While specific physical requirements vary by position, the standards for a CIA operative include a passing grade on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), followed by specialized paramilitary training.
The CIA is not the place it is often portrayed as in movies and television. It is an agency without "policing or subpoena powers," and serves solely as an intelligence collection agency. However, due to the often dangerous nature of human intelligence gathering, field operatives must be physically ready to handle just about any situation.
The Army Physical Fitness Test consists of three parts: push-ups (untimed), a two-mile run (timed), and sit-ups (one minute to do as many as possible). Each event is scored based on performance, and only those able to pass with a sufficient score in all three categories will advance to paramilitary training.
Paramilitary training (training by a non-military unit that is structured as though it were one, such as a police force) involves rigorous physical, weapons, driving, and other training, similar to the training undergone by a military or law enforcement outfit. This is to ensure the safety of operatives and their mission when on more dangerous assignments.
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