Naval Criminal Investigative Service

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United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service
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The NCIS logo
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Seal of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service
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Badge of an NCIS Special Agent
AbbreviationNCIS
Agency overview
Formed1992
Preceding agency
  • Naval Investigative Service (NIS)
Employees2,500 (90% civilian)
Annual budgetUS$460 million (2009) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyUnited States
Operations jurisdictionUnited States
General nature
HeadquartersRussell-Knox Building, MCB Quantico, Virginia, U.S.[2]
Special agents1,250
Agency executives
  • Omar Lopez, Director [3]
  • Rod Baldwin, Deputy Director of Operations [3]
  • Mark Russ, Deputy Director of Operational Support [3]
Parent agencyUnited States Department of the Navy
Units
Field offices
Facilities
CarsDodge Chargers, Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors, Cadillacs (Protective Operations)
Website
www.ncis.navy.mil

The United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is the primary law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of the Navy. Its primary function is to investigate criminal activities involving the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, though its broad mandate includes national security, counterintelligence, counter-terrorism, cyber warfare, and the protection of U.S. naval assets worldwide. NCIS is the successor organization to the former Naval Investigative Service (NIS), which was established by the Office of Naval Intelligence after the Second World War.

The vast majority of NCIS personnel are civilian, with half being special agents. NCIS agents are armed federal law enforcement investigators, who frequently coordinate with other U.S. government agencies and have a presence in nearly 200 countries and on U.S. Navy vessels. NCIS special agents are supported by analysts and other experts skilled in disciplines such as forensics, surveillance, surveillance countermeasures, computer investigations, physical security, and polygraph examinations.

History

Origins

NCIS traces its roots to Navy Department General Order 292 of 1882, signed by William H. Hunt, Secretary of the Navy, which established the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Initially, ONI was tasked with collecting information on the characteristics and weaponry of foreign vessels, charting foreign passages, rivers, or other bodies of water, and touring overseas fortifications, industrial plants, and shipyards.

In anticipation of the United States' entry into World War I, ONI's responsibilities expanded to include espionage, sabotage, and all manner of information on the U.S. Navy's potential adversaries. In World War II ONI became responsible for the investigation of sabotage, espionage and subversive activities that posed any kind of threat to the Navy.

NIS and the Cold War

The major buildup of civilian special agents began with the Korean War in 1950, and continued through the Cold War years. In 1966 the name Naval Investigative Service (NIS) was adopted to distinguish the organization from the rest of ONI, and in 1969 NIS special agents were reclassified from contract employees and became Excepted Civil Service.

In the early 1970s, an NIS special agent was stationed on USS Intrepid for six months. This marked the beginning of the "Deployment Afloat" program, now called the Special Agent Afloat program, which deploys special agents for year-long assignments aboard carrier battle groups and amphibious readiness groups. In 1972, background investigations were transferred from NIS to the newly formed Defense Investigative Service (DIS), allowing NIS to give more attention to criminal investigations and counter-intelligence. The 1970s also saw NIS' first female agent, who was stationed at Naval Air Station Miramar, California in 1975.

In 1982, NIS assumed responsibility for managing the U.S. Navy's Law Enforcement and Physical Security Program and the U.S. Navy's Information and Personnel Security Program. Additionally, in 1982, two classes of NIS Special Agents were trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, in an assessment of the school's capability to train military investigators. Prior to this and subsequently until 1984, NIS Special Agent Training was in ONI Headquarters in Suitland, Maryland. In 1984, NIS Special Agents began training at FLETC, along with other federal investigative agencies, except for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Two months after the October 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, the agency opened the Navy Antiterrorist Alert Center (ATAC), a 24-hour-a-day operational intelligence center that issued indications and warnings on terrorist activity to Navy and Marine Corps commands. ATAC was the facility at which Jonathan Pollard was working when he committed the acts of espionage for which he was convicted in 1987. In 2002 the ATAC became the Multiple Threat Alert Center (MTAC).

In 1985, Cathal L. Flynn became the first admiral to lead NIS. The command took on the additional responsibility of Information and Personnel Security. In 1986, the Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility (DoN CAF) was established and placed under the agency, as the agency was now once again responsible for adjudicating security clearances (although not the actual investigations). DoN CAF renders approximately 200,000 eligibility determinations annually for the Department of the Navy.

