United States Army Counterintelligence

United States Army Counterintelligence 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.[1]

United States Army Counterintelligence
U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command Seal
Counterintelligence Special Agent Badge
Flag of the United States Army
MottoCourage, Integrity, Perseverance
Agency overview
FormedOctober 1, 1977
Preceding agencies
Annual budgetClassified
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
United States
Operations jurisdictionUnited States
Legal jurisdictionNational Security Crimes and Foreign Intelligence Collection
Governing bodyDepartment of the Army
General nature
HeadquartersIntelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, VA
Parent agencyG-2, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ODCSINT)


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 "ACI"), and carry badge and credentials identifying their status as federal law enforcement officers. Within the Army, these agents have arrest powers (aka apprehension authority) and jurisdiction in the investigation of national security crimes such as treason, spying, espionage, sedition, subversion, sabotage directed by foreign adversaries, and support to international terrorism, while other criminal matters are investigated by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command aka Army CID.[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. They are considered Federal Law Enforcement under 1811 code. Meaning, they have powers of arrest and able to enforce federal, state and local crimes.

Most operational U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agents today operate under the auspices of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command, with the 902d Military Intelligence Group responsible for counterintelligence 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 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.

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 and the 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; protecting sensitive technologies; 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; 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.

Senior Counterintelligence 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.

Special Agent designations

The following is a list of all U.S. Army Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) for Counterintelligence Special Agents:

  • Enlisted: 35L - Counterintelligence Special Agent
  • Warrant Officer: 351L - Counterintelligence Supervisory Special Agent
  • Regular Officer: 35E - Counterintelligence Officer
  • Civilian: 0132 - Intelligence Specialist (Special Agent)

Note: Currently there is a plan in place to re-designate civilian Counterintelligence Special Agents from 0132 to a new 1800 series federal job code. The date for this change has not yet been determined. Additionally, beginning in FY2021, Counterintelligence Officers will be re-designated from 35E to 35A with a new officer skill identifier designating that they are Counterintelligence Special Agent qualified.

Selection and initial 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 222221 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 July 1, 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]

Note: As of 2015, CISAC at Fort Devens, MA, has been closed with a new U.S. Army Reserve CISAC being established at Fort Huachuca, AZ, alongside of the active duty school (the reserve CISAC has the same curriculum as the active component school, but has the ability to attend it in separate phases if necessary for reservists, similarly to the CISAC at Camp Williams, Utah).

Additional and advanced training

  • Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA): at Quantico, VA has numerous classified specialty and advanced counterintelligence courses for Special Agents of U.S. Army Counterintelligence, NCIS, OSI, and other agencies.[4]
  • Defense Cyber Investigations Training Academy (DCITA): as with numerous other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, DCITA also trains U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agents to be cyber criminal investigators and computer forensic specialists to support various counterintelligence investigations, operations, and collections.
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC): As of 2017, U.S. Army Counterintelligence is an official partner organization with FLETC and began regularly sending agents through the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP), the same course attended by numerous other U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • Joint Special Operations University (JSOU): As with other special operations support occupations, Counterintelligence Special Agents assigned to special operations units have the opportunity to attend several courses through JSOU located near US SOCOM Headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base.

Uniform and firearms

Counterintelligence Special Agents on operational/strategic and/or investigative assignments within the United States usually dress in professional civilian business attire. In tactical environments, they usually dress in tactical civilian attire or attire that supports the operational security of their mission, as well as, their investigative autonomy. However, given the broad range of CI activities, assignment type will dictate what clothing is appropriate, which can simply be civilian attire local to the area of operation. When forward deployed to combat environments and attached to specific types of military units (on specific missions), agents may wear the Army Combat Uniform for security purposes, but with rank insignia replaced with Department of the Army Civilian "U.S." insignia as required for investigative purposes. Although agents may be issued other weapons on special assignments, they are commonly issued a standard Sig Sauer M11 or M18 compact pistol as their primary weapon. For combat environments, special agents are also typically issued the M4 carbine.

U.S. Army Counterintelligence in the media

  • The 1988 movie Hotel Terminus, is a documentary which chronicles the life of former German SS Officer Klaus Barbie, and partially depicts his time working for U.S. Army Counterintelligence after World War II.
  • In the popular 1986-87 comic book series Watchmen and its later film adaptation, a character named Forbes is an Agent of U.S. Army Intelligence.
  • In the 1981 George Lucas and 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 1975 movie The Imposter, an ex-Army intelligence agent is hired to impersonate a rich builder who has been marked for assassination.
  • From 1973 to 1979, the television show MASH featured a recurring character named Colonel Samuel Flagg, who was likely a current or former Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) Agent
  • In a 1965 episode of the television show The Lucy Show, starring Lucille Ball, titled, Lucy and the Undercover Agent, Lucy becomes convinced a mysterious person at a restaurant is an enemy spy when in fact, he is an Army Intelligence Agent who thinks Lucy is a spy.

See also

Additional Department of Defense Criminal & Counterintelligence Investigative Organizations

Non-DoD Federal Counterintelligence Investigative Organizations

Additional Information

Notable U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agents


  1. United States Army Regulation 381-20, The Army Counterintelligence Program, May 25, 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, May 15, 2009
  4. DoD Instruction 5240.27, Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy
  5. "Noel Behn, 70, Novelist, Producer and Screenwriter". The New York Times. July 31, 1998. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  6. "Member Profile: Mr. Jim Gilmore". Republican National Lawyers Association. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  7. Isaacson, Walter. Kissinger: A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 47–49. ISBN 9780743286978. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  8. Colker, David (March 21, 2015). "Ib Melchior dies at 97; sci-fi filmmaker reset classic tales in space". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  9. "Isadore Zack; intelligence work led to fight for justice". Boston Globe. May 11, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
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