275. Précis Prepared by the Executive Director-Comptroller of the Central Intelligence Agency (White)1


Summary. The quality of the Agency’s current cadre of junior officers (i.e., those entering duty between FY 1963 and FY 1967) is equal to or better than previous junior officer groups. CIA’s recruitment effort and competitive position are generally satisfactory, although there are recruitment impediments which need remedying and some tentative signs that reactions to anti-Agency publicity and the Vietnam War may pose problems in the future. Finally, all directorates are experiencing difficulties—some unique to particular directorates and some common to all—in the area of purposeful career management and the retention of the ablest junior officers. The above conclusions and the following observations were derived from surveys of over [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Agency supervisors and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] junior officers.
Quality and Sources of Junior Officers. Eighty-six per cent of the Agency supervisors surveyed believe that the FY 1963–67 group of junior officers equals or surpasses those officers entering duty before 1963. (The 14% who felt the contrary all were DD/P or DD/I supervisors.) The Career Training Program is the principal source of DD/P junior officers, an important source for the DD/S (which relies equally on direct hire from business), incidental for the DD/I (which draws 40% of its employees from universities), and irrelevant for the DD/S&T (which relies heavily on universities and industry). Recruitment data and a study near completion by the [Page 600] Office of Medical Services suggest that job performance and career potential bear a strong correlation to the quality of educational institution attended by junior officers. (See Tab J for a brief discussion of this observation.)2
Recruitment. CIA’s university recruitment efforts are proceeding satisfactorily, although some indications that CIA recruiters spread themselves too thin suggest the need to weed out unproductive institutions and to concentrate on some 100 “quality” institutions. Each directorate, but especially the DD/I and DD/S&T, have developed “unilateral” access to the academic community and increasingly rely on such access for recruitment. Recruiters observe that some highly promising prospects are lost because of the lengthy waiting period that ensues between initial interviews and tentative acceptance. Finally, it is believed by some recruiters that the Vietnam War may be negatively affecting recruitment; and DD/I supervisors feel that adverse publicity about the Agency may be affecting the attitudes of good prospects, as well as impairing Agency-academic relations in general.
Career Management. Career planning is not practiced in the Agency with the possible exception of the DD/I which has consistently effected the five-year plans conceived as an aspect of the Midcareer Development Program and which has a centralized system for identifying and developing “comers.” The Midcareer Course is viewed more as a “battery recharge” than a development program for the ablest officers. The over-all attrition rate of junior officers entering duty during FY 1963–67 is [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. (The attrition rate of junior FSO’s for FY 1966 and FY 1967, by contrast, was slightly under [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].) The separation rate is [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] in the DD/S&T where industry constitutes an economically attractive alternative and where the fact that the middle and senior grades are occupied by relatively young officers induces some junior officers to conclude that advancement will be slow. DD/I’s attrition rate is [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], accounted for in part by a [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] turnover in females. DD/P’s loss rate is [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], and the reasons cited include the relative lack of promotion headroom caused by a serious congestion at the senior levels of the CS. Concern is expressed that the CS may be losing some of its ablest young officers.
Major Recommendations.
Agency intercourse with the academic community needs to be encouraged and improved, including greater substantive exchange between DD/I analysts and key faculty and graduate students, more selective campus recruitment with concentration on “quality” institutions and exploration of ways to counteract or reduce adverse publicity.
The Midcareer Program requires both greater review and higher priority. “Comers” need to be spotted and encouraged by the directorates. Individual career plans, especially for the most promising, require more attention and greater follow-through.
Additional attention should be given to the congestion at senior levels of the CS and further means developed to induce or compel early retirement or reassignment within the Agency.
Centralized procedures should be developed to analyze the high attrition rate among junior officers. Directorates should determine the real reasons why officers leave, and report annually the rate and causes of separation.
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry, Job 80–B01676R, Professional Manpower Comm. Secret. White forwarded the précis, together with the full Report of the Committee on Professional Manpower, March 1968, to Helms and Taylor on March 29. The report, a copy of which is ibid., was prepared by an internal, four-person committee, chaired by the Director of Training, John Richardson.
  2. Attached but not printed.