3rd Dec 2020

EU seeks 'stress-resistant' intelligence officer

The EU is hiring three junior experts to join its intelligence-sharing bureau, the Joint Situation Centre (SitCen), with the job descriptions shedding some light onto the secretive body's work.

The posts - a Deployable Security Information Officer, an Open Source Intelligence Analyst and a Security Information Officer - are to be filled at the same time as the appointment of a new SitCen director. The deadline for applications closed last Friday (16 September).

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  • Haiti: The then SitCen director, William Shapcott accompanied Catherine Ashton on a tour of the earthquake zone (Photo: European Communities/ECHO/Vicente Raimundo)

The job advertisements, seen by EUobserver, were circulated to EU institutions and member states' foreign ministries in recent weeks, but were not made available to the general public.

The deployable officer, according to the official notice, is to "travel to potential crisis or conflict areas to overtly gather political and security information to support early crisis management decisions and to supplement information and assessments from other sources."

The candidate is to have a diplomatic, intelligence or media background and to "have experience in information collection and evaluation in areas with a high degree of tension." The right man or woman must also "be prepared to travel extensively to potential crisis areas and to do so at short notice" and to "be physically fit and stress-resistant. Able to withstand potentially physically and psychologically harsh working environment."

The bulk of SitCen's work is drafting security reports out of its 100-person-strong office in the EU quarter in Brussels. EU diplomats say there is no political appetite among member states to create a genuine European Intelligence Service which carries out covert operations.

But SitCen officers do travel to hotspots to help EU delegations carry out research. When the earthquake struck in Haiti earlier this year, the then SitCen director, William Shapcott, personally accompanied EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton to the Caribbean country to seek information.

The job advertisement for the new SitCen director also mentions that the candidate must "be fit and ready to travel to areas of crisis."

Out of the other two junior jobs up for grabs, the open source analyst is to "follow up on open and confidential sources of information relating to the political and security situation in areas where the EU has launched a CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] mission or may be considering doing so."

The new Security Information Officer will focus on Asia and will do "topical Internet research in response to requests for information." The ideal candidate is to speak Urdu, Persian, Russian or Mandarin.

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