In 1991, NIS was responsible for investigating the Tailhook scandal, which involved allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment by Naval and Marine Corps officers in Las Vegas, Nevada. Subsequent to this investigation, and at the direction of the chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Sam Nunn, the Naval Investigative Service was restructured into the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). The restructuring occurred as a result of perceived lapses in proper investigative technique over the Tailhook scandal, as well as chain of command issues and a lack of civilian oversight in previous investigations. At the time, Senator Nunn stated, "The Navy's whole investigative technique should be under serious question." As a result of the investigation into the Tailhook scandal, the Pentagon's inspector general was sharply critical of NIS leadership, stating that there was a top-down culture showing a lack of cooperation with other authorities in the Navy.[4] By 1992, Acting Secretary of the Navy, Sean O'Keefe, recommended the word "Criminal" be included in NIS's name in order to make clear their investigative function. Ultimately, NIS commander, Rear Adm. Duvall Williams Jr., was forced to retire and NIS was reorganized as NCIS under civilian leadership.[5]

Recent history

In 1992, the NCIS mission was again clarified and became a mostly civilian agency. Roy D. Nedrow, a former United States Secret Service (USSS) executive, was appointed as the first civilian director and the name changed from Naval Investigative Service to Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Nedrow oversaw the restructuring of NCIS into a Federal law enforcement agency with 14 field offices controlling field operations in 140 locations worldwide. In 1995, NCIS introduced the Cold Case Homicide Unit, the first dedicated federal-level cold case homicide unit. The unit has resolved 61 cases since 1995.[6]

In May 1997, David L. Brant was appointed Director of NCIS by Secretary of the Navy John Howard Dalton. Director Brant retired in December 2005. He was succeeded by Director Thomas A. Betro who was appointed Director of NCIS in January 2006, by Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter. Betro retired in September 2009. On September 13, 2009, Deputy Director of Operations Gregory A. Scovel was appointed Acting Director by Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work. He served concurrently as Deputy Director for Operations until the new Director was selected.

In 1999, NCIS and the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division (USMC CID) signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the integration of Marine Corps CID into NCIS. (USMC CID continues to exist to investigate misdemeanors and felonies and other criminal offenses not under NCIS investigative jurisdiction.)[7]

In 2000, Congress granted NCIS civilian special agents authority to execute warrants and make arrests. Virtually all NCIS investigators, criminal, counterintelligence, and force protection personnel are now sworn civilian personnel with powers of arrest and warrant service. The exceptions are a small number of reserve military elements engaged in counter-intelligence support.

A growing appreciation of the changing threat facing the Department of the Navy in the 21st century, culminating with the terrorist bombing of the USS Cole (DDG-67) in Yemen and the attacks on September 11, 2001, led NCIS to transform the Anti-terrorist Alert Center into the Multiple Threat Alert Center (MTAC) in 2002.

NCIS agents were the first U.S. law enforcement personnel on the scene at the USS Cole bombing, the Limburg bombing and the terrorist attack in Mombasa, Kenya.

NCIS has conducted fraud investigations resulting in over half a billion dollars in recoveries and restitution to the U.S. government and the U.S. Navy since 1997. NCIS investigates any death occurring on a Navy vessel or Navy or Marine Corps aircraft or installation (except when the cause of death is medically attributable to disease or natural causes). NCIS oversees the Master-at-Arms programs for the Navy, overseeing 8800 Masters-at-Arms and the Military Working Dog program. NCIS's three strategic priorities are to prevent terrorism, protect secrets, and reduce crime.

Current missions for NCIS include criminal investigations, force protection, cross-border drug enforcement, anti-terrorism, counter-terrorism, major procurement fraud, computer crime and counter-intelligence.

NCIS Special Agent Peter Garza conducted the first court-ordered Internet wiretap in the United States.[8]

Jonathan Jay Pollard was an NIS analyst who was convicted of spying for Israel after being caught by NIS and FBI. He received a life sentence in 1987.[9]

On February 14, 2010, Mark D. Clookie became the fourth civilian Director of NCIS, having been appointed to the position by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.[10]

In June 2010, NCIS undertook a major reorganization which created a single Deputy Director position, having previously had two (Deputy Director of Operations and Deputy Director of Management and Administration), combination of the Combating Terrorism Directorate and the Counterintelligence Directorate into a single directorate (the National Security Directorate), and the creation of the Global Operations Directorate. The Global Operations Directorate was created to direct field elements in multiple functional areas that had previously been directed from NCIS Headquarters.[11]

In December 2012, the FBI released redacted documents regarding operations against Occupy Wall Street. In one FBI report, the NCIS is quoted as looking into links between Occupy and "organized labor actions" in December 2011.[12]

In January 2013, the Department of the Navy Central Adjudication Facility (DoN CAF) was consolidated, along with the other Central Adjudications Facilities within the Department of Defense (DoD), into a single organization, known as the DoD CAF, per the direction of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. The DoD CAF is currently the sole authority to determine security clearance eligibility of non-Intelligence Agency DoD personnel occupying sensitive positions and/or requiring access to classified material including Sensitive Compartmented Information.[11][13]

On October 7, 2013, Andrew L. Traver became the fifth civilian Director of NCIS, having been appointed to the position by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.[3] Traver leads an agency that is composed of some 2,500 civilian and military personnel and has a presence in over 150 locations worldwide. He is responsible for executing an annual operating budget of approximately $460 million.

