QUANTICO, Va. --
As the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Investigations, Collections, and Operations Nexus (ICON) and AFOSI Field Investigations Region 7 have matured and evolved the last several years, there were compelling indicators that merging these two units would create a more efficient organization to enhance AFOSI mission effectiveness.
Headquarters Air Force agreed. And in a Jan. 3, 2018, memorandum Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, officially approved the merger and activation of the AFOSI ICON Center.
A “center” is an official type of Air Force unit. Organizationally, it’s typically above a wing but below a Field Operating Agency.
“There were many moving parts to ensure a successful rollout, like merging the phenomenal specialists in Region 7 with the tremendous capabilities and talent in the ICON for improved synergistic support to the field,” said Col. Scott M. Kieffer, Commander, AFOSI ICON Center. “Our goal was to have enough in place for the Center to declare initial operational capability by May 3, 2018, and full operational capability by Fall 2018.”
Several key advantages of this merge are that it:
• Aligns analysts and specialists into one organization that supports AFOSI investigations and operations around the world
• Unifies command, control and oversight of AFOSI’s strategic Offensive Counterintelligence, Cyber Threat Pursuit and Anti-Terrorism Specialty Team missions
• Eliminates redundant staffing needed for each to separately oversee these missions
• Affords leadership of this merged structure full awareness of all (tactical to strategic) matters affecting the execution of these missions as well as the impact they have to larger national security priorities
• Builds a deeper/stronger bench of AFOSI agents and analysts with better knowledge of and greater experience in working with senior Air Force leadership and national counterpart agencies
• Enhances the AFOSI commander’s ability to provide senior Air Force leadership with a synchronized, integrated and comprehensive assessment of criminal and counterintelligence threats to the Air Force
Accordingly, a team was chartered to assess the optimal structure of this new unit and the results were briefed to the AFOSI Corporate Council in September 2015. While the details of the AFOSI ICON Center were being drafted, the intent was to have:
• Most (but not all) of the Region 7 squadron structure stay intact
• The Region 7 staff merge with the ICON staff
• The ICON “Desk” structure realign under five Associate Directors: Counterintelligence, Law Enforcement, Threat Response, Strategic Counterintelligence and Cyber Threat Pursuit
“The primary purposes of the Center are to ‘inform’ senior leaders and AFOSI of significant and relevant criminal, terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, ‘execute’ operations to exploit and neutralize strategic, multi-domain threats, and, most importantly, integrate’ analyst and specialty support in order to enhance AFOSI investigations around the world,” said Col. Kieffer.