I can’t remember a time when Uncle Sam was so Hollywood.
I’m a film fan, so I know the feds are regulars on the big screen. But government service had an interesting profile in this past year in films that received top nominations for both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
“Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” attest to the incredible and dangerous work of the intelligence community, Foreign Service and military.
And if you’re interested in such a career, you can go to the movies and at least get a Hollywood version of the agencies at the center of the action and some that are part of the backdrop.
Both movies — one about a 1980 rescue mission (“Argo”) and the other about the hunt for Osama bin Laden (“Zero”) — focus on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Clandestine Service.
The CIA’s Web site describes its work as offering “a unique career,” and for sure, these jobs are definitely not for everyone. Depending on your point of view, “Zero” is either a recruitment film or a case against such a career. Gathering HUMINT, or human intelligence, and sometimes using “enhanced interrogation” isn’t at all like a James Bond flick. www.cia.gov/careers/opportunities/clandestine/view-jobs.html
The intelligence community is populated by many agencies. Whether it’s the National Security Agency (nsa.gov), National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (www1.nga.mil/) or the National Reconnaissance Office (nro.gov), they are all in the business of collecting info that others don’t want collected.
The Foreign Service handles diplomacy for the State Department. But many other agencies work out of our U.S. embassies — from the U.S. Agency for International Development to the Foreign Agriculture Service (under the U.S. Department of Agriculture) to the Foreign Commercial Service (under the Department of Commerce).
Both “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty” focus a lot on U.S. embassies. As we know too well, from the Benghazi tragedy, diplomatic security is critical. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the State Department is responsible for keeping folks safe and has positions ranging from security engineering officers to security protective specialists. www.state.gov/m/ds.
Marine security guards got some Hollywood attention, too. The Marines who protect embassies are an elite team from the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group. Their job is to protect U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities and their personnel. Its probably one of the most interesting jobs in the Marine Corps. www.mcesg.marines.mil.
Long before “Zero” was released, the Navy SEALS were a media sensation after killing bin Laden. The Special Operations community also includes Army Green Berets, Delta, and Rangers; Marine Special Operations; and Air Force Special Forces.
Not into the rough and tumble, but still interested in the work, there are civilian jobs in every aspect. www.socom.mil.
Check it out for yourself. And remember: Hollywood is Hollywood.
Dortch is president of the Diversa Group, which specializes in federal employment.