In 2014, in the aftermath of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, NCIS formed the Regional Enforcement Action Capabilities Training (REACT) team. REACT teams are designed to support investigations and "high-risk" enforcement operations within the United States, including high-risk operations that involve the service of arrest and search warrants, undercover agent and source protection/rescue, undercover operations, high-risk surveillance, and high-risk protective assignments.[14]

On June 4, 2019, Omar R. Lopez became the sixth civilian Director of NCIS, having been appointed to the position by the Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer. Director Lopez is responsible for approximately 2,000 personnel, including 1,000 federal special agents, in 191 locations around the world.[15]

In late 2019, NCIS went through additional organizational changes. In October, the Central Field Office was reactivated (having originally been deactivated at the end of 2015). As its name suggests, the Central Field Office is responsible for investigations and operations in the Central United States. In December, the position of Deputy Director was redesignated as the Deputy Director of Operations and the Principal Executive Assistant Director was redesignated as the Deputy Director of Operational Support.

Organization

Rank structure

The following is a listing of the rank structure found within NCIS for Special Agents:[11]

  • Field agents:
    • Special Agent (SA), can be designated as one of the following:
      • Junior Field Agent (JFA)
      • Field Agent (FA) / Resident Agent (RA)
      • Senior Field Agent (SFA) / Senior Resident Agent (SRA) / Special Agent Afloat (SAA)
    • Supervisory Special Agent (SSA)
    • Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) / Deputy Division Chief
    • Special Agent in Charge (SAC) / Division Chief
  • Senior Executive Staff: ‡
    • Deputy Assistant Director (DAD)
    • Assistant Director (AD)
    • Executive Assistant Director (EAD)
    • Deputy Director of Operations (DD-OPS) / Deputy Director of Operational Support (DD-OS)
    • Director

‡: The senior executive staff of NCIS is composed of sworn special agents as well as civilian personnel. Special agents and civilian employees who reach the rank of Executive Assistant Director are appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) or the Defense Intelligence Senior Level (DISL), respectively.

Badges and credentials

Permanent NCIS credentials consist of two cards that are completed, authenticated, and laminated. Card A (upper credential) identifies the agency, name, seal, and bearer title. Card B (lower credential) consists of a statement of authority, bearer photograph, credential number, the Director's signature, and bearer signature.[16]

  • Special Agent, issued a golden badge inscribed with the words Special Agent. Credentials and badge are only issued to 1811 Criminal Investigators and Marine Corps personnel designated as Special Agents. The bearer's authority is outlined on all Special Agent credentials as: "is authorized as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer to carry firearms and conduct investigations of violations of the laws of the United States of America for the Department of the Navy."[16]
  • Agent, issued a silver badge inscribed with the word Agent. Credentials and badge are issued to qualified and approved naval reservists who perform investigative or counterintelligence duties. The bearer's authority is outlined on all Agent credentials as: "is authorized to carry firearms and conduct investigations of violations of the laws of the United States of America for the Department of the Navy."[16]
  • Investigator, issued a silver badge inscribed with the word Investigator. Credentials and badge are only issued to 1810 Investigators who perform investigative and/or counterintelligence duties.
  • Operational Representative, issued a silver badge inscribed with the words Operational Representative when it is deemed necessary by the concerned Special Agent in Charge or Deputy Assistant Director. The badge of an Operational Representative conveys no police powers and is only used to quickly identify the holder as a law enforcement affiliate to ensure the employee's safety or to effectively accomplish his/her assigned operational duties.[16] Credentials are issued to personnel who actively participate as non-law enforcement officers in the operational aspects of criminal investigations and operations, counterintelligence investigations and operations, collection activity and analysis, and Department of the Navy law enforcement and security. Employees who qualify for these credentials include, but are not limited to the following series: intelligence specialist/intelligence operations specialist (0132), investigations specialist (1801), foreign national investigator (FN pay grades), investigative computer specialist (2210), Physical security specialist (0080), training specialist (1712), forensic scientist (1301), evidence custodian (0303), and Department of Defense military security personnel under the operational control of the Protective Operations Field Office.
  • Administrative Representative, no badge issued. Credentials are issued to professional administrative staff to conduct official business in furtherance of the responsibilities and mission of NCIS.[11]

Organizational structure

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is headed by the Director of NCIS who is directly responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the operations of NCIS. The Director is supervised by the Under Secretary of the Navy with the assistance of the General Counsel of the Navy and receives guidance from the NCIS Board of Directors, an advisory group chaired by the Under Secretary of the Navy that includes the General Counsel of the Navy, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Director of NCIS. The Director directs and supervises the activities of NCIS and exercises leadership through a strategic vision and exercises his/her direction through the Deputy Directors.[11]

The NCIS currently has two Deputy Directors, the Deputy Director of Operations, who is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of the operational directorates, and the Deputy Director of Operational Support, who is responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of the support directorates.[3]

The operational and support directorates are managed by an Executive Assistant Director with the exception of some support directorates, which are managed by an Assistant Director. An Assistant Director is also assigned to some operational and support directorates to serve as the Chief Operations Officer, responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of the directorate.[11]

The directorates and field offices of NCIS are:[17]

