The purpose and functions of the CIA is primarily to gather intelligence from around the world to keep the USA secure by way of covert operations and other special activities.


The CIA is an exceedingly powerful and far-reaching yet systematized and multifaceted organization that carries out a variety of objectives in support of the United State’s national security and prosperity.

The functions of the CIA are nothing like that of the FBI, but more closely resembles the MI6 (British Secret Intelligence Service) in that they’re intelligence agencies, not law enforcement agencies.

The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world – but not within the US itself.

In performing these duties, the CIA has four main objectives: providing timely and objective intelligence analysis to policymakers; conducting covert actions and special activities to thwart threats to US national security; acquiring foreign intelligence through human sources and open-source collection; and developing science and technology to support its mission.

The Functions of The CIA:
          Intelligence and Data

The CIA’s primary function is to gather intelligence. This involves collecting information about other countries’ governments, militaries, and economies.

“Intelligence” refers to foreign intelligence; information about another nation that affects US national security interests; it can be military, economic, political or scientific in nature.

The CIA uses a variety of methods to gather intelligence, including human sources (i.e. spies, assets etc.), electronic surveillance, and open-source analysis (i.e. analyzing media reports).

Once the CIA has collected this information, it analyzes it and produces reports that are shared with policymakers in order to inform their decision-making.

The first objective of the CIA is to provide timely and objective intelligence analysis to policymakers.

The CIA does this by collecting data from a variety of sources, both human and technological, and then analyzing that data to identify trends, threats, and opportunities. This analysis is then used to inform U.S. policymakers so that they can make informed decisions about national security.

          Covert Operations and Actions

In addition to gathering intelligence, the CIA also conducts covert / clandestine operations. Covert operations are secret missions that are designed to achieve a specific goal without being publicly attributable to the US government.

These missions are typically carried out by CIA operatives and human assets who have undergone extensive training in undercover work. Covert operations can range from small-scale activities like conducting surveillance on a target to large-scale activities like overthrowing a foreign government.

The second objective of the CIA is to conduct covert actions and special activities. Covert action is an activity or activities undertaken by the CIA to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is not intended that the US government’s role be apparent or acknowledged publicly.

Special activities are operations conducted by the CIA that are typically politically sensitive and may be risky or dangerous; they are also secret by nature. These activities are designed to achieve specific foreign policy objectives.

The CIA supports US foreign policy by carrying out activities that further US objectives abroad. This can involve anything from providing financial assistance to a friendly government to carrying out covert operations against a hostile government.

The CIA also plays an important role in countering terrorist threats against the United States and its interests abroad.

          Tech and Equipment

The third and final function of the CIA is to develop science and technology to support its mission.

This includes developing new ways to gather intelligence (e.g., satellite reconnaissance) as well as advanced ways to analyze data (e.g., artificial intelligence) and variably undetectable tradecraft weapons and tools for field work (e.g., type 6 gear).

The agency also partners with other government agencies and private sector businesses on research (and development) projects related to its mission.


The purpose and functions of the CIA is an essential part of the American national security apparatus that plays a vital role in keeping Americans safe both at home and abroad, as well as maintaining prosperity.

[INTEL : How to Become a CIA Operative]
[OPTICS : CIA Headquarters, Langley]