The Center: One year later

  • Published
  • By AFOSI ICON Center Staff

On May 3 2018, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations established its functional Center by combining the resources, capabilities, and authorities that were formerly housed separately within Region 7 and the Headquarters Squadron known as the Investigations, Collections and Operations Nexus (ICON).

Prior to the merger, the bonds between these two entities were unmistakable. The ICON served as the Command’s information processing center, while Region 7 housed the command’s specialists who would most often gather and operationalize that enriched intelligence.

This interwoven relationship saw the professionals in both units expertly execute the mission despite the physical separation. Nonetheless, the need for a more efficient way of doing business was apparent.

With the standup of the Center, lines of authority and avenues of de-confliction were streamlined for the strategic missions of Cyber Threat Pursuit and Offensive Counterintelligence Operations, while other efficiencies were gained through a unified analytical corps and by centrally anchoring disparate specialties.

By eliminating confusion caused by redundant points of entry, the overall support to the field was optimized and manifested through increased quality of support and decreased response times. The effort to streamline operations and amplify efficiencies has moved the Center closer to its overall goal of providing demonstrated value to the command at the speed of relevancy. 

AFOSI also benefited because a Center is an organizational entity much more recognized by the Air Force and Defense Department at large, and allows for lateral integration with its partners that share similar strategic centers within their enterprises. In larger Air Force context, AFOSI now has a Center much like the Air Force Personnel Center, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center and the Security Forces Center.

“As the Center completes its first year in existence, tangible advantages have already materialized as a result of consolidated command and control,” said Col. Scott Kieffer, AFOSI ICON Center Commander.”

One successful example occurred in September 2018, when the Center’s Criminal Integration Branch was informed of an investigation by Detachment 410, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, focused on an active duty instructor pilot working for the 87th Flying Training Squadron. 

Immediately upon seeing the information in the Electronic Notification Report, it was clear to the Center subject matter experts the case would need hands-on assistance from various ICON entities because the Subject showed intense pathway to violence indicators and the case received Major Command-level attention.

On the same day the information was passed to the Crim(inal) Branch, AFOSI’s Chief Investigative/Operational Psychologist conducted an Indirect Subject Threat assessment and coordinated with locally based Mental Health to provide situational awareness on relevant case specifics and clear guidance on a way ahead.

The next day, the 3rd Field Investigations Squadron utilized their Seven Surfers capability to conduct analytical research on the Subject’s social media presence. The Center also deployed a Technical Service Operations team and a Specialized Surveillance Team for technical, mobile and physical surveillance on the Subject within 2 days. That same day, an ICON Center Crim Desk Analyst traveled to Det. 410 to provide hands-on support and subject matter expertise to the ongoing investigation.

This rapid interaction of disparate, but centrally managed Center assets resulted in an event timeline that clearly depicted all of the Subject's documented nefarious actions and also created a detailed product for 19th Air Force, encompassing all of AFOSI's investigations on personnel assigned to Air Education and Training Command Flying Squadrons.

“As the dust settles on the merger we are now hitting our stride and as our team works each day to execute our mission of delivering agile, multi-disciplinary capabilities, and situational awareness to AFOSI operations and investigations, we greatly enhance key decisions being made across our global enterprise,” said Mr. Jack Angelo, Executive Director of the AFOSI ICON Center.