Headquarters

Russell-Knox Building, Quantico, Virginia

The Russell-Knox Building (RKB), named after U.S. Marine Corps Major General John Henry Russell, Jr. and U.S. Navy Commodore Dudley Wright Knox, was built based on the findings of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The commission authorized the project to build the RKB as there was a need to co-locate the headquarters of the different criminal investigative agencies of the U.S. military.[18][19][20]

Before the NCIS headquarters was moved to the Russell-Knox Building in 2011, it was located aboard the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.[21]

Office of the Director

The Office of the Director serves as the central administrative arm of the Director. The office encompasses the Director, the Deputy Directors, and the Director's Staff. The office is headed by the Chief of Staff who is accountable to the Director, via the daily supervision of the Deputy Director of Operational Support, for the effective operation and administration of the Office of the Director.[22]

Other components reporting directly to the Director and/or Deputy Directors are:[22]

  • Communications Director, Office of Communications
  • NCIS Inspector General
  • NCIS Counsel, Office of the General Counsel of the Navy
  • NCIS Comptroller
  • Chief Diversity Officer / Deputy Equal Employment Opportunity Officer
Behavioral Science Group

The Behavioral Science Group (BSG) supports the NCIS headquarters and field offices on a worldwide basis by deploying licensed psychologists with specialized training and experience in law enforcement psychology and national security. They are responsible for providing consultations to operations, investigations, and related projects and matters.

The BSG consultations provide insight into relevant behavior; optimizing criminal, counterintelligence, and counter-terrorism investigations and operations; and complimenting other resources such as analytical and technical expertise.[23]

Office of Military Support

The Office of Military Support (OMS) is composed of active duty and reserve US Navy officers and enlisted personnel. They perform in a variety of mission support areas in NCIS offices throughout the world, including protective service operations, supply and logistics, communications, administrative duties, intelligence, and security.[24]

Operational directorates

The operational directorates of NCIS are supervised by the Deputy Director of Operations who is the Chief Operations Officer of NCIS, responsible for criminal investigations, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, tri-service operations (Atlantic, Pacific, and Global), biometrics, technical surveillance countermeasures, behavioral science, technical services, Regional Enforcement Action Capabilities Training (REACT), polygraph services, and forensics.[25]

The NCIS currently has two types of operational directorates: functional and field.

The functional directorates are the National Security Directorate and the Criminal Operations Directorate. These directorates are responsible for outlining the goals and objectives of NCIS relating to their functional area through the Program Direction Document. The Executive Assistant Directors exercise direction and supervision of their Program Direction Document through the three field directorates. The EAD's also advise the Deputy Director of Operations on the three field directorate Executive Assistant Directors' performance in meeting the outlined goals and objectives.

The field directorates are the Atlantic Operations Directorate, Pacific Operations Directorate, and the Global Operations Directorate.

The geographic Atlantic Operations and Pacific Operations directorates are divided into field offices, each headed by a Special Agent in Charge (SAC), while the functional Global Operations Directorate is divided into field offices and field operational support elements, headed by Special Agents in Charge or Division Chiefs. The SAC / Division Chief is responsible for all operational, investigative, and administrative activities within their geographical/functional area of responsibility. They exercise leadership of geographic implementation of NCIS' goals and objectives through the direction and supervision of Assistant Special Agents in Charge (ASAC) and Supervisory Special Agents (SSA). In field offices with only one ASAC, the ASAC is the Chief Operations Officer of the field office, responsible for the day-to-day oversight and management of its activities. In field offices with multiple ASAC's, the ASAC's serve as the heads of specific functions within the field office (e.g. ASAC of Criminal Investigations or ASAC of Atlantic Operations). The field office headquarters also has specialized teams, headed by Supervisory Special Agents, ready to support the field office's subordinate units by dispatching experienced Special Agents and/or civilian investigators to assist in investigations if a prolonged investigation is required or the investigative resources required exceeds the subordinate unit's capabilities. Usually the senior-most Special Agent of the field team is designated as the Senior Field Agent who may also have some operational and/or administrative responsibilities.

The geographic field offices are divided into NCIS Resident Agencies (NCISRA) and NCIS Resident Units (NCISRU). NCISRA's are headed by Supervisory Special Agents (designated as Resident Agents in Charge) who supervise all sworn Special Agents and civilian personnel assigned to the NCISRA. Depending on the size or location of the NCISRA, the Resident Agent in Charge may also supervise other Supervisory Special Agents who serve as team leaders, responsible for a specific investigative/operational function within the NCISRA (e.g. SSA of Counter-Terrorism). Some NCISRA's are further divided into NCISRU's, which are small units consisting of only one or two Special Agents (designated as Resident Agents) who report directly to the Resident Agent in Charge of the "parent NCISRA." In NCISRU's which are staffed by multiple Special Agents, the senior-most Special Agent is designated as the Senior Resident Agent and may also have some operational and/or administrative responsibilities. NCIS Special Agent Afloat duty posts are also classified as NCISRU's (e.g. NCISRU USS George H.W. Bush). NCISRU's afloat are under the functional supervision of the field office responsible for the vessel's homeport but receive operational support from the field office responsible for the area where the ship is sailing in.[11]

