Air Force Office of Special Investigations
Abbreviation AFOSI
Air Force Office of Special Investigations
Air Force Office of Special Investigations emblem
USA - AF OSI Badge
Badge of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
Agency Overview
Formed August 1, 1948
Employees 2,900 (2007)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional Structure
Federal agency United States
General nature
Operational Structure
Headquarters Andrews AFB, Maryland
Agency executive Brigadier General Dana A. Simmons
Parent agency United States Air Force
Regions 8

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), is a Field Operating Agency (FOA) of the United States Air Force that provides professional investigative services to commanders throughout the Air Force. AFOSI identifies, investigates and neutralizes criminal, terrorist, and espionage threats to personnel and resources of the Air Force and Department of Defense using Special Agents.

AFOSI was founded August 1, 1948, at the suggestion of Congress to consolidate investigative activities in the Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington created AFOSI and patterned it after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (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. As of 2007, the AFOSI has 2,900 employees.[1]

The AFOSI 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 impacting Air Force readiness or good order and discipline,
  • Combat threats to Air Force information systems and technologies, and
  • Defeat and deter fraud in the acquisition of Air Force prioritized weapons systems.[2]


In addition to the FOA's headquarters, AFOSI has eight field investigations regions. Seven of the Regions are aligned with Air Force major commands:

While the regions serve the investigative needs of those aligned major commands, all AFOSI units and personnel remain independent of those commands, and their chains of command flow directly to AFOSI headquarters. Such organizational independence is intended to ensure unbiased investigations.

The single region not aligned with a major command is Region 7, the mission of which is to provide counter-intelligence 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, AFOSI owns more than 160 units worldwide.[3]



Several OSI agents at a US Air Force base

Threat detectionEdit

AFOSI 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.[citation needed]

Criminal investigationsEdit

The vast majority of AFOSI'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.[citation needed]

Economic crime investigationsEdit

A significant amount of AFOSI 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/PROBLEMS, environmental matters, acquiring and disposing of Air Force property, and major administrative irregularities. AFOSI 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 operationsEdit

The Air Force is now countering a global security threat to its information systems. The AFOSI's role in support of Information Operations attempts to recognize future threats to the Air Force, and its response to these threats will occur in cyberspace. AFOSI's support to Information Operations comes in many facets. AFOSI's computer crime investigators provide rapid worldwide response to intrusions into Air Force systems.[citation needed]

Technology protectionEdit

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.[citation needed]

Specialized servicesEdit

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.[citation needed]

Department of Defense Cyber Crime CenterEdit

Main article: Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center

AFOSI is the DOD executive agent for the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, comprising the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory, the Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy, and the Defense Cyber Crime Institute. The Laboratory provides counterintelligence, criminal, and fraud computer-evidence processing, analysis, and diagnosis to DOD investigations. The Institute provides research, development, and testing to provide "legally & scientifically accepted standards, techniques, methodologies, research, tools, and technologies on computer forensics and related technologies."[4] The Academy provides training in computer investigations and computer forensics to DOD investigators and examiners.[5]

Antiterrorism teamsEdit

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 AFOSI units are ready on a moment's notice to deploy globally to provide antiterrorism, counter-intelligence information collections and investigative services to Air Force personnel and units.[citation needed]

Training and Physical RequirementsEdit

All new AFOSI special agent recruits—whether officer (active duty and reserve), enlisted (active duty and reserve) or civilian—receive their entry-level training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynn County, Georgia. Candidates attend a mandatory, 11-week Criminal Investigator Training Program with other federal law enforcement trainees. That course is followed by an 8-week 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, counter-intelligence, 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.[citation needed]

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. AFOSI special agents are expected to remain physically fit throughout their employment and are allowed five hours of duty time per week to participate in physical fitness activities.[citation needed]

See also Edit

Air ForceEdit

Federal law enforcementEdit


External links Edit

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