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United States Army Counterintelligence
Abbreviation CI
INSCOM Emblem.svg
U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command Seal
Counterintelligence Special Agent Badge
Agency overview
Formed October 1st, 1977
Preceding agencies
Employees Classified
Annual budget Classified
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
United States
Legal jurisdiction National Security Crimes
Governing body Department of the Army
General nature
  • Federal law enforcement
  • Military provost
Operational structure
Headquarters Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, VA
Parent agency Department of the Army

United States Army Counterintelligence is the component of United States Army 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.[1]


Military and civilian personnel trained and appointed to conduct counterintelligence investigations and operations are credentialed and titled as Counterintelligence Special Agents (occasionally referred to simply as "CI" or "Army Intelligence Agents"), and carry badge and credentials identifying their status as federal agents (federal law enforcement officers). Within the Army, these agents have apprehension powers and jurisdiction in the investigation of national security crimes such as treason, spying, espionage, sedition, subversion, sabotage with intent to damage national defense, and support to international terrorism, while other criminal matters are investigated by United States Army Criminal Investigation Command.[2][3] In other branches of the U.S. military, the counterintelligence mission is performed by the Office of Special Investigations for the Air Force, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for the Navy and Marine Corps, which also conduct general criminal investigations for their respective services. The Army continues to keep these two investigative channels separate via Army CI and Army CID, even though parallel investigations do happen periodically.

Most operational U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agents today operate under the auspices of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, with the 902nd Military Intelligence Group responsible for counterintelligence activities and operating field offices within the continental United States. Historically, the United States Army Counterintelligence mission was performed by the Corps of Intelligence Police during World War I, the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) during World War II & Cold War, and later by the now defunct U.S. Army Intelligence Agency.

Special Agent duties

Counterintelligence Special Agents are the operational/investigative personnel within United States Army Counterintelligence who actually conduct the various Counterintelligence activities. Duties may include the investigation of national security crimes using special investigative procedures; conducting counterintelligence operations; processing intelligence evidence; participating in technology protection activities; preparing and distributing reports; conducting source operations; debriefing personnel for counterintelligence collections; and supporting counter-terrorism operations.

Senior counterintelligence personnel 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; conduct surveillance operations; providing 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.

Senior Counterintelligence Special Agents are also often assigned to U.S. Army Special Forces groups to assist with Source Operations and intelligence investigations as required; while also working closely with HUMINT Collectors. These "Special Operations" CI Agents are granted the Special Qualification Identifier (SQI) "S" after successfully completing Airborne training, and after they have spent two years with a Special Forces unit; which may also require Agents complete additional unit level training and/or Ranger School.

Special Agent designations

If military, Counterintelligence Special Agents are designated by enlisted military occupational specialty 35L Counterintelligence Special Agent, warrant officer area of concentration 351L Counterintelligence Technician, or commissioned officer area of concentration 35E Counterintelligence Officer; if civilian, the 0132 series. On 1 October 2007, the former enlisted specialty 97B, Counterintelligence Agent, was redesignated as 35L, Counterintelligence Special Agent, to group all Military Intelligence specialties in the 35 series. In addition, the rank requirement was returned to a minimum of Sergeant/E-5, matching that of other special agents throughout the US Armed Forces.

Selection and training

The position of Counterintelligence Special Agent is not an entry level Army position, and applicants are usually drawn from the existing ranks. Department of the Army Pamphlet 611-21 requires applicants be able to:

  • Obtain a Top Secret security clearance with Sensitive Compartmented Information eligibility.
  • A physical profile (PULHES) of 222111 or better.
  • Be a minimum age of 21 after training for accreditation as a Special Agent.
  • Be a minimum rank of E5/Sergeant after training for accreditation as a Special Agent.
  • Possess an occupational specialty with a physical demands rating of medium.
  • Have normal color vision.
  • Have a minimum score of 105 in aptitude area ST on ASVAB tests administered on or after 1 July 2004;
  • Be a high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Possess good voice quality and be able to speak English without an objectionable accent or impediment.
  • Never been a member of the U.S. Peace Corps.
  • No adverse information in military personnel, Provost Marshal, intelligence, or medical records which would prevent receiving a security clearance under AR 380-67 including no record of conviction by court-martial, or by a civilian court for any offense other than minor traffic violations.
  • Must be interviewed per DA Pam 600-8, procedure 3-33 by a qualified Counterintelligence Special Agent.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must receive a command level recommendation for initial appointment.
  • Must not have immediate family members or immediate family members of the Soldier's spouse who reside in a country within whose boundaries physical or mental coercion is known to be common practice.
  • Have neither commercial nor vested interest in a country within whose boundaries physical or mental coercion is known to be a common practice against persons acting in the interest of the U.S.
  • Must receive a waiver for any immediate family members who are not U.S. citizens.

Becoming a credentialed Counterintelligence Special Agent requires successful completion of the Counterintelligence Special Agent Course (CISAC) at either Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Camp Williams, Utah, or Fort Devens, Massachusetts. 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]

Uniform and firearms

Counterintelligence Special Agents on assignment within the United States usually dress in professional business attire. Assignment type will dictate what clothing is appropriate, which can include civilian attire local to the area. When deployed to combat environments, agents may wear the Army Combat Uniform for security purposes, but with rank insignia replaced with Department of the Army Civilian "U.S." insignia. Although agents may be issued other weapons on special assignments, they are typically issued a standard M9 or M11 pistol. For combat environments, special agents are also issued the M4 carbine.

U.S. Army Counterintelligence in the media

  • In the George Lucas & Steven Spielberg movie Raiders of the Lost Ark starring Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones and his friend Marcus are briefed and sent on a mission by two U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agents to locate and recover the Lost Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can find it.
  • In the popular comic book and movie "The Watchmen", a character named Forbes is an Agent of U.S. Army Intelligence.
  • In the 1975 movie The Imposter, an ex-Army intelligence agent is hired to impersonate a rich builder who has been marked for assassination.

See also

Additional Department of Defense Criminal & Counterintelligence Investigative Organizations

Other Federal Counterintelligence Investigative Organizations

Additional Information

Notable Counterintelligence Special Agents


  1. 1.0 1.1 United States Army Regulation 381-20, The Army Counterintelligence Program, 25 May 2010
  2. United States Army Field Manual 2-22.2, Counterintelligence, page 2-3, Counterintelligence Investigative Jurisdiction
  3. United States Army Regulation 195-2, Criminal Investigation Activities, 15 May 2009

External links

United States Army sealThis military article is regarding a United States Army Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) designation.
All articles in this category can be viewed at Category:United States Army Military Occupational Specialty

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