OSI revamps CI strategy amid Great Power Competition

  • Published
  • By Thomas Brading
  • OSI Public Affairs

The Office of Special Investigations, the Department of the Air Force’s sole counterintelligence entity, revamped its counterintelligence, or CI, strategy earlier this year to align with broader national security objectives and to fulfill operational needs, said the agency’s commander. 

OSI leaders were charged by Brig. Gen. Amy Bumgarner, OSI’s commander, in late 2023 to revamp the agency’s CI strategy, which was delivered in early 2024. The strategy was developed to enhance CI operations across several key areas to ensure a robust defense posture against emerging threats.

“As we navigate the new strategic environment shaped by the Great Power Competition, OSI must strategically align and focus our counterintelligence efforts to safeguard Department of the Air Force personnel, assets, and technological advantages from potential exploitation,” said Bumgarner.

This strategic overhaul comes on the heels of directives laid out by the Department of the Air Force, which emphasized the need for unified efforts to address the challenges of Great Power Competition.

Earlier this year, the department unveiled comprehensive plans aimed at reshaping, refocusing and reoptimizing both Air and Space Forces. These plans are designed to maintain supremacy in their respective domains and improve their posture for deterring and, if necessary, prevailing in an era of Great Power Competition.

Following this guidance, OSI adjusted its focus on counterintelligence to proactively address the complexities of the Great Power Competition. This strategic alignment, Bumgarner said, enhances OSI's ability to effectively protect national assets.

By integrating the Department of the Air Force’s Operational Imperatives with the National Defense Strategy, the National Security Strategy and the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Strategy, OSI ensures its operations are fully aligned with overarching defense priorities. 

According to Bumgarner, this strategy will not only reinforce national security and enhance readiness but also ensure OSI's counterintelligence efforts are seamlessly integrated with other core missions. 

The strategy includes initiatives to educate and train Airmen on recognizing and reporting suspicious activities, which is essential for preventing espionage and other intelligence threats.

“OSI’s CI strategy provides clear guidance on vision, intent and expectations to address the evolving and numerous threats,” Bumgarner said. 

In addition, this initiative marks a significant step in OSI's ongoing efforts to adapt to the dynamic global security environment, ensuring that it continues to provide support to the DAF and maintain a safe working conditions for all Airmen.

“Our adversaries are trying to exploit knowledge and skill to fill gaps in their military capability,” Bumgarner said. “We are asking every Airman to be vigilant, and report suspicious activities or encounters—See something, say something, stop something.”

If you see something concerning on or near your installation or military facility, please report it to your local Air Force Office of Special Investigations unit or via our online tipline: https://www.osi.af.mil/submit-a-tip/