OSI's counterintelligence vital to Mobility Guardian 2023

  • Published
  • By Thomas Brading, OSI Public Affairs

Leveraging its counterintelligence and law enforcement expertise, the Office of Special Investigations was a key enabler to Air Mobility Command's most ambitious preparedness exercise to date, Mobility Guardian 2023, a mammoth exercise that unfolded across the Indo-Pacific region from July 5 - 24. 

“OSI Reg. 3 is tightly partnered with [MG23] participants to identify and counter adversary actions,” said Col. Brian Alexander, OSI 3rd Field Investigations Region commander.  “This exercise gives us the opportunity to pair with OSI units across the Pacific to address contested logistics and help protect strategic global mobility and the delivery of mobility effects.”

OSI’s 3rd Field Investigations Region, which is OSI’s wing aligned to support AMC, is leading the charge with its Agile Combat Employment, aptly named Spartan Odyssey, with special agents and counterintelligence analysts providing real-time support of the exercise, while also addressing contingency requirements, Alexander said. Spartan Odyssey members are joined by other special agents and analysts from OSI wings aligned to Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, and Air Force Space Command.  

The ACE initiative, while integral to the work of OSI, is far from an agency-led effort. It's a key component of a broader, Department of the Air Force movement that's driving an unprecedented level of readiness and advantage across the Joint Force.
“Mobility forces are going to be a central piece to how contingencies are supported in the Indo-Pacific AOR, said Special Agent Ed Uresti, 3 FIR Director of Counterintelligence, adding, “[MG23] highlights that for AMC and air operations. For OSI, it highlights how we will provide CI support to those forces facing a pacing adversary threat.”

But on the ground, Spartan Odyssey members are facilitating significant connections and partnerships with major commands, U.S. agencies and Host Nation law enforcement and security services. The ultimate objective is a unified front to counteract adversary actions effectively.

“Optimizing our relationships and leveraging our unique authorities is the right combination to help defend our nation’s capabilities,” Alexander said. 

Within the scope of MG23, special agents are sorting out challenges, best practices, and finding the most effective ways to work with and leverage allied and partner country CI and LE capabilities, Uresti said. This comprehensive strategy aids in the detection, identification, tracking and neutralization of threats, which ensures the security of both AMC's stateside and deployed forces.

OSI’s unique qualifications have never been more relevant to Major Command operations. Special agents are right in the thick of it, actively engaging in competition activities designed to confront threats to complex logistical operations and protect strategic global mobility, all the while ensuring the safe delivery of mobility effects. Their active involvement in these endeavors underlines the integral role OSI plays in maintaining vigilance, seeking out threats and countering those threats to enable effective air operations, Uresti said.

“[MG23] is designed to look at the real world, while in an exercise environment,” Uresti said, who added that the exercise helps OSI better understand and navigate the projected battlespace of the future in preparation for providing CI support where and when needed.

Mobility Guardian 2023 is a leap forward from its past three iterations, all of which were confined within the United States. The exercise itself, according to officials, aims to understand and overcome the long distances to deliver mobilization, deployment and sustainment functions the Joint Force, Allies and Partners depend on to respond to challenges worldwide. 

In all, the multinational effort is bringing together seven nations including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These nations collectively operated around 70 mobility aircraft across multiple locations spanning a 3,000-mile exercise area. 

“This exercise stands as a testament to OSI's commitment to a more secure and resilient world,” Alexander said. “As we move forward, it’s clear our combined readiness today shapes the global security landscape of tomorrow."