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Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO)


The Direct Commission Intelligence Officer (DCIO) program offers an opportunity for high performing intelligence professionals and military members with specific intelligence and cryptology specialty experience to actualize their skills as a Coast Guard Intelligence officer.  The program is specifically looking for members in the Intelligence Specialist (IS) rating, CGIS Agents, DOD service members, other federal service members and contractors who are graduates of accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in intelligence with resumes articulating training and work in Human Intelligence (HUMINT)/ Human Derived Intelligence (HDI) collection and reporting, Cyber Threat Analysis, Counter-Intelligence (CI) Operations, or Cryptology.  New Coast Guard Intelligence Officers are welcomed into a service whose parent agency is both an armed force and an organization with broad maritime law enforcement authorities, representing dynamic opportunities to fuse intelligence with tactical law enforcement operations. Additionally, in an era of exponential advancement in cyber technology, the need for skilled yet innovative cyber threat expertise is paramount and represents a superb opportunity for growth and professional responsibility.  Officers who are selected will have a chance to become a key resource in one of most dynamic fields in the Coast Guard, and will obtain an initial assignment within the intelligence community.  It is therefore critical that applicants are intelligence professionals with robust work experience.

Initial Assignments and Training:

DCIO selectees work with a Coast Guard assignment officer following selection. The assignment officer will review the individual’s education, experience and qualifications, in addition to their expressed assignment interests, and assign orders to a position at a Coast Guard field unit that best aligns the selectee’s talents & potential with the needs of the Coast Guard. Following commissioning (which occurs approximately 30 days prior to attending the Direct Commission Officer (DCO) course in New London, Connecticut) new officers will execute permanent change of station (PCS) orders and report directly to their first unit for a brief period. DCIOs will then go TDY to the DCO course. The DCO course will be 4-5 weeks in duration. At DCO training, DCIOs receive initial indoctrination to the traditions and programs of the service, and training on service specific administration essentials needed for their success as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard.  Following completion of DCO training, DCIOs will return to their unit.

Career Path:

Following their initial assignment, DCIOs can anticipate broadening their experience within the Intel community, with increasing levels of leadership and management exposure with progression in rank. Likewise, after completing their initial Intel assignment, DCIOs are encouraged to compete for operational assignments to broaden their exposure to Coast Guard missions.

