The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is a field operating agency with headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. It has been the Air Force's felony-level investigative service since Aug. 1, 1948. The agency reports to the Inspector General, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
MissionThe Air Force Office of Special Investigations provides professional investigative service to commanders of all Air Force activities. AFOSI identifies, investigates and neutralizes criminal, terrorist, and espionage threats to Air Force and Department of Defense personnel and resources. The command focuses on five priorities:
- Develop and retain a force capable of meeting Air Force needs
- Detect and provide early warning of worldwide threats to the Air Force
- Identify and resolve crime that threatens Air Force readiness or good order and discipline
- Combat threats to information systems and technologies
- Detect and defeat fraud impacting force acquisitions and base-level capabilities
Personnel and ResourcesAFOSI has 2,609 active-duty, Reserve and civilian personnel. Of this number, approximately 2,009 are federally credentialled special agents, who are drawn from all segments of the total force. There are 328 active-duty officers, 941 active-duty enlisted, 425 civilians and 379 reservists.
In addition to the command's headquarters OSI has eight field investigations regions. Seven of the regions are aligned with Air Force major commands: Region 1 with Air Force Materiel Command, Region 2 with Air Combat Command, Region 3 with Air Mobility Command, Region 4 with Air Education and Training Command, Region 5 with U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Region 6 with Pacific Air Forces, and Region 8 with Air Force Space Command.
While the regions serve the investigative needs of those aligned major commands, all OSI units and personnel remain independent of those commands, and their chains of command flow directly to OSI headquarters. Such organizational independence ensures unbiased investigations.
The single region not aligned with a major command is Region 7, the mission of which is to provide counterintelligence and security-program management for special-access programs under the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
At the regional level are subordinate units called field investigations squadrons, detachments and operating locations. In sum, OSI owns more than 230 units worldwide.
Threat detection. OSI manages offensive and defensive activities to detect, counter and destroy the effectiveness of hostile intelligence services and terrorist groups that target the Air Force. These efforts include investigating the crimes of espionage, terrorism, technology transfer and computer infiltration. This mission aspect also includes providing personal protection to senior Air Force leaders and other officials, as well as supervising an extensive antiterrorism program in geographic areas of heightened terrorist activity.
Criminal Investigations. The vast majority of OSI's investigative activities pertain to felony crimes including murder, robbery, rape, assault, major burglaries, drug use and trafficking, sex offenses, arson, compromise of Air Force test materials, black market activities, and other criminal activities
Economic crime investigations. A significant amount of OSI investigative resources are assigned to fraud (or economic crime) investigations. These include violations of the public trust involving Air Force contracting matters, appropriated and nonappropriated funds activities, computer systems, pay and allowance matters, environmental matters, acquiring and disposing of Air Force property, and major administrative irregularities. OSI uses fraud surveys to determine the existence, location and extent of fraud in Air Force operations or programs. It also provides briefings to base and command-level resource managers to help identify and prevent fraud involving Air Force or DOD resources.
Information Operations. The Air Force is now countering a global security threat to our information systems. Our role in support of Information Operations recognizes future threats to the Air Force, and our response to these threats, will occur in cyberspace. OSI's support to Information Operations comes in many facets. OSI's computer crime investigators provide rapid worldwide response to intrusions into Air Force system.
Technology Protection. The desires of potential adversaries to acquire or mimic the technological advances of the U.S. Air Force have heightened the need to protect critical Air Force technologies and collateral data. The AFOSI Research and Technology Protection Program provides focused, comprehensive counterintelligence and core mission investigative services to safeguard Air Force technologies, programs, critical program information, personnel and facilities.
Specialized Services. AFOSI has numerous specialists who are invaluable in the successful resolution of investigations. They include technical specialists, polygraphers, behavioral scientists, computer experts and forensic advisers..
Defense Cyber Crime Center. The Secretary of the Air Force through AFOSI is the DOD executive agent for the Defense Cyber Crime Center which comprises the the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory, the Defense Computer Investigations Training Academy and the Defense Cyber Crime Institute. The forensics laboratory provides computer-evidence processing, analysis, and diagnosis to support DOD counterintelligence, terrorism, criminal, and fraud investigations. The cyber training academy produces cyber investigators and digital forensics examiners to support DOD, while the institute performs
software test and validation and research and development on forensic
software and hardware tools.
Antiterrorism teams. Created out of a need to meet the increasing challenges presented by worldwide terrorism, AFOSI antiterrorism teams are maintained around the globe. These highly trained and specialized units stand ready on a moment's notice to deploy globally to provide antiterrorism, counterintelligence information collections and investigative services to Air Force personnel and units.
Training and Physical Requirements
All new AFOSI special agent recruits -- whether officer, enlisted or civilian -- receive their entry-level training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga. The training requires that each recruit meet physical requirements that are located on the FLETC web site at www.fletc.gov. The candidates attend a mandatory, 11-week Criminal Investigator Training Program with other federal law enforcement trainees. That course is followed by six weeks of AFOSI agency-specific coursework. Both courses offer new agents training in firearms and other weapons, defensive tactics, forensics, surveillance and surveillance detection, antiterrorism techniques, crime scene processing, interrogations and interviews, court testimony, and military and federal law.
Upon graduation, new AFOSI special agents spend a one-year probationary period in the field. Upon successful completion, some agents receive specialized training in economic crime, antiterrorism service, counterintelligence, computer crimes and other sophisticated criminal investigative capabilities. Others attend 12 weeks of technical training to acquire electronic, photographic and other skills required to perform technical surveillance countermeasures. Experienced agents selected for polygraph duties attend a 14-week DOD course.
Each recruit is expected to participate in each of the following exercises: flexibility, bench press, 1.5 mile run/walk and agility run. All students are tested to determine their fitness level, and each test is age and gender normed. Special agents are expected to remain physical fit throughout their employment and are allowed five hours of duty time to participate in physical fitness activities.
AFOSI was founded Aug. 1, 1948, at the suggestion of Congress to consolidate investigative activities in the U.S. Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington created OSI and patterned it after the FBI. He appointed Special Agent Joseph Carroll, an assistant to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, as the first AFOSI commander and charged him with providing independent, unbiased and centrally directed investigations of criminal activity in the Air Force.