The U.S. Air Force Special Investigations Academy (USAFSIA) is located on the grounds of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Ga., where all new Air Force Office of Special Investigation recruits receive their entry-level investigative training. The Academy also conducts basic and advanced investigative courses at FLETC and several geographically separated sites.
The Academy's instructional staff is composed of education specialists, veteran officers, civilians and senior NCOs who have experience across the full OSI mission spectrum. Instructors attend Air University's Academic Instructor School and other specialized schools. One staff member is a forensics consultant, and the firearms instructors are Combat Arms Training and Maintenance managers.
Because OSI is a permanent-party partner organization at FLETC, some of the Academy staff is detailed to the FLETC staff to provide instruction not just to OSI recruits, but also to students from more than 97 other federal, state and independent agencies in attendance.
New OSI special agent recruits begin training at FLETC with an 11-week course called the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP). This course is attended by trainees from almost all federal investigative agencies. The CITP provides basic investigative training in law, interviewing, informants, defensive tactics, emergency driving, evidence processing, firearms, search and seizure, arrest techniques, report writing, testifying and surveillance. Students also participate in physical training several times a week.
The CITP is followed by eight weeks of training in OSI-specific coursework. In this course, topics of instruction include OSI organization and mission, ethics, investigative responsibility and jurisdiction, interrogations, military law, crimes against property and persons (physical and sexual), liaison, the role of investigative experts, computer crime, forensics, fraud investigations, environmental crime, counterintelligence collections and investigations and force-protection programs.
Throughout the OSI agency-specific course, students get to practice their newly acquired skills through a series of exercises that simulate the workings of a typical OSI detachment. Students receive intelligence, vet and recruit sources, plan narcotics purchases, search crime scenes, protect dignitaries, surveil suspects, attempt to detect suspects planning illegal activities and document their activities in a variety of investigative reports.
At the conclusion of 19 weeks of training, each new recruit is a knowledgeable, highly motivated investigator, confident that he or she can operate in real-world investigative environments.
Experienced agents routinely attend a variety of advanced Academy courses, such as economic and environmental crime investigations, technical services, protective-service operations, surveillance and surveillance detection, advanced firearms and defensive tactics, advanced deployed operations and others.
Selected agents attend 12 weeks of technical training to acquire in-depth skills in electronics and photography to perform technical surveillance countermeasures. Still others attend a 14-week Department of Defense course to learn polygraph administration.
Additionally, for all agents slated to command a detachment or operating location, a two-week course called Leadership Challenge Forum is conducted twice each year. The purpose of this course is to teach leadership and management skills necessary to be a successful commander or Special Agent in Charge.
Not all advanced training courses are conducted at FLETC. For example, force-protection courses are taught at the Air Mobility Warfare Center at Fort Dix, N.J.; and protective-services courses are taught in Richmond, Va. Regardless of a course's location, however, the Academy is directly involved in instructing, developing curriculum and managing a full complement of courses.
The basic and advanced curriculums - lesson objectives, lesson plans and examinations - are developed by the Academy staff with input from specialists from each of the criminal, fraud, and counterintelligence disciplines. Instructors are responsible for developing lessons, and they do so using a systematic approach. The result is a flexible, effective and balanced program of lecture, reading material, video presentations and practical exercises.