veterans' Preference must submit a DD-214 and Standard Form 15, Application for 10-Point preference, as well as supporting documentation indicated on the form. Lack of supporting documentation will result in DIA's inability to recognize veteran status for the announcement to which the individual is applying.
I am a student and am interested in pursuing a career with the Defense Clandestine Service. Which courses or major fields should I study?
The DIA/DCS mission is diverse and our employees possess a broad range of academic skills and experience. Degrees of interest include, but are not limited to: international relations, government, foreign language, economics, international business, finance, physical science, computer science or nuclear, biological or chemical engineering. Study abroad programs are highly recommended.
What types of student programs does DIA offer?
DIA offers a variety of student programs including Academic Semester and Summer Internships as well as undergraduate and graduate cooperative programs and undergraduate training assistance programs. For additional information, please refer to DIA's Student Programs page.
How do I apply for a position with DIA/DCS?
Vacancy announcements for IO/HUMINT Collection will be open quarterly. To apply, complete an application for the IO/HUMINT Collection vacancy announcement at diajobs.dia.mil.
What actions will disqualify me from consideration for employment with DIA?
There are specific elements that will automatically disqualify you from consideration for employment with DIA. These employment disqualifiers include:
- Conviction of a felony
- Use of illegal drugs within the past year
- Excessive, unsecured debt
- Default of a student loan (insured by the U.S. Government)
- Failure to register with the Selective Service System (for males only)
I submitted my resume over 120 days ago and I haven't heard anything. Am I still being considered?
Our goal is to respond to each applicant within three months. However, DIA receives thousands of resumes each month and, unfortunately, we are not able to contact everyone within that timeframe. If you have not heard from us in 120 days, you are likely no longer being considered for employment.
How long does the application process take?
The application process is quite lengthy due to DIA's unique security requirements including an extensive background investigation and series of in-depth interviews. Depending upon an applicant's specific circumstances, the process can take anywhere from four months to two years. Be prepared to undergo a thorough background investigation examining your life's history, your character, trustworthiness, reliability, and soundness of judgment.
I submitted my application online. Should I follow up with a phone call or paper copy?
The online submission process is designed to provide the applicant with quick entry into our database. Follow-up phone calls and submission of paper copy resumes are not necessary.
I am a U.S. citizen but I currently work/live overseas. How can I apply?
Due to safety and security concerns for prospective applicants, DIA/DCS does not accept resumes nor can we return phone calls, emails, or other forms of communication from U.S. citizens living outside of the U.S. However, in certain cases where applicants have access to secure communication methods, DIA/DCS can complete parts of the application process with prospective candidates. U.S. citizens living overseas are encouraged to apply to the DIA/DCS quarterly vacancy announcements once you return to the U.S.
How will I know if I am no longer being considered for employment with DIA/DCS?
DIA/DCS applicants who are no longer being considered for employment will receive official notification of non-selection via email or postal mail.
As a Case Officer, where can I expect to be stationed?
Case Officer work can be fun and exciting, with world-wide travel, paid housing and benefits. The work is challenging and, in many instances, can be dangerous. During a career with DIA/DCS, Case Officers can expect to spend at least 60% of their career overseas. While some locations have all the modern conveniences that are available in the U.S., Case Officers should also be prepared to serve in hardship posts in remote, austere environments. Some assignments may be "unaccompanied" which means that family members are not permitted to go with you.
Given that our primary mission is to support the warfighter, DIA/DCS positions its personnel alongside our military. All personnel are required to sign a Mobility Clause, meaning that the Agency can transfer them anywhere at any time to include deployments to a warzone.
When Case Officers are transferred overseas, what schooling options are available for children?
For accompanied assignments outside of the U.S., children of DIA/DCS personnel are able to attend DoD/Government-funded schools, or private International Schools, when Government schools are unavailable.
What types of incentives does DIA/DCS offer to employees with foreign language proficiency?
Foreign Language Proficiency Pay (FLPP) is a discretionary payment designed to enhance mission requirement capabilities; it is not an entitlement. Under DIA's policy, FLPP eligibility for all DIA employees requires a minimum proficiency level 2/2/2 (listening/reading/speaking) as measured by the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Candidates claiming language proficiency will be tested during the duration of the application and hiring process.
For 2013, DIA/DCS targeted languages for FLPP pay are as follows: Amharic, Arabic, Bambara, Cambodian, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese other, Danish, Dari Farsi, French, German, Greek, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese – Brazilian, Portuguese – European, Punjabi, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tadjik, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Yoruba. For additional information, visit www.dia.mil/careers/languages.html.
Where can I find additional information on employee benefits?
For additional information on DIA employment benefits, visit www.dia.mil/careers/benefits.
This page was last updated April 26, 2013.