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Detachment 509, United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations

(Contributed by: Dick Mondro - 5th Detachment AFOSI)

AFOSI Detachment 509 was assigned to Wurtsmith AFB and reported to AFOSI HQ, Bolling AFB, DC. It has been the Air Force's major investigative service since August 1, 1948.


The primary responsibilities of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations are criminal investigative and counterintelligence services. The organization seeks to identify, investigate and neutralize espionage, terrorism, fraud and other major criminal activities that may threaten Air Force and Department of Defense resources. AFOSI provides professional investigative service to commanders of all Air Force activities.

Personnel and Resources

AFOSI has about 2,000 personnel, of whom two-thirds are special agents. Eighty-eight percent of the special agents are military and 12 percent are civilian. AFOSI consists of seven regional offices, seven overseas squadrons and more than 160 detachments using a worldwide network of agents at all major Air Force installations and a variety of special operating locations.


Counterintelligence - The counterintelligence mission primarily is to counter the threat to Air Force security posed by hostile intelligence services and terrorist groups and to identify and assess the threat for Air Force commanders. 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 for espionage. This includes investigating the crimes of espionage, terrorism, technology transfer, computer infiltration and other specialized counterintelligence operations.

The counterintelligence mission also includes providing personal protection to senior Air Force and other officials as well as supervising an extensive anti-terrorism program in geographic areas of heightened terrorist activity.

Criminal Investigations - The vast majority of AFOSI's investigative activities involve general felony crimes. These crimes include robbery, rape, assault, major burglaries, drug trafficking and other criminal activities. The most complex of these crimes require investigators to use their specialized expertise and advanced techniques learned from initial training and on-the-job experience.

Economic Crime Investigations - A significant amount of AFOSI investigative resources are assigned to economic crime or fraud 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. 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.

Specialized Services - OSI has numerous specialists who are invaluable in the successful resolution of investigations. They include technical specialists, polygraphers, behavioral scientists, computer experts and forensic advisers. These investigators provide assistance when a specialized technique may move the investigation closer to a suitable conclusion.

Training - To do its investigative mission, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations recruits, selects and trains its own agents. Officer, enlisted and civilian candidates attend a mandatory, 10 1/2 week basic Special Investigator Course at the U.S. Air Force Special Investigations Academy, Washington, D.C.

The basic investigator course includes instruction in law, investigative theory, report writing, forensics, interview techniques and other subjects designed to prepare special agents for the challenges of investigative duty. Upon graduation, new OSI special agents spend a one-year probationary period in the field. Upon successful completion, the agents may return to Washington, D.C., for further specialized training in economic crime, anti-terrorism service, counterintelligence and other sophisticated criminal investigative capabilities.

Selected special agents attend 10 weeks of technical training to acquire electronic, photographic and other skills required to perform technical surveillance investigations. Experienced agents selected for polygraph duties attend a 14-week DOD course.