National Security Directorate

The National Security Directorate has program management oversight of counter-terrorism/counterintelligence investigations and operations, including espionage, terrorism, compromise, technology transfer, cyber intrusion, insider threat, and threats to research development and acquisition programs. The directorate is also responsible for manning, training, and equipping of agency personnel to protect Navy and Marine Corps forces, operations, information, facilities, equipment, and networks from attacks and the intelligence activities of foreign governments and international terrorist organizations.[26]

The National Security Directorate is managed by an Executive Assistant Director with the assistance of an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Criminal Operations Directorate

The Criminal Operations Directorate has program management oversight of a myriad of criminal investigations and operations which include death, sexual assault, narcotics, and procurement fraud investigations. The directorate is also responsible for the manning, training and equipping of agency personnel to accomplish the investigative mission, and for the operational execution of both reactive and proactive major criminal investigative activities for the Department of the Navy.[27]

The Criminal Operations Directorate is managed by an Executive Assistant Director with the assistance of an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Global Operations Directorate

The Global Operations Directorate is responsible for field elements which execute worldwide investigations and operations associated with espionage, counterintelligence, protective service operations, contingency response and high risk deployments, technical surveillance countermeasures, polygraph services, technical services, and forensic services.[28][29]

The Global Operations Directorate and nearly all of its subordinate elements are headquartered aboard Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling in Washington, D.C., although they maintain multiple operational detachments all over the world in support of geographical field offices. The only exception to this is the Contingency Response Field Office, which is headquartered at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers at Glynco, Georgia.[17]

  • Contingency Response Field Office (CRFO) — responsible for all NCIS high risk and contingency deployments.
  • Cyber Operations Field Office (CBFO) — conducts worldwide cyber investigations, proactive cyber operations, and cyber forensics support for the Department of the Navy (DON).
  • Office of Forensic Support (OFS) — provides forensic crime scene support to DON investigations.
  • Office of Special Projects (OSP) — conducts espionage investigations and offensive counterintelligence operations within DON.
  • Office of Strategic Support (OSS) — provides counterintelligence support to the Department of Defense (DoD) and DON special access programs, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as well as other DON/DoD research and development agencies.
  • Polygraph Services Division (PSD) — conducts DON criminal polygraphs, counterintelligence scope polygraphs, and pre-employment polygraphs.
  • Protective Operations Field Office (POFO) — provides and manages full-time protection details on key Department of the Navy personnel.
  • Technical Services Division (TSD) — provides DON positive technical support for criminal, counterintelligence, and counter-terrorism investigations and operations.
  • Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) — protects DON classified information and critical infrastructure from being compromised by technical means.
Areas of responsibility of the NCIS field offices.
NCIS U.S. Field Offices
Map of the U.S. based NCIS Field Offices and their subordinate Resident Agencies and Resident Units.
NCIS Field Offices
Map of all NCIS Field Offices and their areas of responsibility. (Outdated as of October, 2019.)
Atlantic Operations Directorate

The Atlantic Operations Directorate oversees all investigations and operations of NCIS field offices and numerous subordinate elements located throughout the Eastern United States, Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East, and aboard carrier and expeditionary strike groups based on the East Coast.[30]

The Atlantic Operations Directorate is currently headquartered aboard Training Support Center Hampton Roads, also known as "Dam Neck", in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[17]

  • Carolinas Field Office (CAFO) (Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina) — area of responsibility spans across North and South Carolina to provide support to Marine Corps and Navy installations throughout North and South Carolina.
  • Central Field Office (CNFO) (Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois) — area of responsibility spans across the Midwestern United States (excluding Ohio), and the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas to provide support to Navy Regional Commands and accompanying operational efficiencies.
  • Europe & Africa Field Office (EUFO) (Naval Support Activity Naples, Naples, Italy) — area of responsibility covers 35 countries within Africa Command and 51 countries within European Command, including major research and development sites, critical Department of the Navy logistics hubs, and multiple ballistic missile defense platforms and sites.
  • Middle East Field Office (MEFO) (Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Bahrain) — area of responsibility encompasses more than 20 countries in the Middle East, southwest Asia, and eastern Africa.
  • Norfolk Field Office (NFFO) (Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia) — area of responsibility spans encompasses the Commonwealth of Virginia, mainly to provide support to Navy and Marine Corps installations and Joint Forces Command in the Norfolk area.
  • Northeast Field Office (NEFO) (Naval Station Newport, Newport, Rhode Island) — area of responsibility spans across the Northeastern United States (excluding West Virginia and Virginia), the State of Ohio, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Isle.
  • Southeast Field Office (SEFO) (Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, Florida) — area of responsibility spans across the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, down to the Caribbean and into Central and South America.
  • Washington Field Office (WFO) (Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling, Washington, D.C.) — area of responsibility encompasses Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, West Virginia, and 26 counties in Virginia.
Pacific Operations Directorate

