United States Army Criminal Investigation Command

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United States Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID)
United States Army Criminal Investigation Division Seal.png
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division Seal
USA - Army CID Badge.png
CID Special Agent Badge
Motto"Do What Has To Be Done"
Agency overview
Formed17 September, 1971
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency United States
Operations jurisdiction United States
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersRussell-Knox Building, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, U.S.
Special Agents1400
Agency executives
Parent agency Department of the Army
CID Commands
  • 3rd MP Group
  • 6th MP Group
  • 701st MP Group
  • US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory
  • US Army Crime Records Center

The United States Army Criminal Investigation Division (USACID), previously known as the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) is the primary federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of the Army. Its primary function is to investigate felony crimes and serious violations of military law & the United States Code within the US Army. The division is a separate military investigative force with investigative autonomy; CID special agents, both military and civilian, report through the CID chain of command to the USACID Director, who reports directly to the Under Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Army.



The command does not charge individuals with crimes; instead, CID investigates allegations and turns official findings over to the appropriate command and legal authority for disposition and adjudication. CID exercises jurisdiction over military personnel who are suspected of offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as well as civilian personnel when there is probable cause to believe the person has committed an offense under the criminal laws of the United States with a nexus to the U.S. Army. CID special agents may be military personnel (NCOs or warrant officers), or appointed civilian personnel.

Within the United States Army, CID has exclusive jurisdiction in the investigation of all serious, felony level crimes with the exception of certain national security crimes such as espionage, treason, and certain aspects of international terrorism. Investigative jurisdiction within the Army of these crimes resides with U.S. Army Counterintelligence (ACI), although joint and parallel investigations can and do happen depending on specific circumstances (most commonly with terrorism investigations). [2]

USACIDC was established as a United States Army command in 1971 and is headquartered at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. Worldwide, the organization has slightly fewer than 3,000 soldiers and civilians, of whom approximately 900 are special agents. The initialism "USACIDC" is used to refer to the Army command itself, while criminal investigation personnel and operations are commonly referred to using the shortened initialism "CID", which has its history in the original Criminal Investigation Division formed during World War I and is still retained today for continuity purposes. The name restoration to Criminal Investigation Division became official after 2021 reform.


During World War I, General John J. Pershing ordered the creation of a separate organization within the Military Police Corps to prevent and detect crime among the American Expeditionary Force in France. The newly created Criminal Investigation Division (CID) was headed by a division chief who served as the advisor to the Provost Marshal General on all matters relating to criminal investigations. However, operational control of CID still remained with individual provost marshals, and there was no central control of investigative efforts within the organization, resulting in limitations. At the end of the war, the United States Army was reduced in size during the transition to peacetime and the size of CID shrank dramatically.

With the onset of World War II in December 1941, the armed forces rapidly swelled in size and the Army once again became a force of millions, and the need for a self-policing law enforcement system rematerialized. However, by early 1942, investigations of crimes committed by military personnel were still considered to be a "command function" to be conducted by local military police personnel. The Office of The Provost Marshal General felt that the agents in the Investigations Department were not properly trained for criminal investigations, the only investigations taking place at the time being personnel security background investigations for individuals being considered for employment in defense industries. As the Army had expanded, the crime rate had risen, and local commanders did not have the personnel or resources to conduct adequate investigations. By December 1943, the Provost Marshal General was charged with providing staff supervision over all criminal investigations, and a month later in January 1944, the Criminal Investigation Division was reestablished under the Provost Marshal General's Office. The organization exercised supervision over criminal investigation activities, coordinated investigations between commands, dictated plans and policies, and set standards for criminal investigators.

After the war, the CID was once again decentralized, with control of criminal investigations transferred to area commands in the 1950s and further down to the installation level in the 1960s. A Department of Defense study in 1964 entitled Project Security Shield made clear that complete recentralization of the Army's criminal investigative effort was needed in order to produce a more efficient and responsive worldwide capability. Beginning in 1965, criminal investigative elements were reorganized into CID groups corresponding to geographical areas in the United States. In 1966, the concept was introduced to units in Europe and the Far East. However, this arrangement did not fully resolve all the coordination problems, and in 1969, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Agency was established to supervise all CID operations worldwide.

As the agency did not have command authority, in March 1971, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird directed the Secretary of the Army to form a CID command with command and control authority over all Army-wide CID assets. On 17 September 1971, the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command was established as a major Army command, vested with command and control of all CID activities and resources worldwide. [3]

In 2020, the high profile case of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood raised concerns related to the capabilities, experience, and resourcing of the Command. The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (FHIRC) issued a finding that Fort Hood CID investigators assigned to their cases were hampered by a checklist mentality from their beginnings as junior investigators straight out of initial training from Fort Leonard Wood. [4] [5] The majority of CID investigators are then detailed to protective services for senior Pentagon officials, thereby moving straight to middle management CID positions without the requisite experience in criminal investigation. [5] The Provost Marshal is using the FHIRC report as a guide for reforming the CID. [5] Army Senior Leaders called for the transformation of the organization and authority over the agency was transferred from the provost marshal general to a civilian director reporting to the under secretary of the Army. [6] [7]

On 17 September 2021, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the agency, Special Agent Gregory D. Ford, formerly the Deputy Director of Operations for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, assumed responsibility as the first civilian director. Furthermore, it was also announced that the Criminal Investigation Command was being renamed the Criminal Investigation Division; which was first associated with the organization in 1918.

