OSI space support marks end of an era, ushers in the next

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • AFOSI Public Affairs

For more than seven decades the Air Force Office of Special Investigations has been at the forefront of law enforcement and counterintelligence operations in multiple domains – including space.

On Dec. 20, 2019, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket took off from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., as part of commercial crew program test flight.

Then, on Jan. 6, 2020, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from SLC-40, carrying an installment of Starlink satellites.

Although only separated by seventeen days, the launches signaled the end of an era and the beginning of another. They respectively represented the final launch of the United States Air Force and the inaugural launch of the United States Space Force.

Prior to both launches, special agents from AFOSI Detachment 802, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., worked behind the scenes with industry security representatives, 45th Space Wing personnel and federal law enforcement partners to ensure successful launch operations.

“There is a tremendous source of pride in witnessing and participating in the birth of our nation’s newest military service,” said Lt. Col. John Longmire, Det. 802 Commander. “Det. 802 is humbled to be just a small part of what will be United States Space Force history, and is honored to represent OSI in that capacity.”    

Specifically, the integrated and collaborative approach among the participating agencies and organizations, helped identify foreign collection opportunities and potential threats to the space supply chain as both payloads and launch platforms transited the United States.

“I feel blessed to be part of this amazing team that supported such a historic moment for our nation and its newest service,” said Special Agent Daniel Jernstedt, Det. 802 Superintendent. “We look forward to watching it grow, all the while knowing we were there when it started.”

SA Michael Burgess of Det. 802 echoed those sentiments.

“It’s inspiring to influence history and to play a significant part in what will be the world’s greatest Space Force,” he said.