The Pacific Operations Directorate oversees all investigations and operations of NCIS field offices and numerous subordinate elements located throughout the Western United States, Asia, Australia, and aboard aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups based on the west coast and throughout the Indo-Pacific region.[31]

The Pacific Operations Directorate is currently headquartered aboard Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California.[17]

  • Far East Field Office (FEFO) (Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Japan) — area of responsibility spans across northeast Asia, including China, Japan, the Koreas, Mongolia, and eastern regions of the Russian Federation.
  • Hawaii Field Office (HIFO) (Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam, Honolulu, Hawaii) — area of responsibility spans across the State of Hawaii as well as Guam.
  • Marine West Field Office (MWFO) (Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California) — area of responsibility spans across the states of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado, along with certain areas of the State of California (areas surrounding MCB Camp Pendleton, MCAS Miramar, and MCAGCC Twentynine Palms).
  • Northwest Field Office (NWFO) (Naval Base Kitsap, Silverdale, Washington) — area of responsibility spans the Northwestern United States, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
  • Southeast Asia Field Office (SAFO) (Port of Sembawang, Singapore) — area of responsibility spans across the countries of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia.
  • Southwest Field Office (SWFO) (Naval Base San Diego, San Diego, California) — area of responsibility spans across the State of California, parts of Nevada, and down to Mexico.

Support directorates

The support directorates of NCIS are supervised by the Deputy Director of Operational Support, responsible for cyber, intelligence, human resources, material, capital, fiscal, acquisition, administrative, and technology functions.[32]

Administration and Logistics Directorate

The Administration and Logistics Directorate is responsible for directing the activities conducted by NCIS to enable the execution of its strategic mission, both in the short- and long-term, with facilities management, procurement management, logistics and supply management, security management, records management, and administrative services support. The directorate is also responsible for NCIS business operations that ensure a highly efficient administrative and logistics support program.

The Administration and Logistics Directorate is managed by an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Cyber Directorate

The Cyber Directorate has program management oversight of worldwide law enforcement and counterintelligence cyberspace investigations, operations, and digital/multimedia forensics.[33]

The Cyber Directorate is managed by an Executive Assistant Director with the assistance of an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.

The Cyber Directorate is responsible for outlining the goals and objectives of NCIS relating to the cyber domain through the Program Direction Document. The Executive Assistant Director exercises direction and supervision of the Program Direction Document through the three field directorates (Atlantic, Pacific, and Global). The EAD also advises the Deputy Director of Operational Support as well as the Deputy Director of Operations on the three field directorate Executive Assistant Directors' performance in meeting the outlined goals and objectives.[11]

Human Resources Directorate

The Human Resources Directorate is responsible for all human resource aspects, including staffing, pay and entitlements, employee relations, classification, transfers, promotions, human capital and leadership development, performance management, policy development, and recruitment. The directorate is also responsible for all training matters and oversees the operation of the NCIS Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers.[34]

The Human Resources Directorate is managed by an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Information Technology Directorate

The Information Technology Directorate is responsible for directing the activities conducted by NCIS to plan, implement, and maintain the NCIS IT infrastructure necessary to accomplish the strategic mission of NCIS in the short- and long-term. The directorate is also responsible for the effective use of NCIS information resources across the organization to successfully meet its goals and objectives and for NCIS business operations that enable the design, development, procurement, operation, and maintenance of NCIS information systems.

The Information Technology Directorate is managed by an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Intelligence and Information Sharing Directorate

The Intelligence and Information Sharing Directorate directs NCIS' activities to provide intelligence, analysis, and related products to better understand the terror, intelligence, cyber, and criminal threats to the Department of the Navy and to meet priority intelligence requirements. The directorate is also responsible for the collection, analysis, exploitation, and sharing of criminal, counterintelligence, and terrorism information in direct support of NCIS operations and investigations, along with directing NCIS' Multiple Threat Alert Center and the Department of Defense Global Watch.[35]

The Intelligence and Information Sharing Directorate is managed by an Executive Assistant Director with the assistance of an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Planning and Strategy Directorate

The Planning and Strategy Directorate develops overarching agency strategies and provides the program planning, evaluation, and performance assessment necessary to accomplish the strategic mission of NCIS. The directorate also serves as a consultant to Department of Defense and Department of the Navy sponsors on financial management and critical resource issues and manages public engagement and congressional activities.[36]

The Planning and Strategy Directorate is managed by an Executive Assistant Director with the assistance of an Assistant Director. The directorate is divided into multiple programmatic departments which are headed by Deputy Assistant Directors. The departments are further divided into divisions led by Division Chiefs.[11]

Specialized programs

Special Agents Afloat

An NCIS special agent, assigned to the USS Kearsarge, gives a girl a drink of water during a medical assessment of a local village during hurricane relief operations in Haiti in 2008.

