United States Army Counterintelligence

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United States Army Counterintelligence
ACI Emblem.jpg
U.S. Army Counterintelligence Emblem
Army CI BADGE realistic.png
ACI Special Agent Badge
MottoCourage, Integrity, Perseverance
Agency overview
Preceding agencies
Annual budgetClassified
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
United States
Operations jurisdiction United States
Legal jurisdictionNational Security Crimes and Foreign Intelligence Collection
Governing body Department of the Army
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, VA
Parent agency G-2, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ODCSINT)

United States Army Counterintelligence (ACI) is the component of United States Army Military Intelligence which conducts counterintelligence activities to detect, identify, assess, counter, exploit and/or neutralize adversarial, foreign intelligence services, international terrorist organizations, and insider threats to the United States Army and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). [1]



ACI is one of only three DoD Counterintelligence (CI) entities designated by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, as a "Military Department CI Organization" or "MDCO." [2] The other two DoD MDCO's are the Department of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). As an MDCO, Special Agents of ACI are recognized federal law enforcement officers tasked with conducting criminal CI investigations in conjunction with other CI activities. Other CI entities within the DoD not recognized as MDCOs, such as Marine Corps Counterintelligence and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) have no direct criminal investigative mission and therefore are designated only as "intelligence" or "security" organizations; although they may assist in such investigations in a non-law enforcement capacity as authorized by Executive Order 12333 and applicable regulations.

ACI Special Agents are U.S. Army personnel, either military or civilian, who are trained and appointed to conduct CI investigations and operations for the U.S. Army and DoD. As federal law enforcement officers who are issued badge and credentials, they have apprehension authority and jurisdiction in the investigation of national security crimes committed by Army personnel including treason, spying, espionage, sedition, subversion, sabotage or assassination directed by foreign governments/actors, and support to international terrorism. They do not have jurisdiction over general criminal matters, which are investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID). [3] [4] In other branches of the U.S. military, both general criminal and counterintelligence investigations are performed by the same entity, as seen with AFOSI and NCIS who are also identified as "Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations." [5] The Army continues to keep these investigative activities separate via ACI and CID, although parallel and joint investigations happen periodically between these two U.S. Army agencies.

Most operational ACI Special Agents today work under the auspices of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) with the US Army Counterintelligence Command (USACIC) responsible for CI activities and operating field offices within the continental United States. Outside the continental U.S., the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade provides the same type of support in Hawaii and Japan, the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade supports South Korea, and the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade does so in Europe. The 470th Military Intelligence Brigade covers South America, the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade covers the greater Middle East, and the 650th Military Intelligence Group covers NATO missions in applicable countries. Other U.S. Army elements also have CI agents assigned to provide direct support such as those found within the various elements of Special Operations.


Prior to World War I, the U.S. military had no standing counterintelligence services, requiring the use of other elements to conduct counterintelligence activities, such as the Culper Spy Ring during the American Revolution, and by Allan Pinkerton and his private detectives during the U.S. Civil War. [6]

ACI was formed as a standing CI service in 1917 during World War I, as the Corps of Intelligence Police under the newly created Military Intelligence Division commanded by Colonel Ralph Van Deman. Later, it was renamed and reformed as the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) during World War II and the Cold War. In the early 1970's, following the disbanding of the CIC, ACI was completely restructured as a result of intelligence reform. ACI agents were placed under the control of different military intelligence organizations that followed into the present day under INSCOM.

Special Agent duties

ACI Special Agent duties include the investigation of national security crimes using special investigative procedures, conducting counterintelligence operations, processing intelligence evidence, conducting both surveillance and counter-surveillance activities, protecting sensitive technologies, preparing and distributing reports, conducting source/informant operations, debriefing personnel for counterintelligence collections, and supporting counter-terrorism operations.

Senior ACI Special Agents provide guidance to junior Special Agents and supervise their training; conduct liaison and operational coordination with foreign and U.S. law enforcement, security, and intelligence agencies; plan and conduct counterintelligence operations/activities related to national security; conduct high-profile counterintelligence collection activities and source operations ranging from overt to clandestine collection; supervise/manage surveillance operations; provide support for counterintelligence analytical products, to include preparing counterintelligence reports, estimates, and vulnerability assessments; and with additional training, may conduct technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM), credibility assessment examinations, or exploit cyber threats. Some ACI Special Agents are also cross-sworn and assigned to various federal task forces, such as the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in regions of the U.S. where the U.S. Army or DoD has significant assets to protect against terrorist threats.

Senior ACI Special Agents are also often assigned to U.S. Army Special Forces groups to assist with liaison, source operations, and intelligence investigations (typically in support of force protection); while also working closely with other intelligence collectors. These "Special Operations Forces (SOF)" CI Agents are granted the Enlisted Special Qualification Identifier (SQI) "S" or Officer Skill Code "K9" after successfully graduating from Airborne School, and after they have spent 12–24 months with a SOF unit; which may also require Agents complete additional unit level training and/or: Ranger School, SERE School, or applicable JSOU courses.

While conducting operations in tactical environments, Army CI/HUMINT personnel often work in small teams called HUMINT Exploitation Teams (HET). HET's are designed to not only collect and report HUMINT information but to also exploit that intelligence information by acting on it. HET's also conduct Counterintelligence activities designed to deny, detect and deceive the enemy's ability to target friendly forces.

