The National Security Agency ~ Multiple Intelligences

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NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland

There are many forms of intelligence—different types of knowledge or skills learned and different ways of how they are learned and how they are applied.

Some people are more visually/spatially inclined, while others are more in tune with words. Some have exceptional technological skills, whereas others are inquisitive and investigative by nature.

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The Intelligence Community

The U.S.’ Intelligence Community (IC) is composed of 17 agencies (such as the FBI, CIA, DHS, DIA, DEA, etc). In this case, intelligence is defined as: “Intelligence drives our national security policies, and the Intelligence Community is responsible for supplying accurate and usable information to those in charge of national security,” states the IC  []. “The successful intelligence process converts acquired information into clear, comprehensible intelligence and delivers it to the President, policymakers, and military commanders in a form they can utilize to make educated policy decisions…”


The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is one of the IC’s member agencies. This federal agency has several different categories of professionals in order to accomplish its missions and functions.

“NSA, of course, is a signals intelligence organization; we conduct intelligence by looking for the communications of our adversaries,” says John C. Inglis, NSA’s Deputy Director, explaining that each intelligence agency plays a distinctive role. “The second, and very important, distinction is that NSA is a foreign intelligence organization. The intelligence that we are authorized to collect, and that we report on, is intelligence that bears on foreign adversaries, foreign threats, more often than not, located therefore in foreign domains.”

Types of Careers at the NSA/CSS

“Where Intelligence Goes to Work,” states the NSA/CSS on its “Career Fields” page. Interestingly enough career opportunities at the agency require several different forms of intelligence, as in our first definition of the term (the type of knowledge and skills and how they are learned and applied). For example, some positions might be more suitable to those with a mathematical/logical form of intelligence, while others are compatible with verbal/linguistic, visual/spatial, interpersonal or other forms.

The NSA/CSS’ career categories include: “computer science,” “mathematics,” “foreign language,” “business,” “intelligence analysis,” “cryptoanalysis/signals analysis,” “information assurance,” “security” (including investigations) and more.

The agency adds, “NSA is looking for people who are intelligent and imaginative critical thinkers who can contribute innovative ideas to solve our most difficult challenges.”

In our next post, we’ll take a more in depth look at some of these career categories, plus the opportunities for STUDENTS (from high school to graduate level) at the NSA/CSS.