The Special Agent Afloat Program of NCIS sends NCIS Special Agents aboard U.S. aircraft carriers and other ships (for example, hospital ships and amphibious assault ships).[37] The purpose of the program is to provide professional investigative, counterintelligence, and force protection support to deployed Navy and Marine Corps commanders. These special agents are assigned to aircraft carriers and other deployed major combatants. Their environment can best be described as a "floating city." The assignment offers many of the same investigative challenges found by any criminal investigator working in a metropolitan city. A special agent assigned to a carrier must be skilled in general criminal investigations including: crime scene examination, expert interview techniques, and use of proactive law enforcement procedures to stop criminal activity before it occurs. The special agent afloat also provides guidance on foreign counterintelligence matters, including terrorism. It is also the mission of the special agent afloat to offer Navy and Marine Corps leadership advice and operational support on security issues which might threaten the safety of ships, personnel and resources.

The Special Agent Afloat (SAA) program was initiated in Europe during March 1967. In April 1971, a special agent was assigned to a deployed carrier for a period of six months with the designation of SAA. By 1978, SAA personnel were assigned to each operational aircraft carrier in the U. S. Navy for a one-year assignment. In 1986, a trial began where two Special Agents Afloat were assigned to aircraft carriers in an effort to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of having two agents assigned full-time while deployed, one focusing on law enforcement/criminal investigations and one on foreign counterintelligence. The trial was discontinued when no longer considered viable.[11]

Protective Operations

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is the only entity within the Department of the Navy authorized to conduct protection of Department of Defense/Department of the Navy (DOD/DON) High Risk Billets (HRB). The mission of the NCIS Protective Operations Field Office (POFO) is to prevent terrorist and/or criminal attacks on principals under NCIS executive protection coverage and execute the necessary and appropriate response to a threat and/or attack on a principal. POFO will also initiate investigations on individuals and groups who meet a specific threshold when a threat is detected or needs to be validated.

NCIS provides and manages full-time protection details on key Department of the Navy personnel, including:

To supplement POFO's operational mission, it maintains an internal Protective Intelligence Unit (PIU) to identify potential threats that could affect a principal, understand a principal's level of vulnerability to any given threat, and use available intelligence to mitigate threats and/or risk to a principal. The Protective Intelligence Unit works extensively with the U.S. Secret Service, Pentagon Force Protection Agency, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the U.S. Marshals Service.[38]

Multiple Threat Alert Center

The Multiple Threat Alert Center (MTAC) utilizes NCIS' worldwide presence and combination of law enforcement, counterintelligence, intelligence and security capabilities to identify a wide range of threats to Navy and Marine Corps personnel and assets around the world. The MTAC is a unique platform in that it merges intelligence from other agencies with information from NCIS source networks and law enforcement activities worldwide to provide the most relevant operational support to Navy and Marine Corps commanders.[39]

Regional Enforcement Action Capabilities Training Team

In 2014, in the aftermath of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, NCIS formed the Regional Enforcement Action Capabilities Training (REACT) team. REACT teams are designed to support investigations and "high-risk" enforcement operations within the United States, including high-risk operations that involve the service of arrest and search warrants, undercover agent and source protection/rescue, undercover operations, high-risk surveillance, and high-risk protective assignments.[14]

REACT team is organized, equipped, directed, and controlled by the Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Investigations and Operations Department, Criminal Operations Directorate, and is under the direction of the REACT commander and deputy commander. Because of NCIS' changing needs and mobility, realignments of field offices, and geographical differences, the composition of each team may vary. In general, each REACT team will be composed of one team leader (TL), one assistant team leader (ATL), and multiple tactical operators. Assignment to REACT is strictly voluntary and REACT is classified as a collateral duty, meaning Special Agents assigned to REACT remain in their original assignments within the field office when not called into service with REACT.

If REACT assistance is determined to be necessary, the field office SAC or his/her designee will contact the REACT commander, or deputy commander if the commander is unavailable, for further discussion and evaluation. The Deputy Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations and Operations maintains final approval authority for the use of REACT and the execution of a proposed operation.[40]

Directors of NCIS

Portrait Name Term Notes Appointer
1 Roy D. Nedrow.jpg Roy D. Nedrow December 1992[41] – March 1997[41]
(4 years, 3 months)
Previously a Deputy Assistant Director of the United States Secret Service. Sean O'Keefe
2 David L. Brant.jpg David L. Brant May 1997[42] – December 2, 2005[42]
(8 years, 7 months)
John Howard Dalton
- Robert C. Thompson.PNG Robert C. Thompson
(Acting)
December 3, 2005[42] – January 8, 2006[43]
(1 month and 6 days)
NCIS Deputy Director for Management and Administration; Acting Director. Dionel M. Aviles
(Under Secretary of the Navy)
3 Thomas A. Betro.jpg Thomas A. Betro January 9, 2006[43] – September 12, 2009[44]
(3 years, 8 months and 3 days)
Previously the NCIS Deputy Director for Operations. Donald C. Winter
- Gregory A. Scovel
(Acting)
September 13, 2009[44] – February 13, 2010[45]
(5 months)
NCIS Deputy Director for Operations; Acting Director. Robert O. Work
(Under Secretary of the Navy)
4 Mark D. Clookie.jpg Mark D. Clookie February 14, 2010[45] – March 2, 2013[46]
(3 years and 16 days)
Previously the NCIS Executive Assistant Director of the Combating Terrorism Directorate. Ray Mabus
- Mark D. Ridley.JPG Mark D. Ridley
(Acting)
March 3, 2013[46] – October 6, 2013[47]
(7 months and 3 days)
NCIS Deputy Director; Acting Director. Ray Mabus
5 AndrewTraver.jpg Andrew L. Traver October 7, 2013[47] – June 3, 2019[48]
(5 years, 7 months and 27 days)
Previously the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver, Colorado Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Ray Mabus
6 Omar R. Lopez.png Omar R. Lopez June 4, 2019[48] – Present
(6 months and 10 days)
Previously the NCIS Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Directorate. Richard V. Spencer

