Interested in foreign travel? Access to senior U.S. officials? A chance to help them meet the economic challenges of a rapidly changing world?

The CIA wants you, with the proper credentials, of course, including successful completion of a polygraph examination. Want ads for economic analysts have been running in newspapers around the country this year, part of the CIA drive to prepare itself for a world in which war with the Soviet Union is increasingly unlikely.

The chief problem now, says career defense strategist and diplomat Paul H. Nitze, is to figure out who or what "the enemy" is. "There will be all kinds of contestants for that honor of being 'the enemy' or 'the problem,' " he said.

But the CIA is on the case. "This is the first time since World War II that the world has changed," said a senior CIA official. For U.S. intelligence, he said, "it is a golden moment."

The agency even has a new, albeit small, directorate of planning and coordination to chart the course. Established last year to keep the CIA "ahead of the curve" as it approaches the 21st century, it has six task forces looking at U.S. intelligence capabilities and outlining what other assets may be needed through the end of the decade. The topics include weapons proliferation, the dizzying pace of change in the Soviet Union and Europe and how to exploit the sudden deluge of open-source information.

Once this year's task forces finished their work, other subjects await. In the process, the concept of national security may be changed drastically.

For instance, the senior official said, "we are concerned about hazardous waste disposal and the international implications of global warming and cooling -- both of which come up in international conferences and meetings with the president."

In terms of new priorities, how to keep the United States "competitive" economically and technologically is near the top of the list. CIA Director William H. Webster has been speaking in public for months about the importance of economic intelligence -- and counterintelligence. President Bush formally endorsed it as a new priority in a national strategy statement last March.

"Economic strength is key to global influence and power," Webster said at the National Press Club. "In the years ahead," he added in a speech at American University, "international friction is likely to be increasingly expressed in economic terms. . . . The right information will be critical. Providing that information is, of course, the business of intelligence."

No other proposition in the expanding list of new intelligence priorities has stirred so much opposition. On Capitol Hill, members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and other key lawmakers are sharply divided over the idea of what they see as spying for U. S. corporate interests.

Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) said "it would be imprudent" to shift resources to business problems. "We cannot expect U.S. intelligence agencies to improve either the administration's economic policy or the competitive performance of U.S. companies. Those solutions lie elsewhere."

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said commercial espionage "is a bad practice. It's just going to encourage bad practices by competitors." But he added that "if it's a question of retaliation, that would be different."

The Senate intelligence committee recently gave Webster a March 1, 1991, deadline for a comprehensive study of "economic espionage" by foreign intelligence services in order to determine whether new counterintelligence or other initiatives are required. The panel said U.S. officials had testified at a closed hearing about "the possiblity of an emerging . . . threat, including the collection of U.S. proprietary and unclassified information by foreign powers."

Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.), the committee chairman, was even more emphatic in a Press Club speech last April. "As the arms race is winding down, the spy race is heating up," he warned. "An increasing share of the espionage directed against the United States comes from spying by foreign governments against private American companies aimed at stealing commercial secrets to gain a national economic advantage."

Oliver B. Revell, FBI associate executive director for investigations, says there is no question that "a number of nations friendly to the United States have engaged in industrial espionage, collecting information with their intelligence services to support private industry."

In one recent case, France's Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE) enlisted employees in European offices of IBM, Texas Instruments and other U.S. electronics firms to obtain research and marketing information for Compagnie des Machines Bull, a computer manufacturer mainly owned by the French government.

But Bradley said he wants to make sure that the study of "economic espionage" does not become "a pretext for a new program of counterintelligence surveillance by the FBI of either foreigners or Americans."

Bradley said it is important to distinguish between legal information-gathering by foreign powers, "which we conduct ourselves and which must be tolerated, and illegal 'economic espionage,' which should be countered effectively." He said he remains unconvinced that the illegal variety "is a new or growing threat" and added that Webster has not substantiated the point "despite my request for evidence."

There are other pitfalls. "My own impression is that many people in the intelligence community are reluctant to get into contract-intelligence work, that is, helping a particular bidder in a contract situation," says Rep. Matthew F. McHugh (D-N.Y.), a senior House intelligence committee member. "If there's more than one American company interested in bidding, do you give the information just to one? And often there are coalitions of companies, a mixture of American and foreign. Should you share information with them?"

CIA officials say that targeting foreign companies for espionage is not on their agenda. "Our problems in economics are not spy problems," said one senior official. "We are an information-integrating-and-synthesizing agency. Our interest is in looking at very broad trends in economies, . . . at the negotiating limits in trade negotiations, . . . at governments that help their companies come here and buy up U.S. industry such as the after-market auto parts business, which is now 25 percent foreign-owned."

The officials say, however, that with the CIA's contacts and the spy satellites that feed the National Security Agency (NSA) all sorts of foreign communications, corporate secrets inevitably come tumbling in. The CIA does not now share that information with U.S. companies -- unless it finds out that a U.S. firm is about to become the victim of an illegal act.

If that happens, a knowledgeable official said, "we tell the {U.S.} government and they might tell the company to come talk to us. We wouldn't tell them the source of our information, but we would tell them they were about to be had. We provide only defensive information. And {at present} we don't look for it."