Like their CID counterparts, ACI special agents are covered by the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), and may apply for LEOSA credentials to carry a personal concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States or United States Territories, regardless of state or local laws, with certain exceptions. [7]

Functions of Counterintelligence

US Army Counterintelligence (CI) Special Agents are not technically 1811's [8] but they are still Special Agents who conduct criminal investigations, and now even have the option of going to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) to enhance their training.

Unlike the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Office of Special Investigations (OSI), the Army separates their criminal investigators into two separate components known as United States Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and Army Counter-Intelligence. Army CID is responsible for investigating the more traditional range of criminal activity that most people would associate with the job of a Special Agent. On the other hand, Army CI is responsible for criminal investigations related to National Security Crimes like espionage, terrorism, sabotage, subversion, sedition, and treason while also taking on the role of traditional intelligence collectors.

The United States Coast Guard made the same decision when they established the Coast Guard Counterintelligence Service (CGCIS). The civilian counterparts for Army CID are classified as 1811's, [9] however the civilian counterparts for Army CI are classified as 0132's [10] in what is known as the Military Intelligence Civilian Excepted Career Program (MICEP). [11]


Investigation of National Security Crimes.

Investigating the defection of Military personnel and DA Civilians overseas.

Security Violations.

Investigations involving AWOL/deserters and suicides involving someone with access to classified material.


CI Special Operations/National Foreign Counterintelligence Program.

Offensive Counterintelligence Programs.

CI Support to Force Protection.


Intelligence collection related to foreign intelligence service activities.

Intelligence collection related to national security crimes.

Write intelligence information reports.

Intelligence debriefings.

Analysis and Production

CI analysis focusing on foreign intelligence and insider threat.

CI threat and vulnerability assessments.

CI studies of foreign intelligence services and insider threat.

Functional Services

CI Polygraph Program.

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM).

Special Agent occupational codes

Counterintelligence Special Agent Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes include:

MOS CodePersonnel TypeDuty Title
35LEnlisted (E1 – E7)Counterintelligence Special Agent
35YSenior Enlisted (E8 – E9)Chief Counterintelligence Sergeant
351L Warrant Officer (W1 – W5)Counterintelligence Technician
35A2ECommissioned Officer (O1 – O6)Counterintelligence Officer
0132CivilianIntelligence Specialist (Special Agent & Supervisory Positions)

The Army is planning to re-designate civilian agents from 0132 [10] to a new 1800 series federal job code. The date for this change has not yet been determined.

Selection and initial training

Department of the Army Pamphlet 611-21 requires applicants for Counterintelligence be able to:

This occupation has recently been made an entry level Army position, [12] though many applicants are still drawn from the existing ranks. Becoming a credentialed Counterintelligence Special Agent requires successful completion of the Counterintelligence Special Agent Course (CISAC) at either Fort Huachuca, Arizona, or Camp Williams, Utah. Newly trained special agents are placed on a probationary status for the first year after graduation for active duty agents, and for the first two years after graduation for reserve/national guard agents. This allows for the removal of the Counterintelligence Special Agent MOS if the probationary Agent is deemed unfit for duty as a Special Agent. [1]

Additional and advanced training

Uniform and firearms

ACI Special Agents within the United States usually dress in professional civilian business attire, and do not carry firearms. In tactical environments, they usually dress in tactical civilian attire or attire that supports the operational security of their mission. Given the broad range of CI activities, specific assignments will dictate what clothing is appropriate, which may be civilian attire local to the area of operation. When forward deployed to combat environments and attached to military units on specific missions, agents may wear the Army Combat Uniform but with rank insignia replaced with Department of the Army Civilian "U.S." insignia for investigative purposes. Although agents may be issued other weapons on special assignments, they are generally assigned a standard Sig Sauer M18 compact pistol. For combat environments, special agents are also typically issued the M4 carbine.

Notable U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agents

In films and television

See also

Other Military Department Counterintelligence Organizations

Additional Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations

Additional Department of Defense Counterintelligence Entities (Non-Law Enforcement)

Non-DoD Federal Counterintelligence Investigative Organizations

Additional Information

Related Research Articles

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  1. 1 2 United States Army Regulation 381-20, The Army Counterintelligence Program, May 25, 2010
  3. United States Army Techniques Publication 2-22.2-1, Counterintelligence Investigations, Counterintelligence Investigative Jurisdiction
  4. United States Army Regulation 195-2, Criminal Investigation Activities, June 9, 2014
  6. Stockham, Braden (2017). The Expanded Application of Forensic Science and Law Enforcement Methodologies in Army Counterintelligence. Fort Belvoir, VA: Defense Technical Information Center.
  7. https://leosaonline.com/LEOSAUniversalApplicationv7.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]
  8. "What is a 1811 Special Agent?". January 23, 2021.
  9. https://www.specialagents.org/
  10. 1 2 https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/classifying-general-schedule-positions/standards/0100/gs0132.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]
  11. "US Army Counterintelligence".
  12. 1 2 "Counterintelligence Agent".
  13. "Joint Military Intelligence Training Center (JMITC)".
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