Armaments

SIG Sauer P229 DAK

As of 2019, the current standard issue pistols of NCIS Academy graduates are the SIG Sauer P229R and the SIG Sauer P239 in .40 S&W. Previously, both pistols were equipped with the SIG Sauer DAK (Double Action Kellerman) trigger system.[49] Pistols with the DAK trigger remain in use. The previous standard issue pistol was the SIG Sauer M11 (P228) in 9×19mm. Agents may also qualify with a weapon from an approved list of manufacturers in .38 Special, 9×19mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP.

Field Offices are issued a number of Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 shotguns in 12 Gauge and the M4 platform for use when appropriate.

For combat environments, special agents are issued the U.S. Navy MK18.

In popular culture

Television
  • In 2003, the series NCIS began as a spin-off of JAG and features a fictional representation of the Major Case Response Team, consisting of a team of NCIS agents based at Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C.. David Brant and Thomas Betro, two former directors of NCIS, both had minor cameo appearances in the series during their respective tenures as Director.
    • In 2009, that series spun off NCIS: Los Angeles, featuring a fictional representation of the Office of Special Projects, based in Los Angeles that specializes in undercover assignments. Former NCIS Director Mark D. Clookie had a minor cameo appearance in the third season of the series, appearing as "NCIS Special Agent Clookie". Andrew Traver (fifth Director of NCIS) also had a minor appearance in the seventh season of the series, appearing as "NCIS Special Agent Gates".
    • A second spin-off set in a small NCIS Resident Agency in New Orleans (part of the Southeast Field Office), NCIS: New Orleans, started in 2014.
  • The Pentagon Channel aired a documentary in June 2009 entitled Recon: Military CSI about crime scene investigation techniques used in the theater of war by NCIS special agents.
  • The National Geographic Channel filmed a documentary entitled Inside the Real NCIS.[50]
  • Investigation Discovery filmed a 13-episode series called The Real NCIS highlighting thirteen different crimes solved by NCIS special agents.
  • In 2017, CBS began airing 48 Hours: NCIS, an extension of the 48 Hours investigative program focused on real life NCIS cases, and narrated by Rocky Carroll of NCIS.
Film
  • The 2000 film Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story is based on the 1995 best-selling book Dangerous Evidence. The book recounts the true story of NIS agents accused of framing an African-American Marine corporal for a crime he did not commit. CBS News journalist Ellis A. Cohen covered the story for 60 Minutes and then wrote the book and produced the Lifetime movie.[citation needed]
Books
  • In Richard Marcinko's book Rogue Warrior, he details his conflict with NIS. Later, an NIS investigation named "Iron Eagle" would result in a federal prison sentence.
  • Special Agent, Vietnam: A Naval Intelligence Memoir was written by former Special Agent Douglass H. Hubbard about special agents during the Vietnam War. Hubbard served as an NIS special agent in Vietnam from 1969 to 1972.
  • Author Mel Odom authored an NCIS series of novels entitled Paid in Blood, Blood Evidence, and Bloodlines.
  • The Crisis: A Dan Lenson Novel by David Poyer details the adventures of NCIS special agents in the Horn of Africa (HOA).
  • Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice was published in 2006. Written by retired NCIS Special Agent Ron Olive, it recounts the NIS investigation of Pollard.
  • The Smack Track, by Ian McPhedran, about how the Royal Australian Navy battles pirates, gun runners and drug smugglers in the seas of the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa along the infamous route known as the 'smack track'. Since about 2010, NCIS special agents are routinely assigned as law enforcement advisors afloat to serve alongside the Australian sailors looking for contraband.
  • Dick Tracy is a U.S. comic strip featuring a tough and intelligent police detective created by Chester Gould. In a prose novel by Max Allan Collins based on the strip,[citation needed] Dick Tracy Goes to War, Tracy accepts a direct commission as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and to go on active duty as an Agent of the Office of Naval Intelligence, the precursor to NCIS. In the comic strip, as detailed in the 1944 sequence pitting Tracy against an Axis spy Alfred "The Brow" Brau, Tracy is commissioned into the same position with ONI, but holds the rank of Lieutenant.

See also

Military criminal investigative organizations

Federal law enforcement

JAG Corps

Intelligence

References

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Further reading

External links

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