"There are a substantial number of legal and ethical problems associated with the concept of trying to provide intelligence information directly to business in the United States," Vice Adm. William O. Studeman, NSA's director, said in rare public remarks to the Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce June 29. "This country does not have, if you will, the business ethic and the arrangements that some of the other Western countries have that do engage in economic intelligence collection."

But now, Studeman made clear, NSA is being asked to consider using its worldwide eavesdropping network to pick up not only general economic intelligence, which it has done for years, but also competitive information.

To allies in Europe and the Far East, that could make NSA's listening posts in those countries decidedly unwelcome. Plainly unenthusiastic about launching an "offensive" against overseas economic targets, Studeman said U.S. allies "are asking me lots of questions on a day-to-day basis" about the prospects of NSA's "spying on our friends."

The NSA, Studeman said, will "definitely be helping out on the defensive side," especially in protecting U.S. banking institutions and others engaged "in sensitive kinds of economic enterprises."

Many other intelligence needs are under study. The president cited weapons proliferation, regional conflicts, international terrorism and narcotics trafficking in his March pronouncement on national security strategy. These "less traditional threats," the House intelligence committee asserted in September, pose "potentially greater peril than the cold war."

Boren and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) say the crisis in the Persian Gulf will accelerate the shift of intelligence resources from Europe to areas such as the Middle East, and it underscores the need for more human intelligence: operatives and analysts steeped in foreign languages and cultures.

"In the past, we've looked at everything through the prism of superpower relationships," Boren said. "We've had a tendency to collect 'secrets' -- military information, insider information, what happened at the latest Politburo meeting. What we need just as much now are people who can tell us what's going on in the streets. How is Arab opinion going to affect the ability of Arab governments to support us? {And in the Soviet Union} is 'the street' going to side with {Soviet President Mikhail} Gorbachev or {Russian republic leader Boris} Yeltsin?"

Some critics, such as Roger Morris, a National Security Council staffer in the Johnson and Nixon administrations, take a caustic view of all this. "Peace, it turns out, is going to be even more expensive than the Cold War, and by all odds, a growth industry for the intelligence community," Morris protested recently in an op-ed page column in the New York Times.

Such indignation is hard to find on Capitol Hill. A few intelligence committee members, such as Rep. Robert W. Kastenmeier (D-Wis.), defeated in last week's elections, and Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), say there "should" be a "peace dividend," or significant reduction, in intelligence spending, but they are careful not to predict it.

"There is still too much to distrust," Rep. Charles Wilson (D-Tex.) said of the Soviets. "We all hope Gorbachev will do better. But the Soviets are still building three nuclear submarines a year. We still have to watch the subs. We still have to listen. . . . You can't turn intelligence on and off like a faucet."

But in the post-Cold War era, other issues are gaining new constituencies. Reps. Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) and Nicholas Mavroules (D-Mass.) want narcotics trafficking to be intelligence priority No. 1. "Spend whatever is necessary," Mavroules said.

Specter wants to step up the fight against terrorism -- capturing terrorists such as Achille Lauro hijacker Abul Abbas, and finding and rescuing the U.S. hostages in Lebanon. About a dozen international terrorists have been named in sealed warrants here.

A U.S. terrorism expert said capturing just one of them could be an enormously expensive, legally complicated undertaking. Such projects, as well as escalating the attack on narcotics, would require new investments in human intelligence sources (HUMINT).

Meanwhile, there are insistent calls for fresh investments in spy satellites, some estimated to cost $1.5 billion each, to verify U.S.-Soviet arms control agreements now under negotiation. CIA Director Webster has said these treaties will require a "staggering" amount of resources to monitor adequately.

Former CIA director William E. Colby said that with increasing use of on-site inspections, "you can get along with a lot less frequency of coverage" from overhead satellites. But that viewpoint is not widely shared on Capitol Hill.

"We've got to make sure they {the Soviets} aren't coming up with something that is not allowed by the treaties," said Boren who has successfully fought to put more satellites than the administration wanted in the budget in the past two years.

"We are entering a period when more verification on arms control will be needed, . . . more on-site and more overhead," said Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio). Glenn advocates more money and strenuous efforts, especially in human intelligence gathering, to keep track of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation in the Third World.

Congress has pledged to be as generous as possible, even asserting in a House intelligence committee report that the new challenges "pose for the United States and its allies, potentially greater peril than the cold war." The House and Senate have just enacted a 1991 authorization bill that includes between $29 billion and $30 billion for the U.S. intelligence community, close to last year's level. Paradoxically, lawmakers say, it is still basically a Cold War intelligence budget, drawn up too long ago to reflect the recent changes in the world.

"We are still operating in somewhat of a shell-shocked condition," said Rep. Dan Glickman (D-Kan.). "We're still doing lots of old work even though it may not be necessary."

"We're entering a whole new era," said Rep. Barbara B. Kennelly (D-Conn.), who favors heavier emphasis on language training. "I think the {next} Congress is going to be very important as far as intelligence is concerned."

By the time the new Congress convenes, there will be even more proposals on the table for new intelligence-gathering.

Besides hazardous waste disposal and global warming, one senior intelligence official said, topics could include "the tremendous impact of the spread of AIDS in Africa on the leadership classes. In some countries, it is killing the middle classes and leadership classes, and that has political and stability implications. We'll have a whole new agenda of problems each year."