DCIO Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Age: Have reached your 21st but not your 42nd birthday as of 30 September of the fiscal year in which the selection panel convenes.
  2. Character Standards:
    • Applicants currently in the Coast Guard: Applicants are ineligible for commissioning if in the 36 months prior to the first DCO class convening date in the selection cycle, they have been convicted by a court-martial, been awarded non-judicial punishment (NJP), received an “Unsatisfactory” conduct mark, received a mark of less than “4” in any performance dimension, received a negative Administrative Remarks, or been involved in an alcohol-related incident.
  3. Citizenship: Must be a U.S. Citizen
  4. Clearance: Must possess a current Top Secret clearance
  5. Dependency:
    • Cannot exceed 3 dependents (your spouse is considered your dependent, regardless of military status).
    • Coast Guard active duty applicants, E-5 and above, with a minimum of four years active military service (excluding active duty for training), at least two years of which must be Coast Guard active duty service may have sole or primary custody of dependents.
    • All eligible applicants must provide a dependent care plan with an indefinite general Power of Attorney
  6. Education:
    • Have a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited program in intelligence or the science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) fields.  These degrees will be targeted and weighted heavier than other degrees.
    • Other degrees may be considered on a case-by-case basis
    • College Seniors: are eligible to apply if all of the below are met:
    • Baccalaureate degree will be conferred prior to commissioning date, which will occur approximately 30 days prior to the first DCO course convening for which the panel is making selections.
    • The applicant provides an official letter from their college registrar certifying their enrollment, degree, major, GPA, and anticipated date of graduation.
    • Foreign Degrees: Applicants who have degrees conferred by a foreign school shall include in their application a course-by-course assessment from an organization such as Education Credential Evaluators, in addition to the inclusion of the translation of their degree (if in a language other than English).
  7. Financial: Must meet all financial obligations, and not have a debt to income ratio in excess of 80% (ratio of debt to projected income at applicant’s highest accession level i.e. O-1 or O-2, as applicable).
    • May not have filed for bankruptcy in the last 10 years
    • Student Loans: applicants shall also disclose to their recruiter any student loan payments that are in deferment, and the anticipated date and amount of repayment of those loans.
  8. Interview: DCIO applicants must receive the recommendation of a Coast Guard interview board administered by 3 Coast Guard Officers.
  9. Military Service:
    • None required
    • Other military service members:
      • Max Active Duty Service: Have less than 10 years of non-Coast Guard active-duty military service as of commissioning date, which is equivalent to the date that the applicant, if selected, will take their oath of office.
    • Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted members, to be eligible:
      • Must be a presently serving as an Intelligence Specialist (IS) in pay grade E-5 or by the panel dates. 
      • OR
      • Must be presently serving as a Coast Guard Investigative Service Agent (any rate)
    • CG Reserve Enlisted Members who meet the above eligibility criteria for CG Enlisted members are also eligible to apply. 
    • Coast Guard Officers:
      • ADPL Officers: Applicants currently holding a commission in the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve who are on the Active Duty Promotion List (ADPL) are not eligible to apply.  
      • IDPL Officers: If a Reserve Officer on the Inactive Duty Promotion List (IDPL) meets the eligibility criteria, he/she may apply for the program, provided a conditional resignation, approved by CG-PSC-rpm, is included in the application package.
    • Commissioned Officers: who have been separated or removed from active duty from any Service as a result of non-selection for promotion, extension, or integration may not apply for any Coast Guard commissioning program.
    • Conditional Release: Members currently in another military service (or IRR) and CG Reservists must furnish an approved DD368 form (conditional release) in their application package.  
      • Release approval (validity) period: The release shall be valid, at a minimum, through the date of the panels for which the applicant is applying.  Ideally, the release should be valid through the projected accession date for that panel.
      • CG Reservists, CG IRR, and Other Military Service IRR: Recruiters shall submit the DD368 (with only Section I complete) to CGRC Accessions branch at
      • CG Active Duty Enlisted: do not need a conditional release
      • Members of Other Military Services (except IRR): The applicant shall submit the DD368 (with Section I complete) through their chain of command to their services’ authorizing official* (which is different for each service).  Once approved, the DD368 and any other approval documents (i.e. Service Memorandum) shall be submitted in the application package.
  10. Physical (Medical): Must pass a commissioning physical (including):
    • Normal Color Vision
    • Meet height/weight standards:
    • CG members: Must meet MAW or Body Fat standards as per COMDTINST M1020.8H
    • Shall complete a structured physical fitness program while at DCO School
  11. Test Score: There is no test score requirement for DCIO
  12. Program Specific Requirements:
    • Experience: All applicants must have 5 years (by the application deadline) of recent and relevant intelligence experience (training and work) with a government agency or government intelligence contractor, defined as follows:
      • HUMINT/HDI collection and reporting: Completed a National or Department of Defense certified HUMINT course.  5 years experience in HUMINT collection.
      • Cyber: Either/or, Joint Network Attack Course (JNAC), Joint Advanced Cyber Warfare Course (JACWC), Joint Cyber Analyst Course (JCAC), or service cyber equivalents. 5 years of experience in the Cyber field.
      • CI: Completed a National or Department of Defense certified CI credentialing course. 5 years experience as a credentialed CI professional.
      • Cryptology: 5 years of experience in the field of cryptology.
      • Combination: A combination of the above will also be considered, and must equate to 5 years of experience. 
      • Other: Experience in other intelligence disciplines will be considered on a case by case basis, and must equate to 5 years of experience.
    • Clearance:
      • All applicants must currently hold and be able to maintain Director or Central Intelligence Directive (DCID 6/4) Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) eligibility, i.e.  a “top secret clearance” and be able to provide evidence of this type of current clearance with their application.  If selected, applicants will be eligible for “reciprocity” wherein the CG honors the adjudication decision by the losing agency. 
      • Applicants who have separated from military service or the agency that granted the clearance within less than 24 months would be also be eligible for reciprocity and would be considered to have an “active” clearance for program eligibility purposes.
    • Certifications: A current professional certification in an intelligence discipline (IFPC, ICAAP, CDASA, GFPC, etc.) is preferred, but not required.
  13. Tattoos: Applicants may not have tattoos or body markings that are inconsistent with the CG tattoo, body marking, body piercing, and mutilation policy.
  14. DCO Pre-Reporting Guide: Applicants must have read and understood the DCO Pre-Reporting Guide.

DCIO Appointment Grades and Term of Service:

  1. Selected applicants will receive a 4-year active duty obligation.
  2. The selection panel determines the appointment grade of each selectee, based on education, training, and work experience.
  3. Selectees will receive a commission as an Ensign (O-1) or Lieutenant (j.g.) (O-2) or Lieutenant (O-3).

Application Process

If you are ready to apply, you must visit the “Plan Your Next Move to become an Active Duty Coast Guard Officer” page and follow the application process.