Selection and training

Military Special Agent candidates must be currently serving in the active Army or Army Reserve. There are no active Army National Guard CID units. Candidates must be enlisted soldiers who are US citizens, at least 21 years of age, and in the ranks of SPC-SGT or SSG with less than 12 months time in grade, and a graduate of the Basic Leader Course (BLC). Candidates must have had at least two years of military service, but not more than 12, at least one year of military police experience or two years of civilian law enforcement experience and a minimum of 60 college credit hours. Other requirements include (but are not limited to) credit checks, no physical limitation, and have the ability to deploy worldwide, normal color vision, the ability to obtain a Top Secret clearance, a drivers license and no history of mental or emotional disorders. Some requirements may be waived. [8]

To qualify for Warrant Officer positions, candidates must be at least a Sergeant/E-5, currently serving as a Special Agent, with 2 years of investigative experience with CID, have a Top Secret clearance and a bachelor's degree (waiverable). Candidates must have also demonstrated leadership potential, management abilities and good communication skills. [8]

CID does not currently employ Commissioned Officers as Special Agents. CID Battalions and Groups are commanded by Commissioned Officers from the Military Police Corps. These officers do not supervise the conduct of criminal investigations. Criminal investigations are conducted by field Special Agents and are typically supervised by senior Special Agents.

Civilian Special Agents are 1811 federal criminal investigators and sworn federal agents. These agents have both military authority to enforce violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and federal statutory authority to enforce all federal laws anywhere in the United States.

Military Special Agent candidates initially receive training at the US Army Military Police School (USAMPS) at Fort Leonard Wood where they attend the Apprentice CID Special Agent course. [9] [10] Later, agents may return to USAMPS to attend specialized training in Advanced Crime Scenes, Sexual Assault Investigations, Child Abuse Prevention and Investigative Techniques, Protective Service Training as well as other subjects. [9] [10]


CID at a crime scene US Army CID agents at crime scene.jpg
CID at a crime scene

The primary mission of the CID, according to the organization's website, [11] is to:

Additionally, CID may perform the following special missions:


US Army CID Headquarters, Marine Corps Base, Quantico. BASEREALINE.jpg
US Army CID Headquarters, Marine Corps Base, Quantico.

In addition to United States Army Criminal Investigation Division headquarters at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, CID commands six major subordinate organizations.
USA - CID Crest.png U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division


Military CID agents continue to be soldiers of the Military Police Corps. For official photographs, and certain duty assignments, they wear the uniforms, rank and insignia of any other soldier of their respective ranks. The design of the shoulder sleeve insignia has the central star and the lines of latitude and longitude suggesting a globe. Together with the arrowheads, they mark the points of a compass, symbolizing the basic worldwide mission of the command: To perform and exercise centralized command authority, direction and control of Army criminal investigation activities worldwide. Red, white, and blue are the national colors. The CID distinctive unit insignia has a central star symbolizing centralized command. The grid lines allude to the latitude lines of the globe, thus referring to the worldwide activities of the organization. The grid lines also suggest a stylized web, with eight sides representing the original eight geographical regions of the command. The web, a symbol of criminal apprehension, is the result of methodical construction alluding to the scientific methods of criminal investigations. The outer points of the star further symbolize far-reaching authority. Red, white, and blue, are the national colors and gold is symbolic of achievement. [12]

As criminal investigators, CID Special Agents typically dress in civilian clothing which range from professional suits, business/casual attire, or comfortable clothing when appropriate for their daily investigative responsibilities. Due to the nature of their work, undercover assignments dictate further variations of attire to support specific undercover mission requirements.

When deployed to certain combat environments, and during other special times and circumstances, CID agents wear Army Combat Uniforms, replacing rank insignia with subdued versions of officer "U.S." collar brass and sometimes wearing "CID" brassards on their upper left arms.


CID Special Agents are issued the 9mm Sig Sauer P320 sidearm, designated "M18". The Sig Sauer P228 designated "M11" is no longer issued. Through the personally owned duty weapon program, agents can be authorized to carry their personally procured firearm, with certain restrictions. For combat environments, Agents are also issued the M4A1 Carbine or shortened version, MK18, for protection missions. [13] [14]



See also

Federal law enforcement

JAG Corps

Other Military Investigative Organizations


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  4. FHIRC (NOVEMBER 6, 2020) Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee Redacted
  5. 1 2 3 Kyle Rempfer (15 Dec 2020) Army CID is burned out and mismanaged by military police leadership, special agents say
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