The Central Intelligence Service (CIA) announced on Friday that it is increasing its language requirements for employees looking to be promoted to the top ranks of the agency, the Senior Intelligence Service (SIS).
Agency director Leon Panetta sent out a note to all CIA staff, stating that he expects the high-ranking employees:
“to lead the way in strengthening this critical expertise.”
The agents require language skills anyway bit this announcement is about keeping those language skills fresh and up to date.
Agents who are promoted to SIS will have one year t meet the language requirement. If the language requirements are not met within one year the agent will return to their previous, lower grade.
According to CBS news Panetta said:
“the change will allow the CIA to be better positioned to protect the American nation in the years ahead.”
This new policy is part of a much bigger five year imitative which aims to double the number of analysts and collectors who are proficient in a foreign language, expand the number of agents proficient in ‘mission critical languages’, including Arabic, Pushto and Urdu and make language skills more important in CIA hiring decisions.